Designers selected for Touchdown Jesus replacement

The "King of Kings" statue had stood since 2004 at the evangelical Solid Rock Church along Interstate 75 just north of Cincinnati. The statue was nicknamed Touchdown Jesus by locals. / (Joe Shlabotnik / / Creative

MONROE, Ohio (AP) - Two Cincinnati artists will design the replacement for a giant Jesus statue destroyed by lightning this summer in southwest Ohio.

The six-story fiberglass bust of Jesus overlooked Interstate-75 and was one of the area's most familiar landmarks. It sat in front of the Solid Rock Church in Monroe, about 20 miles north of Cincinnati, until it was destroyed June 14.

The statue was nicknamed Touchdown Jesus because of the way its arms were raised, similar to a referee signaling a touchdown.

The Hamilton JournalNews reported Monday that Steve Brauch of Glasshand LLC and Tom Tsuchiya were chosen to design and sculpt a new 51-foot statue that will depict Jesus' full body.

Church officials say the statue should be completed by spring or early summer.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)