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Giant "M" to greet RAGBRAI riders in Muscatine

Giant "M" to greet RAGBRAI riders in Muscatine

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MUSCATINE, Iowa – A giant “M” will greet the thousands of visitors expected in Muscatine Saturday.

In honor of RAGBRAI, Monsanto mechanics dedicated time to create the giant purple “M” with bicycle tires on either side.

Chris Boar, the plant manager's assistant at Monsanto, said the company wanted to help promote Muscatine to the visitors.

Jake Daufeldt, the area lead for maintenance, and several other maintenance workers at Monsanto, including Jason Thumann, Cory Griffin, Jim Wert, Brad Schmidt, Todd Hunt, and Stu Arkon worked on the art piece.

The bicycle tires were donated either by Monsanto employees, Harper’s Cycling and Fitness, or by East Campus.

"I think any time that Monsanto can support the community it’s a good thing for us and we are happy to participate in RAGBRAI this way," Boar said.

Monsanto employees hoisted the 18-foot tall "M" into place at Carver corner Wednesday afternoon, tethering it and attaching it to wood to keep it upright until the riders come to town Saturday.

Nichole Sorgenfey, who is organizing volunteers for RAGBRAI Muscatine, said the idea was a group effort. She said the "M" will stay in the community, but exactly where it will end up is unknown.

"Stop and have a photo op!" she said.

Ky Cochran, director of the Muscatine Convention and Visitors Bureau and chair of the RAGBRAI hospitality committee, said she hopes seeing the giant "M" will help visitors remember Muscatine.

"I hope that it bolsters pride and I hope that it makes us memorable to riders," she said.

Mechanical maintenance advisor at Monsanto, Perry Anderson, said he hopes the riders enjoy seeing the "M" as they ride into town. He and other mechanics, he said, put a lot of work into building the "M."

"The guys came in early, they stayed later to work on it. They did a fantastic job on it," he said.

Anderson said the employees worked on the design.

"All we started with was a sketch, and it went from there," he said.

Terry and Sons, Inc., painted the "M."

Boar said Monsanto was happy to have an opportunity to help the community prepare for RAGBRAI.

"RAGBRAI ending in Muscatine is great for the community so any way that we could support it we were happy to do so," she said.

The public art committee for RAGBRAI, which developed the idea for the monument, is also holding a best yard contest for homeowners and businesses along the route, and a public art contest, where residents are invited to decorate bicycles to be displayed Saturday.

For more information about RAGBRAI in Muscatine and volunteer opportunities, visit www.ragbraimuscatine.com.

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