After years of planning, the bronze renderings of the RAGBRAI founders are slated to stand in Water Works Park

Most people in their old age shrink, but John Karras grew six inches Saturday morning.

Well, at least, one John Karras did.

A former Register columnist and co-founder of the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa,the flesh-and-blood Karrassmiled broadly as he unveiled the slightly-larger-than-life bronze Karras to applause and an already forming selfie line at the Iowa Bike Expoat the Iowa Events Center.

The moment marked the culmination of a decades-long movement to publicly honor Karras and his fellow columnist and RAGBRAI founder, the late Donald Kaul. Titled "RAGBRAI: River to River,” the piece also celebrates thevanguard cycling tradition, which invites 20,000 riders from all over the world invade to the cornfields of Iowaannually for the world’s oldest, largest and longest recreational bicycle touring event.

Fundraising for the $150,000 statue started in earnest last year with RAGBRAI kicking in just over $40,000 to get the project off the ground. On Saturday, the Des Moines Register announced a donation of $25,000, adding the final dollars needed to cover the artwork’s cost.

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