A Bit of a Stretch: Centralia Residents Work to Create World’s Largest Rubber Band Ball


Cooks Hill Manor: Residents Have a Long Way to Go, but the Effort Builds Camaraderie

The residents of Cooks Hill Manor have their eyes set on big things. Or, one big thing, as it were.

Since last November, an aspiring group has gathered at least twice a week to create what they hope will one day be the world’s largest rubber band ball. Today, the ball is a little larger than an over-inflated basketball and weighs a good 34 pounds. The world record rubber band ball weighs 9,032 pounds, but the vast disparity doesn’t bother the folks at Cooks Hill Manor. 

They see patience as a virtue and seem content to keep plugging away at their goal, one rubber band at a time.

“Right now we’re aiming for the largest rubber band ball in Centralia. Then we’re going to go for the biggest in Lewis County. Then we’ll shoot for the biggest in the world,” explained Elaine Scott, coordinator of events and activities at Cooks Hill Manor. 

Right now, they have no idea how big the largest rubber band ball in Centralia, or Lewis County, is, but they are hoping that leads from the community may start rolling in thanks to the spotlight on the project. 

Scott does more than just plan the project, though: She gets hands on. First, the residents create long chains of interlocking rubber bands by looping one band around the other and pulling them tight. Then Scott wraps the chain around the ever-growing ball and ties it on.

Scott says that the ball is entirely authentic, with no hidden golf ball or fishing weight at the center to jumpstart the project. Instead, she simply wadded up a few small rubber bands and then began wrapping those together with small rubber bands to hold them in place.

Scott noted that anyone is welcome to join in on the project, but so far the majority of the work has been accomplished by a group of seven residents that includes Sue Anne Crass, Norma McClain, Irene King, Mary Anders, Rosie Hernandez, Beverly Martin and Alexander Martin.

“The hardest part is having the patience to keep going, but every time we see it get bigger it gives us motivation to keep going,” explained Scott.

“Patience makes perfect,” added Crass.

Everyone agreed that Irene King is the most talented rubber band chain maker in the group, except perhaps the humble King, who barely broke her stellar pace throughout the course of an interview.

Currently, there is no end date in sight for the project. 

“We’d like to get to the world record,” said Scott, who noted that eventually they may have to contact the purveyors of the Guinness Book of World Records.

The ball sits on display in the lobby of the manor, but soon it will outgrow its display basket and new storage plans will have to be made. Scott noted that the next anticipated hurdle will be figuring out how to weigh the ball. Typical bathroom scales only weigh up to about 300 pounds so the members of the rubber band ball group foresee loading their prized creation into a vehicle and driving it across the big rig scales on the freeway.

Scott says that eventually they may have to source even bigger rubber bands. Currently they are using standard newspaper-size rubber bands that they purchase in bulk. Someday though they envision using bands as big as automobile fan belts.

“See, we’ve got dreams,” said Crass. 

In any case, the ball seems to generate its own momentum as the project rolls along. When the ball was small, the group agrees, it seemed that it took forever to notice any increase in size. As it grows though the rate of expansion seems to increase exponentially. 

“The bigger it gets the more hope we’ve got that we can make it,” said Scott.

“Anything is possible,” added Crass.

All of the participants have their own reasons for joining in the project but the sewing circle says chatter and camaraderie is likely a large factor.

“I like sports and when I look at this it reminds me of a basketball or a soccer ball,” said Hernandez, who added that she enjoys the friendly competition aspect as well.

In order to keep their project rolling along, Cooks Hill Manor is seeking out donations of either funds or rubber bands in order to keep their supplies well stocked. They prefer the bigger, fatter, rubber bands if they can get them, but they are far from elastic snobs.

“If anyone wants to stop by our lobby to help work on our rubber band ball they are more than welcome,” said Scott.

To make a donation or share the size of your own rubber band ball contact Scott at Cooks Hill Manor by phone at (360) 388-3147.