I have four cats, and I have seen some mighty large hairballs in my time, but Ohio’s “Hoss the Hairball” takes the cake.
Weighing in at 225 pounds, Hoss has just been declared The World’s Largest Human Hairball by the good folks at the Guinness Book. Hoss is the creation of Cambridge-based hairstylist Steve Warden. Hoss beat out previous world record-holder, a 167-pound ball of human hair created by Henry Coffer, a barber from Charleston, Missouri, who claimed the title in 2008. Coffer, who was 77, had collected his clients’ hair for more than 50 years.
Grabbing that title from Coffer, however, was never Warden’s goal in crafting this giant ball of hair, he told local paper The Columbus Dispatch.
It all started back in 2013 after Warden’s youngest child went off to college. Warden’s four children had begged him for years to make a hairball big enough to be featured in a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! book.
So, Warden started collecting his clients’ hair at his Guernsey County salon named Blockers. He installed a chute in the floor connected to a trash can in the salon’s basement. Once he finished a cut, Warden would sweep their hair into the chute for his future endeavors.
None of his clients were bothered by the collection, he said. Most were just curious. Warden said he constructed the oddity by wadding up balls of hair, using a combination of liquid glue, spray adhesive, and hairspray to make it stick. He named the hairball Hoss after Dan Blocker’s character from the TV Western “Bonanza” and the name of his shop.
“He’s made of human DNA, so he needed a name,” Warden said.
In 2018, Warden reached out to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! to donate his creation when Hoss weighed 97 pounds.
Since then, Hoss has been a star of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! roadshows, where fans of all that is odd or rare can have some of their hair snipped and added to Hoss. Because of Hoss’ crowd-sourcing nature, its exterior is an ever-changing mess of different colors and textures.
Hoss also now has buggy blue eyes, a large nose, toothy grin, arms, cow-printed legs, and a huge cowboy hat (you might say he resembles a hairy Mr. Potato Head).
“They are in love with this hairball,” Warden said. “It’s become quite interactive.”
More than 3,000 people have since contributed to Hoss’ weight, according to Susie Storey, a spokeswoman with the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! made a big push to make Hoss a world record holder in the fall of 2021.
In November, it launched the “Shave the Beard and Make it Weird!” campaign during the IAAPA Expo 2021 in Orlando. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! President Jim Pattison Jr. shaved his pandemic beard during the expo and added it to Hoss.
Since hitting the road, a majority of Hoss’ record-setting weight came from haircuts at Floyd’s 99 Barbershops, a chain of Florida barbershops, as well as donated hair that Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! solicited from people worldwide.
Warden said he would open up envelopes and glue whatever hair was inside to Hoss.
The campaign not only helped add to Hoss’ size, but it was also a fundraiser. Warden said Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! raised more than $40,000 for Give Kids The World Village –– an 89-acre nonprofit resort in Central Florida that provides critically ill children and their families with weeklong vacations at no cost.
Warden said Hoss will continue to travel the country on Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! roadshows and exhibitions. He said there are exciting plans for Hoss’ future and, of course, he will keep growing.
Hoss rang in the new year by being “dropped” on a forklift during a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Facebook Live event in Florida, just before midnight on the 31st.