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Meet Hoss, The 4-Foot Tall, 130-Pound Hairball On Tour This Summer

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Journalism - the profession where you pick up the phone and call total strangers and ask them questions.

STEVE WARDEN: I would like to think I'm getting this call because you're inquiring about the giant hairball.

KELLY: Why, yes, Steve Gordon, that is why we called. Warden owns a salon in Cambridge, Ohio, and he created - call it his piece de resistance after he got a request he couldn't refuse.

WARDEN: When my kids were young, they always told me to put a big hairball in the Ripley's because they loved those books.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

So Steve Warden decided to work toward the record book. He started, in 2013, collecting customers' clipped hair and gluing it, layer by layer, into the shape of a ball. When the hairball grew beyond 90 pounds, Steve Warden reached out to Ripley's Believe It Or Not!

WARDEN: They wanted to put it in one of the museums and wanted me to mail it. And I'm like, I can't mail Hoss.

SHAPIRO: Oh, yeah, the giant hairball, which these days stands 4 feet tall and weighs 130 pounds - it's named Hoss.

KELLY: (Laughter) All right, I'm going to try to stop laughing for long enough to tell you that Hoss now makes the rounds to conventions, where enormous hairballs are called for. Ripley's provides scissors and glue, so Hoss is still growing.

WARDEN: Everybody at these expos wanted a piece of their hair cut off and put on the hairball.

SUZANNE SMAGALA: When you walk by it, you have five different feelings at one time.

SHAPIRO: That's Suzanne Smagala of the Ripley's organization.

SMAGALA: You are a little bit grossed out, a little bit perplexed, but fascinated, and you can't stop looking at it.

SHAPIRO: Where others may see gross or fascinating, salon owner Steve Warden sees a legacy.

WARDEN: I know I'm not going to be here one day, and down the road, I plan on having a lot of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and I want them to be able to look up and say, wow, look at what my crazy grandpa did.

KELLY: So if you and your loved ones yearn for some summertime diversion, Hoss the hairball will be at The Oddities and Curiosities Expo in Chicago on July 20 and 21. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.