EUGENE, Ore. - With all due respect to The Spinners and T.I., prepare yourself for the new rubber-band man. Steve Milton, through concentration and perseverance, has created a 3,300-pound ball comprised of rubber bands. His creation measures almost 5 feet tall and takes up half his two-car garage. Though it's not official, the 26-year-old Eugene man believes he has broken the record for the heaviest such ball, eclipsing John Bain's mark of 3,120 pounds. The Wilmington, Del., man's record has stood for eight years.
Milton has posted updates of his ball's growing girth on his MySpace page. He's also uploaded videos of the ball crushing things, such as using a forklift to drop the ball on an old van.
"It was awesome," Milton told The Register-Guard newspaper. "It completely flattened the roof and blew the doors off."
Milton, however, isn't just using the object for destruction. The ball will be on display Friday at a food and toy drive in Eugene, and Milton is challenging people to donate 3,300 pounds of food and toys.
Milton started building the ball last November. He bought rubber bands at retail stores and then started purchasing in bulk from the Pennsylvania-based Dykema Rubber Band Company.
Dykema president Lou McKibben said he realized Milton was serious when he got an order for 1,000 pounds of 12-inch rubber bands. He cut him a deal on the remaining 2,000 pounds.
McKibben said he gets hundreds of sponsorship requests annually from people trying to break the record. Most of them, he said, don't have Milton's determination.
"They reach a point where it gets too big or they get tired of it, but Steve persevered," McKibben says. "Now he's won the crown."
Milton, who wants to stretch the ball at least another 1,000 pounds, said the work isn't all that safe. Milton is careful to keep the ball contained with blocks of wood so it doesn't roll away. He wears gloves to avoid burning his hands from friction and learned to move when a band breaks.
"If they snap they come off pretty fast," he said. "They've given me welts before."