FAYETTE, IA (July 29, 2008) --A group of bicyclists representing Upper Iowa University returned Saturday (July 26) to Fayette after riding nearly 500 miles to raise money for student scholarships.
Team Peacock, comprised of more than 30 UIU alumni, students, faculty, staff, trustees and friends, participated for the fourth year in the statewide bike ride sponsored by the Des Moines Register and known by the acronym RAGBRAI (Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa). The team included riders and support crew. Pledges and corporate sponsorships totaling more than $100,000 were raised by the group bringing their four-year total to over $250,000.
"Support for Team Peacock helps us provide competitive financial aid packages to our students," said President Alan Walker. "And that enables our students to graduate with less debt than students from many other Iowa colleges."
Walker is the driving force behind Team Peacock. He organized the first ride, which drew seven riders and raised $17,000. He has also ridden all four years. This year, Walker and his fellow bikers covered a 471-mile course that took them through 18 counties and 51 towns. The team spent evenings camped in the yards of hosts families with connections to UIU. The university also sponsored a booth in the overnight towns, which was a popular gathering spot for other riders, townspeople and alumni.
"While raising scholarship dollars is our top priority, we also want to raise awareness of our institution," Walker said. "The breadth of our programs makes us an institution for students of all ages, those coming to college directly from high school as well as those who are returning to the classroom after following other pursuits."
Walker anticipates Team Peacock will participate in the 2009 ride. The group has become a RAGBRAI fixture, drawing shouts of "Go, Peacocks" from other riders. More importantly, the ride remains an effective fund-raiser.
"Our commitment to our students is unwavering," said Walker. "As long as there's support for Team Peacock, we'll ride."
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