Conference tied to Iowa bike official features his new cycling event

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CORALVILLE, Iowa (AP) -- A nonprofit controlled by the former director of a popular annual Iowa bike ride is hosting a conference that features the rival event that he launched this month.

T.J. Juskiewicz was director of the ride known as RAGBRAI until he and his staff resigned from the Des Moines Register, which has operated and marketed the ride since the 1970s.

They immediately launched Iowa's Ride and scheduled it for the same week and format as RAGBRAI.

The move has divided cyclists and is threatening the future of a cherished state tradition.

Business filings show Juskiewicz and his wife last year formed the Iowa Festivals and Events Association. That group, which lists Juskiewicz as president, is hosting its first conference Tuesday and Wednesday in Coralville for more than 100 festival planners. Iowa's Ride is among the featured vendors.

Juskiewicz and his Iowa's Ride staff are among the speakers at the conference, which he calls a great "networking opportunity." He says the nonprofit hopes to break even on the conference and is temporarily sponsoring Iowa's Ride until a foundation is set up.