Noe Valley Voice February 2010

Mike Gutierrez has a lot of weight on his shoulders these days. He's trying to beat the Guinness world record for the largest rubber-band ball. Unfortunately, the current title-holder weighs five tons and has 730,000 rubber bands. Can you help him out, Noe Valley?
Photo by Pamela Gerard

Rubber-Band Ball Going for Guinness Record--It Might Be a Stretch

By Jan Goben

Next time you're strolling through Noe Valley, remember to take a few rubber bands with you. There's a big bouncy gal who could sure use them.

Rubberta is not quite six months old, but she has to gain a lot of weight as fast as she can. Her goal? To win a Guinness World Record as the biggest rubber-band ball of all time.

Her creator is Mike Gutierrez, manager at Tuggey's Hardware on 24th Street. "I've always wanted to be in the Guinness Book of World Records," says Gutierrez, 28.

Last October, Gutierrez unwrapped some packages at Tuggey's and picked up the excess rubber bands, looping them into a ball. He kept adding to it, and soon his co-workers were joining in his quest.

Now, Gutierrez says, he carries Rubberta back and forth to work and leaves her during the day on the front counter, where customers give her a pat or add some rubber bands. She's gotten quite big now, and Gutierrez sometimes loops a string of rubber bands together to fit around her girth.

"The guy with the record, it too k him 12 or 13 years," Gutierrez says (actually, six). "I've gotten to 50 pounds in just four months. That's 100 pounds in eight months. I want to beat his record in five years. I want to take half his time."

Gutierrez sees Rubberta as eventually being six feet tall (which, of course, means six feet wide as well).

Rubberta has a ways to go--she was 16 inches in diameter on Jan. 30. "Her waistline is 49 inches around, though," says Gutierrez with pride.

But a Web search revealed that in August 2008, Floridian Joel Waul presented the Guinness judges with a rubber-band ball that weighed 9,400 pounds. It took Waul six years and 730,000 rubber bands to make his prize-winner.

However, Gutierrez, a native Noe Valleyan, is not deterred.

He is asking his neighbors to visit Rubberta at Tuggey's (3885 24th Street) or on Facebook, where her fan base keeps growing.

And don't forget to bring rubber bands.

The Saturday Farmers Market at 24th and Vicksburg has launched a drive to help Gutierrez collect r ubber bands for Rubberta. A grand finale and celebration--with rubber-band-related entertainment--will be held on Saturday, March 13 (the day before daylight savings time), starting at noon.

You guessed it... the ball!
Photo courtesy Mike Gutierrez