Rutland, North Dakota's claim to fame as the Home of the World's Largest Hamburger is a tribute to the ingenuity of leaders of the Community Club, which spearheaded a 1982 effort to secure a place for the town in the Guiness Book of World Records. Cliff, a long time Rutland resident, helped cook and serve the record-setting hamburger. Residents Orville Silseth and Edwin Erickson were part of the group who started the whole thing "to put Rutland on the map," Cliff says. They looked through previous editions of the Guinness Book of World Records to seek a record that they deemed feasible to beat. They settled on the World's Biggest Hamburger, 3020 pounds, documented in the 1983 edition. Beef for the nearly two-ton burger was hauled in refrigerated trucks and weighed in at a grain elevator before being brought to a pasture just outside of town for cooking. Hundreds of spectators, along with local news teams, gathered to watch as two giant burners heated up the homemade, 16-foot frying pan. The burger was flipped using a crane with chains attached. While the giant hamburger would have been a challenge for Paul Bunyan himself to finish, the crowd must have built up a gigantic appetite, consuming all 3,591 pounds of the burger in individual servings. The monument marking the July 26, 1982, event is the actual grill top used to cook the World's Largest Hamburger. It stands alongside Sargent County Road 10 coming into Rutland from the north. Repainted in 2008, it also features the town slogan, "Pride of the Prairie." Interestingly, the previous hamburger record, dating from 1981, was held by Towner, North Dakota.--Research by Casie Hawkinson, HIST 431, Fall 2008
Photos by Casie Hawkinson, 22 November 2008
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