Flamingos PartyingImage by szeke via Flickr

 Full-Time Riders (24 birds)

Big Bird (Mike Knapp) - Cofounder Co-founder of Team Flamingo. Has ridden every RAGBRAI since 1983.  Look for his trademark “pink beard” which started out from losing a bet but has become an annual fixture. When not on his bike directs Grin and Grow Child Care, a non-profit child care agency in Waterloo. Besides biking as a hobby, Mike is an accomplished bagpiper, but if you pedal fast enough you don’t have to hear him!

Whiny Bird (Mica Lorenz) - Cofounder
Whiny is a co-founder of Team Flamingo. Mica has only missed one RAGBRAI (2004) since 1984. She is employed by the US Postal Service as a Letter Carrier. Keeps the team focused and on task, though has a tendency to leave keys dangling from the support van door.  When not on her bike or carrying mail, Mica serves as an elected Trustee at Hawkeye Community College.

Z-Bird (Leigh Zeitz)
Has ridden since RAGBRAI XXX. Z-Bird serves as the Webmaster and Team Media Hound. He can always be found within a stone’s throw of a camera or reporter.  Better known as Big Bird’s “Evil Twin,” whom he often gets into trouble with his high jinx on the route. When not being interviewed, Z-Bird is Dr. Z who is an Instructional Technology professor at the University of Northern Iowa. You can learn more about him at

Blarney Bird (Pat Morrissey)
A veteran of Team Flamingo's early years. Pat rode RABRAI XII, XIII, XVII, XXXV and XXXVI. Probably the shortest member of the Team Flamingo, Pat could always be counted on to bring those around him "down to his level" with his unique sense of humor and fiery politics. Back again this year.

Byrd Hilde (Ute Brandenburg)
Byrd Hilde is the team’s Germanic Amazon.  Don’t get fooled by the long braids, it’s the horned helmet you need to watch out for.  When not training for her first RAGBRAI, she’s parenting Nerd Bird.  Directs the Suzuki School at University of Iowa and works as a certified geneologist in her real life. She has AWESOME socks.

Robo Bird (Charlotte Brandenburg) 
RAGBRAI vet and 17 yr. old daughter of Byrd Hilde.  She is a robotics and lego whiz kid who is up for the more physical challenge of RAGBRAI. Last year she won a state-wide award last year for an awesome app she created for her robotics team.  Go Robo Bird!!!

Bongo Bird (Bill Brown)
4-time RAGBRAI veteran. Bongo Bird rode every mile last year including the grueling 108 mile Karas Loop. Bongo plays drums for the (cover band) Channel Cats and is the "flourishing tenor" drummer for NE Iowa's newest bagpipe band, the Cedar Glen Pipes & Drums. Bongo also plays guitar. He will be dragging his "guitalele" (combo guitar/ukelele) along for RAGBRAI 42 "sing alongs". Bongo has something to "Fah-Kaw" about this year: he will be riding with his entire family for the 1st time. Doodle Bird, Humming Bird & Fuji Bird will also be riding on the 2014 RAGBRAI.

Doodle Bird (Moria Brown) RAGBRAI veteran who brings an artistic flair to the team. She helps make sure everyone is in “pink condition” for each year's ride. She and Bongo Bird will be joined by both of their children

Humming Bird (Katherine Brown)
RAGBRAI vet and daughter of Bongo and Doodle Bird.  Flew back from her teaching position teaching English in China to ride with her folks.  Heads back to China right after RAGBRAI.  Hope she stocks up flight snacks, as it’s a long flight coming off RAGBRAI eating.

Fuji Bird (Joel Brown)  Fuji Bird is currently stationed in Yokosuka, Japan, with the US Navy. He is an EMT so can help out if you eat too much pie!  Even though he rode one day in 1996, he is considered a virgin this year. He is joining his parents and sister for XLII, making it a family affair.

Early Bird (Al Hays)
Early Bird has been a regular since XXXV. He gets his name because he is all about getting up early and getting the "riding done." Early Bird and his wife, Pam, relish roaming the rich countrysides of Northern Ireland and Scotland with their friend, Fergus. This year he will be riding again with his international traveling companion, Fergus Bird. Fergus will be stationed on the back of Early Bird's bike.  Wave as you go by.

Fergus Bird
Fergus has been traveling the world with Early Bird and Pam Bird Hays. He has been seen quaffing a brew in a pub as well as on the football (soccer) field. Watch Fergus wave as you ride by him. BTW, Fergus now has a GFF named Fiona. Fiona will stay at home patiently awaiting his return this year, but she will probably be on the road next year as well.

Fire Bird (Chris Distelrath)
Third year on RAGBRAI.  One of the Team’s Michiganders.  Got a new bike for this year’s ride.  Stops at every fire station for pictures.  Always up for a challenge and attempts to ride herd on the Michigan riders when called upon

Fire Bird II (Frank Magsamen) 
Veteran RAGBRAI rider with Team Flamingo. No relation to the Michigan FirdBird, but former Waterloo Fire Chief and currently on the Board of Supervisors for Black Hawk County.  

MustGo Bird (Juanita Williams) 
RAGBRAI and team veteran.  Back on the ride now that she’s an empty nester.  Able to find country winery’s and margaritas at will, though her true expertise is what she can do with egg plant and a little bit of leftovers.  

Northern Bird (Jodi Plopan
RAGBRAI veteran.  Original member of the Michigan charter of Team Flamingo.  Habitat for Humanity volunteer.  Fearless and ready to take on any challenge.  Champion bull rider from last year’s RAGBRAI.

Placido Flamingo (Bonnie Alger)
On her return from her 2-year Ya-ba-daba-doo (Abu Dhabi) gig, Placido nests for a short bit to ride with the flock. Then it is off to WOWing the world with her conduct-ing. 

Solar Bird (Carolyn Hildebrandt)
RAGBRAI 35 was the debut for this UNI Professor of Psychology. She is part of the South Waterloo contingent and has hosted many Route Announcement and Send-Off parties for the team. She'll be doing a "half-RAGBRAI" this year, riding no more than 40 miles per day. You'll see her on the trail when the sun comes up.

Stretching Bird (Julie Husband) 
RAGBRAI virgin. American Lit. professor at UNI.  Married with 3 kids and 2 cats.  Looking forward to her RAGBRAI experience for the last three days of the ride.

Brad Bird (Jim O'Laughlin)

Bird Shots (Jason Babor)

Harley Bird (Greg Gerloff)
PampBird Chef (Kristie Austin)
Kristine Horras (Word Bird)

Part Time Riders (5 Birds)

Winnebago Bird (Michaela Rich)
RAGBRAI virgin riding for part of the week to test the waters. Hopefully gets the RAGBRAI bug and returns next year complete with her upscale motorhome. Watch for some interesting socks.

Wyatt Bird (Curt Hanson)

Nerdy Birdy (Alex Hanson)

My Little Birdie (Taylor Hanson)

Crafty Chick (Deb Shoopman)
Veteran RAGBRAI’er.  Currently on injured reserve list with dislocated shoulder and tendonitisin left ankle.  Also known as the team “housing goddess” for her prowess in locating overnight housing hosts.  Also partial to posing pictures with Team Air Force. She really likes the sight of those flyboy’s buns.

Harley Bird (Greg Gerloff)

Support Team (7 Drivers)

Mama Bird (Bev Shaffer)
Bev is the long standing support person for the team, having driven the team van every year (with the except 2004) since 1999.  Bev is also the mother of Whiney Bird, Mica Lorenz. 
Likes the hustle and bustle of the ride, sidewalk sales and sunning sessions while waiting in the meet up town.

Math Bird (Roger Hahn)
Roger made his debut with Team Flamingo on RAGBRAI 33. He will be driving again for 
RAGBRAI XLII. Math Bird is the mathematician of the group who keeps us on track.

Book Bird (Cindy Hahn)
Cindy made her debut with Team Flamingo on RAGBRAI 33.  She will be driving again for RAGBRAI XLII. 

Poppa Bird (Larry Plopan)
Runs support for the Michigan franchise and attempts to keep Northern Bird (his daughter) in line.  He’s a part bird dog when it comes to finding locations to meet or set up camp.

iBird (Jan Gallagher) 
Joins the team this year to provide support services for MustGo, Dancing and Solar Birds.

Night Rider (Mary Beth Stalp)
Marybeth Stalp teaches sociology at UNI and drives for the Flamingos when schedule permits. She has ridden RAGBRAI before, but only at night....

(Wendy Gerloff)

Flamingos Not Joining the Team This Year (45 Birds)

Audrey Hep Bird (Amanda Wilson)
Veteran rider back for her second year of RAGBRAI.  Recent graduate from 
Miami University of Ohio with Masters in Student Affairs.  Now works at University of Iowa with international student services.  Can’t wait till she’s sitting in the shade with a cup of Beekman’s ice cream again.

Busy Bird (Melanie Landa) 
RAGBRAI vet and sister of Doodle Bird.  Looking for her personal best on the ride, not to mention some quality time with her sister and a team of kindred souls.

Lazy Bird (Chris Zeitz)
RAGBRAI XXXIII, XXXIV, XXXV, XXXVI & XXXVIII. Currently the youngest member of the youngest member of the team which explains why he rides a trike (recumbent that is). Lazy just graduated from Kaplan University with a degree in Criminal Justice. Chris is the son of Z-Bird and Kat Bird.  He is also the father of Mingo Bird and Baby Bird.

Kat Bird (Kathy Klink-Zeitz)
Joined the team on RAGBRAI XXXIV to drive second support vehicle needed to haul Lazy Bird’s trike recumbent bike. She is an avid costumer and is constantly looking for new ways to increase the team's Flamingo-ness.  Kat Bird is our publisher of Flamingo Licenses, tattoos et al. 

Niwatori Bird (Patrick Malloy)First year with Team Flamingo on RAGBRAI.  Couldn’t go last year as studying  in Turkey.  Instructor at Hawkeye Community College.  Pat’s wife says “Niwatori” means garden bird in Japanese, but Pat say’s it really just a chicken. Personally I’d have gone for the Japanese word for flamingo.

Meadow Bird (Jane Bentley-Gadow)
 Rode RAGBRAI XXXVIII. When not hiking Yellowstone National Park, Glacier Park or the Canadian Yukon, Meadow Bird advises undergraduate students at the University of Northern Iowa. Meadow Bird bakes an awesome pie.

Mountain Bird (John Gadow)
 Rode RAGBRAI XXXVIII. Husband of Meadow Bird. Mountain Bird is also an avid outdoors person who adds RAGBRAI as one of his adventures.

Dirty Bird (Mike Bachman)
Planned to ride the whole route XLII but fell and broke his ankle 2 weeks earlier. 

Bubbles Bird (Phyllis Baker)

RAGBRAI veteran. First RAGBRAI with Team Flamingo. UNI professor with 2 children. She is a distance runner when not biking.

Flash Bird (Kevin Leicht)

RAGBRAI veteran. First RAGBRAI with Team Flamingo. U of Iowa sociology professor with 2 children.  Likes to golf.

BlueBird (Elizabeth Wilson) 

Dancin' Bird (Stephanie Lawrence)
RAGBRAI 33. Famous for her “Men of RAGBRAI 33” calendar.  Fell in love with   RAGBRAI and has been trying to get back since. This may be the year.  Look for her dancing up a storm in the beer garden.  When not dancing or on her bike, Stephanie works as a drug counselor.

Bikin' Bird (Deb Bloomquist)
Veteran RAGBRAI’er though last year was her first year on the team.  Wanted to be with a fun group on RAGBRAI and naturally thought of Team Flamingo.

Stray Bird (Stephanie Newell)

Mini-Shoop Bird (Emily Shoopman)
RAGBRAI veteran.  Works for State Farm as an actuary.  Does triathlons in her free time.  Daughter of Crafty Bird, and alumni of Grin and Grow.


Mark Hays “Wonky Bird” 
Flying in from New England to ride with his dad, Early Bird.  Environmental activist when not on his bike having fun.

Michael Hays “Mystery Bird”
Early Bird's youngest son winging in from Washington State.  Hopefully this “struggling artist from the west coast” finds his ride struggle-free for the week.

Nathan Burbridge “Wrong Way Bird”.
Last year’s host in our overnight stay in Sioux City.  Liked us so much he rode last year with us and coming back for part of this year.  Famous for leading us on a short cut out of Sioux City that was anything but short, or out of Sioux City for that matter. 
J-Bird (Jessica Luitjohan)
Rode in RAGBRAI XXXVIII. Pediatric Psychologist out of St. Louis.  Karaoke champion. Habitat for Humanity volunteer.  Spends free time hiking and camping.  Now ready for a crazy long bike experience.

Thunder Bird (Elizabeth Jara)
Rode RAGBRAI XXXVIII. Goes by “Thunderbird” in honor of her ye
ars of service in the USAF. Married with 4 children. Teaches aerobics. Currently lives in Little Rock, AR. Friends of Jodi and Elizabeth.

Salsa Bird (Heather Flory)
Heather has ridden RAGBRAI since XXXII, although she does most of her riding on the Cedar Valley bike trails these days. A fast rider with a penchant for the Latin beat and fluent in Spanish. Will stop for pie anytime, anywhere.

Doyle Bird (Jeff Doyle)
RAGBRAI veteran and member of Team Flamingo’s Michigan charter.  Placed in regional skillet throwing championships on last year’s RAGBRAI.  Waiting to make it through puberty so can grow 

a beard and go pink on RAGBRAI with the rest of the men.

No Name Bird (Jordan Kapler)

RAGBRAI virgin. Blarney Bird’s daughter’s boyfriend. Wants to experience RAGBRAI and bond with Patty boy

Alaina Small (Small Bird)
Daughter of The Housing Goddess, Alaina is also an alumnus of Grin and Grow.  Rode with Team Flamingo for RAGBRAIs XXXIV, XXXV and XXXVI.

Music Bird (Bryn Sumner)
Bryn made her debut with Team Flamingo on RAGBRAI XXXIII to celebrate graduation from high school and kick back before college.  She returned on RAGBRAIs XXXV and XXXVI.

Sailing Bird (Del Carpenter)

Sailing Bird claims to have windsurfed at least once a month for the past 15 years.  No small feat when you consider that he has done it in the snow drifts as well as the lake swells.  He rode for a day across Iowa in RAGBRAI XXXV.  It was a breeze.

Pink Ribbon Bird (Christine Carpenter)

Pink Ribbon Bird returned from her breast cancer advocacy work in Washington, DC just in time to join Team Flamingo for RAGBRAI XXXV.  Check out the Beyond Pink Team website
 to learn more about what Pink Ribbon Bird and her fellow advocates do when they aren't riding bicycles. 

Bird Schadt (Carl Schadt) 
RAGBRAI virgin. Riding for the day out of Waterloo to see if he gets bit by the RAGBRAI bug.  Recently retired from John Deere.  Does great impressions and makes balloon animals.

Pal Bird (Michael Park) Rides with Jodi. Pal rode with Team Flamingo last year, RAGBRAI XXXV, and flew the coop leaving us in his dust.

Sandy Bird (Brian Sanderman)
Waterloo architect with designs on RAGBRAI.  One day hopes to do the whole week rather then just a few days.  Also on Grin and Grow’s Board of Directors. 


Mare Madsen Schmidt
She  won her opportunity to ride RAGBRAI XXXV with Team  Flamingo at a Grin and Grow auction.   She galloped along the trails with cool abandon.

Shortcake Bird (Cindy Howard)

Rode and ate strawberry shortcake on RAGBRAI XXXV.  Shortcake took flight.

Scoop Bird (Kathi Sommerfelt)

An ice cream aficionado, Scoop stays cool while she rides.  RAGBRAI XXXV was her first RAGBRAI. 

Susie Shaefer

KC Bird (Jessica Knapp)

Daughter of Big Bird, Jessica is a veteran of RAGBRAI XXI, XXIII, XXIV, XXVI and XXX.  First impressions of RAGBRAI--- “Great if you’re 21 and not with your parents.”  Unfortunately at the time she wasn’t and was!  Still had a good enough time to ride several more years before moving to Kansas City.

Pierced Bird (Katrina Debs)
RAGBRAI XXVII, XXVIII and XXIX veteran.  Holds the distinction as the first member to dye her hair pink for the ride.  Always a social activist is now off saving the world somewhere.

Lost Bird (Troy Knapp)
Son of Big Bird, Troy is a veteran of RAGBRAI XI, XII,XIX, XXIV, XXV, and XXVI. When not on his bike, he could be found putting sunscreen on his Marilyn Monroe tattoo.  Now an old family man, we’re waiting for him and Delaney and Illeana (Mike and Mica’s granddaughters) to come on the ride.  Though its doubtful he could keep up the pace with Big Bird.  Sells Toyota’s in Iowa City (give him a call if in the market for a new car!) 

Puking Bird (Robert Foster)
Rob holds the team distinction of spending the most continuous days on any RAGBRAI being sick.  Had such a miserable experience on RAGBRAI XXV that he sold his bike upon returning home and has never ridden one since.  Troy calls him each year on RAGBRAI to remind him of the ride.

Stinky Bird (Brian Green)
Another one of Troy’s friends.  Joined the team for RAGBRAI XXV, but neglected to bring an adequate change of clothes.  Best to keep upwind of him on the ride.

Ramirez Bird (Scott Ream) Joined the team in 1998 for RAGBRAI 26.  A tattoo wonder who almost got Big Bird to shave the hair on his back, get Jerry Garcia’s face tattooed, and then let the back hair  grow back in for Jerry’s beard and hair.  By the end of the week, Big Bird was thinking that would be way cool, but luckily the lack of a tattoo parlor saved him from making a huge mistake!

Red Ryder (Ron Roberts)
Another Team Flamingo member from the early years, Ron road RAGBRAI 13 & 14.  Not the neatest guy on the ride (tent was declared a national disaster area more then once), but always one of the coolest members of the team.  Regaled the team with stories of dining with Daniel Ortega and traveling with Julie Christy on a peace mission in Nicaragua.  Ron is now a retired Sociology professor from the University of Northern Iowa.

Team Wus (Carol Cook-Roberts)
Had such a bad time on RAGBRAI XIV, that she called home to be picked up.  Too crowded, too stressful was all she said as she boarded her dad’s black Cadillac for the ride home.  Earned the title of first “TEAM WUS” which was presented to her engraved on a biking Christmas ornament that year.

Jimmy John (Jim Johnston) RAGBRAI XII and XIII made Jim one of our inaugural team members.  Jim was one of the early technophobes on the ride, calculating and resetting his bike computer to record accurate mileage of each day’s ride.

John Lorenz
Mica’s younger brother, John road RAGBRAI XII and XIII on Team Flamingo.  Was amazed at how slowly his older sister rode.

Puffing Bird (Rod Debs)
Puffing Bird was a great support person in days of yore.  He was known to ride for hours (in the van.) 

Honorable Mention (2)

Frank and Mary Olson
They may not ride, but they have been great supporters of our efforts and our cause.

Mark and Louise Allstrom
Joined Team Flamingo as our “Aussie” contingent.  Unfortunately they had to leave for Canada before riding RAGBRAI XXXIII.

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