Even with heat indices in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, hundreds set out on their bikes on Saturday, June 16 for the fifth annual BACooN Ride, which takes riders from town-to-town in Dallas County, with stops for bacon and beverages along the way. The night before, riders and general party-goers got together in Centennial Park in Waukee for the annual BACooN Sizzles event.
Father-and-son duo Dave and John Frels were setting up their tent in Centennial Park at around 6 p.m. on Friday night and said that they weren’t intimidated by the heat ahead of them for the ride the next day.
“We both participated in the full week of RAGBRAI in 2012, which has gone on record as one of the hottest weeks of RAGBRAI history,” John said. “So this is nothing to us.”
John is from Mason City while his father Dave lives in Omaha.
Formerly put on by the City of Waukee, BACooN Sizzles has been organized, for the last two years, by Waukee Community Festivals, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization formed in 2017.
Jerry Slagter, president of Waukee Community Festivals, said that this year’s event was pretty easy to plan.
“It’s really identifying vendors — both non-food and food vendors and knowing how many food vendors to get, because you kind of have to match how many food vendors for how many people you think are going to be out here.”
The festival only had one food vendor this year, the Curbin’ Cuisine food truck. Slagter said that they had a second one for the festival, but their food had expired and they were turned away by the State health inspector.
There were also vendor tents from RAGBRAI, the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival and various vendors selling gear for cycling. BACooN Sizzles, however, was not just for the cycling crowd as they had a beer garden open with live music from the band Pie in the Sky.
Waukee High School was the emergency shelter for the event in case of severe weather and they were able to plan ahead for the forecast hot weather Friday night by getting more bottled water for visitors and by reminding vendors to bring tents for adequate shade. If they were to run out of water, the workers for the event were prepared to go buy more.
“It’s important to keep these guys hydrated, because tomorrow they’re going to have to ride in this hot weather,” Slagter said. “So we want to give them every opportunity to hydrate.”
Clay Hildreth came all the way from Indianapolis for the BACooN Ride. This was his first year on the ride.
“I’m always looking for a good event that has a good social cause,” Hildreth said.