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Graceland University Participates in RAGBRAI for a Seventh Year


Alumni, Press Release

August 18, 2017

Graceland's 2017 RAGBRAI cycling team members

Team Yellowjacket had a successful seventh year with the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI), a non-competitive cycling road tour organized by The Des Moines Register. Riders travel across Iowa from the west end of the state at the Missouri River to the Mississippi River bordering the east edge. According to their website, RAGBRAI is the longest, largest and oldest bike-touring event in the world.

Team Yellowjacket’s originator, Michael Morain – who participated and defended his title in the annual pie-eating contest against NPR – and three other original team members participated for their seventh consecutive year: Bob Cadman, the team’s oldest rider who turned 72 during the tour, Betsy Shelton, and Doris Cadman, who acts as support driver and “team mom.” The remainder of the 2017 team consisted of Janelle Anders, Brian Anders, Jim Jones, Pat Magle Jones, Sam Smalldon, Jessie Steward, Chris Steward, Randy McBroom, John Schuster, Dane Nelsen, Josh Hoover, Christina Simpson and Byron Moore.

Graceland passenger can hauling the Graceland utility trailer for RAGBRAIPreviously, the team’s ride was solely organized by Morain. This year, an organizing committee comprised of Sam Smalldon, Betsy Shelton and Janelle Anders formed to manage the task. Graceland’s marketing and facilities departments for supplied the team with an 11-seat van and trailer exhibiting Graceland’s new branding.

The 45th annual ride is considered the third easiest in RAGBRAI history with over 400 miles traveled from Orange City to Lansing, averaging 58 miles and 1,457 feet climbed per day. The seven-day ride began on Sunday, July 23, and completed Saturday, July 29 with the traditional dunk in the Mississippi River.

Team Yellowjacket paraded unified team spirit on Friday’s College Day but displayed great comradery throughout the week, fielding inquiries about the university. Despite rain one morning, the weather was perfect with average temperatures from 75 – 85 and low humidity. Not one of Graceland’s team members sustained an injury.

Approximately 10,000 weeklong registrants and 20-30,000 day riders rolled into each day’s destination town around 3 p.m. greeted with food vendors and live music. Some riders camped in tents while others were hosted in the homes of local residents.

Countdown to RAGBRAI XLVI, July 22-28, has begun, so start training for a healthy and successful ride in 2018. Visit for all the details. To be a part of Team Yellowjacket, contact Sam Smalldon (  Betsy Shelton ( or Janelle Anders (

The full Graceland cycling team participating in RAGBRAI 2017

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