By Found Michigan | October 4, 2012
n case you missed it—and we’re not sure how you could’ve given how Zeus, the Great Dane from Otsego, Mich., made it into every news outlet imaginable—Michigan is now home to the world’s tallest dog. Yes, Zeus, your 44 inches of freakish doggie height is now officially recognized as the best in the latest edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. But this horse passing for a dog has plenty of good company when it comes to Michigan record breakers. From the largest hockey game ever (sorry, Canada); to the world’s largest burger (sorry, American Heart Association); to—yes—the world’s longest turd, we Michiganders have quite a lot to be proud (ashamed?) of when it comes to world records. Here are some of our favorites—past and present.
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Michigan’s Meaty Marvels
It’s no secret that we Midwesterners love our meat. Hell—in Michigan, we even have stricter quality standards for hot dogs than other states (See: A Trip Inside Coney Culture). But even we were a little surprised to see just how many records we own in the meat department. For starters, take the world’s largest pork burger: Jeff Clark of the Sands Restaurant in Mears, Mich. claims to own that record, though we should point out it’s not exactly official—the Guinness Book of World Records doesn’t have a separate category for “pork” when it comes to burgers. For a confirmed Michigan record breaker, though, try the world’s largest sandwich: Wild Woody’s Chill and Grill of Roseville set a still-standing world record back in 2005 with a 5,440-pound corned-beef nightmare that featured more than a thousand pounds of meat, 150 pounds of mustard, and more than a ton and a half of white bread. (Don’t ask us why they didn’t put it on rye.) And for a record-setting meat marvel you can actually order off the menu, head to Mallie’s Sports Grill & Bar in Southgate, where you and a couple hundred of your closest friends can try to eat the world’s largest commercially available hamburger—a 338-pound bomb (pictured above) that comes with 36 pounds of cheese, 30 pounds of bacon, another 30 pounds of tomatoes, and a calorie count of over half a million. Just be sure you order it in advance—Mallie’s requires 24 hours notice, and the burger itself takes 12 hours to cook. We think a giant-sized tip might be appropriate at the end of the night, too.
World’s Longest Sausage
Michigan may reign supreme for the world’s largest burger and corned-beef sandwich, but the title for world’s longest sausage was ours just briefly, more than 30 years ago. Still, it remains one of the most epic tales in Michigan world-record lore. In 1977, after leafing through a copy of the Guinness Book of World Records, a 20-year-old, fourth-generation Rogers City meat maker named Phil Nowicki got it in his head to take a stab at creating the world’s longest sausage. His goal was 4,000 feet, but just a few days before his attempt, he discovered that a 7,000-foot sausage in Canada had just shattered the previously standing world record—significantly raising the bar in the world of monstrous meats. Instead of being deterred, Phil doubled down on his dream, and on a fateful August night, he spent more than 12 hours stuffing 3,000 pounds of ground sausage into foot after foot of casing. The final measurement? 8,773 feet of fresh Polish sausage, based on Phil’s great-grandmother’s recipe. While it would have been fitting to fry up that bad boy in a Paul Bunyan-sized skillet, the Rogers City sausage saw an equally delicious end when it was sold off to attendees at the town’s annual Nautical City Festival in pieces more manageable for the average backyard grill. Amazingly, the record for world’s longest sausage has been broken many times since Nowicki’s feat—with the current title set in 2000 for a U.K. man’s 36.75-mile-long masterpiece.
It really wasn’t much of a game by hockey standards. The Wolverines mopped the ice with the Spartans—5-0. But in terms of the record books, the December 11, 2010 Michigan/Michigan State hockey game at the Big House was the biggest of big games: at the time, the biggest crowd ever at Michigan Stadium; the biggest crowd ever for any NCAA event; and a still-standing world record for attendance at a hockey game. The late-arriving crowd didn’t make it easy on U of M athletic director Dave Brandon, and even once Guinness announced an initial count of about 85,000—8,000 more than was needed to break the previous record—he wasn’t satisfied. That’s because the university had announced a much more epic attendance of 113, 411 at the game itself. So what explains the discrepancy? Well, it turned out Guinness has a different method for calculating attendance at big sporting events: It relies on the number of tickets scanned at the gate, while Michigan Stadium officials had been counting the number of tickets sold. After a few months, the controversy was put to bed when Guinness released a final tally of 104,173—much closer to U of M’s original estimate. But it’s still a figure that leaves the door open for future shots at the record. In fact, the biggest challenge may come as soon as this New Year’s Day. That’s when the Red Wings and Maple Leafs will attempt to fill every one of Michigan Stadium’s 109,901 seats for the NHL’s annual outdoor event, The Winter Classic. With the current NHL lockout, that’s a big “if” at this point. And besides, Dave Brandon has vowed to top the record with another Michigan/Michigan State game if the Wings/Leafs showdown draws a bigger crowd—even if that means adding more seats to Michigan Stadium.
A Winter World Record Trifecta
In what we believe is something akin to the spirit of the whole “when life gives you lemons” sentiment, the hardy folks of Michigan Technological University capitalized on the Keweenaw Peninsula’s famously cold, snowy winters by icing not just one but three world records on the same day. On February 10, 2006, some 3,784 students, faculty, staffers and community residents gathered at Michigan Tech’s Sherman Field to clobber each other with snowballs, in what became the world’s biggest snowball fight; after which they all simultaneously flopped down in the snow to set the world record for most people making snow angels at the same time, in the same place. And all this was done in the shadow of the world’s largest snowball—with a circumference of 21 feet, 3 inches—which a group of the burliest snowballers had rolled up earlier that same day. (The way we see it, that’s one record for every month they don’t have snow on the ground in Houghton.) In 2009, though, one of Michigan Tech’s records came under siege when students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison attempted to best MTU’s snowball-fight record—but didn’t even come close. To this day, all three of Michigan Tech’s winter feats remain frozen in the record books.
The World’s Longest Turd
It began with a high-fiber diet, and officially “took shape” on the Cranbrook-Kingswood High School bowling alley in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. So says the caption on this series of video stills entitled “World Record #4: Peristaltic Action,” a.k.a. the World’s Longest Turd. When pooper Michelle Hines was through, her record turd supposedly measured in at some 26 feet—exactly the length of a human colon. A shoe-in for the world’s biggest—except for two minor details. One, Guinness—surprise, surprise—doesn’t have a category for the world’s longest turd; and two, “Peristaltic Action” turned out to be—thank God—a hoax. Back in 1995, Michelle Hines, who grew up a Guinness-obsessed Midwesterner and later graduated with an MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, designed “Peristaltic Action” as an art project. Since its debut, the piece has become something of a cult classic in the art world, and even found a home in cult filmmaker John Waters’ and art critic Bruce Hainley’s 2003 exploration of sexuality in art called Art: A Sex Book. So, sorry—technically speaking, Michigan can’t lay claim to the world’s longest turd. But would you really want that kind of shit on our record?
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Best of the Rest
Just in case Paul Bunyan ever returns to the U.P., James DeCaine of Ishpeming has got him covered. Back in 2008, James built a 33-foot, 4-inch-long gun that’s now in the books as the world’s largest working rifle.
The Best Seat in The (Big) House
When it comes to world records, there’s no one more decorated than Jim Mouth, owner of 22 world records—most of them involving stuffing an absurd number of things (cigarettes, hot dogs, french fries) into his, well, mouth. But back in 1984, Jim broke with tradition with a world-record “sit-a-thon” when he sat in every single one of Michigan Stadium’s then 101,701 seats over the course of 96 hours. Maybe “The Mouth” will plan a sequel, now that the Big House is a little bigger.
This Just In
Chalk this one up as one of the world’s most recent world records: This September, hopscotch lovers in Detroit set the bar for the longest hopscotch course—a 4.2 mile-long stretch that had Detroiters bouncing down 22,720 feet of Motor City sidewalks.
On National Lemonade Day (August 20, if you don’t already have it circled on your calendar) in 2011, hundreds of kids set up shop at a Birmingham park to set what we think might be the cutest world record ever: world’s longest lemonade stand, with 349 stands linked together to total 1,399 feet.
For the Birds
In Grand Rapids, where they seem to have a mild obsession with world records (see also: largest zombie walk, most people dancing “The Carlton” simultaneously, and last year’s viral lip-dub), they also apparently have a thing for chickens. At a 2011 G.R. comedy festival, attendees set the bar for most rubber chickens tossed in the air—925 to be exact—and this year, 607 people flocked downtown wearing chicken beaks, setting a new world record for most people sporting animal noses at one time.
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