Sportsmans Park came alive with activity as around 250 bicyclists entered Shenandoah on The Wabash Trace late in the day on Saturday, Aug. 10 as part of the Rooster Tail Ride (Music Festival).
This ride was named after the ‘rooster tail’ you would find on your backside after a long ride if the trail was a little wet. This year marked the third annual ride that takes bicyclists from Mineola to Shenandoah on The Wabash Trace with stops in Silver City, Malvern and Imogene along the way.
The Rooster Tail ride evolved after bicyclists that participated in the Wabash Warm-Up decided this local ride from Malvern to Shenandoah was so much fun they wanted to do something larger and more organized.
They chose the second Saturday in August for the event because it was the best option between RAGBRAI and the start of the school year
A local artist, Shelley Davidson, came up with the logo for the Rooster Tail ride and individuals coordinated with businesses in each town for the event. The event has been a success each year with the help of a lot of volunteers and sponsors.
“This is my third year doing the Rooster Tail Ride, so I guess you could say I have done all of them,” said Kelly Slater. “The Rooster Tail is a must for me because it is just so much fun. It is the perfect mix of biking, food, music and the Wabash Trace.”
Slater bikes at least two or three times a week. “Honestly if you bike once or twice a week you can do the Rooster Tail ride,” said Slater. “It’s all about having fun at your own pace.”
Slater also joins in on the Taco Tuesday ride from Shenandoah to Imogene each week and the longest running weekly bike ride in the nation the Thursday taco ride from Council Bluffs to Mineola. Also on his list is RAGBRAI and the Wabash Warm Up.
At the first stop this year on the Rooster Tail Ride in Silver City they were greeted with live music. Slater usually makes it a point to stop at the bike store here for supplies. “You have to support a bike store in a small community like that. The way each community rolls out the red carpet for the riders is one of my favorite parts of the experience,” said Slater.
After Silver City it is back on the trace towards Malvern. “Malvern is a town that seems to really embrace the trace and they always have several attractions going on, including live music of course,” said Slater.
The next 13.2 mile stretch from Malvern to Imogene is said to be the hardest of the day. “The riding is covered and out of the sun for the most part and it is just so beautiful that the miles fly by,” said Slater.
Imogene was the talk of many cyclists for their wonderful food this year.
With their final destination being in Shenandoah where they set up camp overnight and relax and enjoy the evening at The Depot listening to live music. Then they get up Sunday morning and make the fun journey back to Mineola.
However, due to rain this year the music on the ride back to Mineola had to be cancelled. There were also shuttles provided for participants that didn’t want to make the ride back on their bike in rain.
“Sunday was pretty challenging this year with the rain, but that’s part of the charm of biking in Iowa - it could be 100 degrees, or it could be 70 with rain, or it could be perfect - you just never know,” said Slater.