World’s Largest Ball Of Twine

In 1953, Frank Stoeber, a farmer living near Cawker City, KS, started storing his twine by rolling it into a ball. Years passed, and the ball grew larger and larger. Neighbors contributed to the ball, and by 1957, the ball weighed over 2 tons, and stood 8 feet high. Frank continued adding to it year by year. In 1961 he gave the ball to Cawker City. It was 11 feet in diameter, and contained 1,600,000 feet of twine.  It was set up on main street, and a shelter was built over it. Frank died in 1974, but the town continued to add to the ball. Each year more twine is added during it’s annual Twinathon, held every August.

In 2006, it was estimated to weigh nearly 9 tons, with a circumference of 40 feet, and containing 1,475 miles of twine.

Linda, the current official “Keeper Of The Twine”,

Linda, The Keeper Of The Twine

provides twine on a spool to visitors and encourages them  to add to the ball.

Harland and I both added our share during our visit there a week ago Saturday.

Gravity is taking a toll on the ball as it is getting kinda flat on the bottom, and is more of a mound now than a ball.  But the winding continues.

Linda (Keeper Of The Twine) also owns the hotel across the street.

If you’re wanting a souvenir of your visit, you’re covered.

A walk up and down the main street of Cawker City reveals many iconic paintings displayed in store windows that have been adapted to include a ball of twine.

The paintings were done by a local minister’s wife as a way to fill some empty store windows.

By the time I had viewed all the paintings, and had wandered around town, the sun had set on another day over Cawker City.

And the World’s Largest Ball Of Twine awaited another day.

And the winding will continue.

Check back tomorrow for the final stop of our weekend north-central Kansas road trip: a visit to the Paul Boyer Museum of Animated Carvings in Belleville, KS.


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Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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21 Responses

  1. Tami says:

    So glad you stopped to see this one. My sister lives 7 miles for Cawker (in Glen Elder) and every time – and I do mean EVERY time – we pass through there, Hubby slams on the brakes, usually throwing at least one child out of their seat, and exclaims “Would you look at that giant ball of twine!!!” The kids ceased to be impressed years ago, but they would probably be disappointed if he didn’t stop and make them look. 🙂

  2. It is just FUN!
    So neat to see the town embraces the ball of twine. The paintings with a ball of twine included are great.

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Gardener,
      Isn’t it just ridiculous? But it is fun, it’s great to see a town not take themselves too seriously.

  3. Lee Ann L. says:

    Wow! That is one big ball of twine. And, I must say all the paintings and such are hilarious. That sounds like a fun and quirky town to visit. 🙂

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Lee Ann,
      It is fun, and collectively they have a great sense of humor. And it all started with one farmer and some excess twine.

  4. Shailaja says:

    “Thrift + Patience = Success”? But my husband is always trying to convince me that Thrift + Patience = CLUTTER 🙂
    Condensed Twine Soup is hilarious!

  5. I love it! What a great story! It would be fun to say that you got to add some twine to the ball! How fun! I think my kids would get a kick out of that! I am so glad you photographed those paintings done the pastor’s wife…they are fantastic…my favorite is the Campbell’s condensed twine soup! hilarious! P.S. I just now noticed as I scrolled through your post again…the last picture…the painted swirly twine on the road! That is so cool!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Bonnie,
      Yes, I forgot to mention the swirly twine – it runs all over the sidewalks on main st.
      Thank you for visiting’

  6. Teresa says:

    That is so funny! I love the adapted works of art.

  7. Tes says:

    Wow it sounds like you guys had such a wonderful time. I love those beautiful paintings..and wow the world largest ball of twine :)it’s so cool!

  8. Janice Chester says:


    Your pictures are beautiful. What kind of camera are you using?

    Best Regards,

  9. We took some friends there last week and they were amazed when we ended up spending almost 2 hours in Cawker City!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Shelley,
      We spent a long time there too. Looks like a small town, but there is a lot to see there.
      Thanks for visitin’

  10. Kara says:

    Darwin MN too has a Worlds Largest Ball of Twine. Here is an intersting article on both ball’s of twine. Enjoy!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Kara,
      Looks like Darwin MN has the world’s largest ball of twine assembled by one man, and the one in Cawker City, KS has been assembled at first by one man and then by anyone who happens to pass by. So there are different categories in the World’s Largest Ball of Twine contest. Which only adds to the silliness of the whole thing 🙂

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