WEBSTER CITY - The familiar sputtering of Doodle Bug scooters filled the air at The Executive Inn in Webster City as a caravan of riders pulled in to celebrate the 26th annual Doodle Bug reunion.
Doodle Bug Club of America member Jerry Wells, addressing the weekly Webster City Chamber of Commerce coffee event Friday, thanked city officials and residents for their hospitality towards the Doodle Bug riders that represent about 20 states.
"They cannot believe that a city this size can offer those kind of facilities, so we should be proud of those and the welcome we offer them," Wells said.
Doodle Bugs were produced in Webster City from 1946 to 1948. In that time, Wells said about 40,000 were produced. Wells estimates there are about 1,000 left. He bought a Doodle Bug for $65 in 1950. Now, it could cost up to $5,000.
The market for Doodle Bugs is pricey, but rider Heidi Christensen said she hears about Doodle Bug scooters found in the nooks and crannies of rural towns.
"A few years ago, I heard about a Doodle Bug found in a chicken coop. People find them in barns and storage pretty often and it turns out it's a pretty expensive find," Christensen said.
The Doodle Bug gang is holding its reunion at the Hamilton County fairgrounds until this afternoon, but they won't be staying put. Wells said the club has planned rides on the Briggs Wood trail, an endurance run to the airport and several tours to show off what's new in Webster City.
Wells said the whole reunion puts the Doodle Bug riders right back in their element.
"It's like a bunch of 65- year-olds getting back together to be 14 for the weekend. It's a whole lot of fun," Wells said.