A tire dip in the Mississippi is a rite of passage for RAGBRAI riders – but a smile and a hug from Iowa’s favorite bachelor was the must-have photo opportunity for riders on Saturday.
Arlington farmer and recent “Bachelorette” competitor Chris Soules, 32, posed for photos and shook hands with RAGBRAI riders as a fundraiser for the Strawberry Point Fire Department.
Soules was a predictable hit with fans of the reality TV show who formed a line minutes before he was scheduled to arrive at 9 a.m.
“He’s just really down to earth and he’s a farmer and he’s cute,” said Claire McGuire, 22, who was first in line. “My mom’s going to be really jealous of me.”
Dad Al McGuire, 51, was not as enamored as his daughter with the Iowa celebrity, but was happy to wait a bit longer for his daughter, he said. Usually he’s relegated to another room in the house when his wife and daughters come together for “The Bachelorette.”
“She’s excited to see him, so I’m excited for her,” he said. “I go watch the “Deadliest Catch” or something.”
“She’s better than Andi,” a fellow rider told Soules as McGuire wrapped around him for a photo (referring of course to “Bachelorette” Andi Dorfman, who sent Soules home in the show’s final weeks).
Soules talk was buzzing as riders waited for their turn to meet the handsome star wearing a Muhammed Ali T-shirt.
“You’re even cuter in person,” one rider told Soules.
“Are you still a bachelor,” another rider asked. Indeed, Soules is still a bachelor and is believed to be a leading candidate for the next season of “The Bachelor.”
And, of course, some riders less in-the-know about reality TV simply asked, “So, who is he?”
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