During this bewildering time, we hope it's helpful to share this statement with you:
"We at Pork Belly Ventures were as stunned as anyone to learn about the resignations of TJ, Scott, and the RAGBRAI team. For 26 years, we have been serving riders on RAGBRAI, and like the other RAGBRAI charter operators we’ve talked with, we’re all trying to sort this out and find the path forward.
"We feel that it’s important to say that we have enjoyed a very friendly relationship with TJ, Scott, and their team as we worked with them, which makes this time all the more difficult. The situation demands a choice between two Iowa rides on the same dates. Although sponsors may not have to make that choice, riders do. Hard-working bike shops, favorite food vendors, and charters like us would find it difficult, if not impossible, to serve both events. With very little notice, we are faced with a choice between the 48th Annual RAGBRAI and the new Iowa’s Ride.
"As we have imagined different scenarios, we’ve had one guiding thought—to consider what’s best for our RAGBRAI riders, for all of our various RAGBRAI partners who play their roles in serving riders, for our employees and their families, and for our home state as a whole. We have always felt proud of Iowa and proud of our involvement with RAGBRAI, the largest tourist event in our state and the largest bike ride in the world. Thousands, or perhaps tens of thousands, of people all over this country and beyond have a high opinion of and a great fondness for Iowa and its residents, because through their RAGBRAI experience, riders have been the lucky beneficiaries of the warm hospitality, the uncommon friendliness, and the extraordinary work ethic of Iowans.
"Last year, at RAGBRAI’s request, we participated in raising funds for a monument to the founders of our iconic state ride, to be erected in Waterworks Park. We agreed with TJ that such a tribute was long overdue, and we raised nearly $10,000 from among our own generous riders and committed $1500 ourselves. We simply can’t imagine taking any action that would tear down what John Karras and the late Donald Kaul created over 47 years ago.
"At this point, we have a 26-year history with RAGBRAI, and we’ve had about 50 hours to listen to our RAGBRAI friends and to our own team here at home. What we can say now is that while we wish our old friends well, we want the 48th Annual RAGBRAI to go on as before. We want to help continue one of Iowa’s proudest traditions."