Troy Glacken and Bender.
Troy Glacken and Bender.

Big Bender

Field review by the editors.

Dittmer, Missouri

Troy Glacken can't remember exactly when he built Bender -- a 20-foot-tall version of the Futurama robot from 3000 AD -- outside his towing business. Maybe it was 2006, maybe 2007. "But I always tell people how I built him," said Troy. "Because I want people to build more of him."

Bender in all his splendor.
Bender in all his splendor.

Bender, said Troy, has an 800-gallon oil tank for a body, a 55-gallon oil drum for a head, and a skullcap made from a barbeque lid. His hands are sewer pipes, his peace medallion is a reworked wheel rim, and his eyes are headlights.

"We were gonna make the eyes light up," said Troy, "but he came out so good and worked out so well that we didn't need to do that."

Troy's working-man affection for a comedy sci-fi cartoon robot is understandable to anyone familiar with Bender, who is tough, strong, spews fire when he belches, can light cigars with his finger, and affirms his independence with the catchphrase, "Bite my shiny metal ass."

"We built him in one night when we were all drunk," said Troy, which doesn't sound wrong considering Bender's fondness for alcohol. "I think we left the bar about 1:15, and by about 3 am the lady across the street was pissed, man." That's because Troy and some other family members -- Dittmer Towing is a family business -- were in the parking lot, banging away at Bender's metal parts, trying to get the dents out.

Bender bends the very color tables in his images.
Bender bends the very color tables in his images.

"But when the school bus came the next morning," said Troy, "the kids freaked out. Man, they were just happier than hell."

Mesmerizing drivers to pull off.
Mesmerizing drivers to pull off.

When Troy's father opened Dittmer Towing in 1981, he drew attention with an upside-down car. Bender serves as a similar eye-catcher. According to Troy, everybody knows where to find his business. When a fireworks factory down the road blew up, all the news crews came to Dittmer Towing for interviews, and Troy made certain that every shot with him on camera had Bender in the background.

Troy said that his parking lot at one time also had a home-built Mad Max gyrocopter. "But when my wife took over the company," he said, the gyrocopter came down. "She said we had to make this place look reasonable," said Troy. "But I wouldn't take down Bender."

And Troy has loftier goals. He told us that in the very near future he plans to build "mega" Bender. The 20-foot-tall robot with the 800-gallon body will be replaced by one with a 5,000 gallon body (Troy already has the tank).

"He'll be rocking' it out with a martini glass, a flagpole, and a cigar," said Troy. "You'll be able to see him from the next town!"

Big Bender

Dittmer Towing

Address:
7828 Hwy 30, Dittmer, MO
Directions:
Dittmer Towing. On the south side of Hwy 30, just west of Dittmer Church Rd, and 3.5 miles west of Cedar Hill.
Phone:
636-285-2122
Admission:
Free
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Big Pink Pig Named FloydBig Pink Pig Named Floyd, Dittmer, MO - < 1 mi.
Black Madonna Shrine and GrottoesBlack Madonna Shrine and Grottoes, Pacific, MO - 6 mi.
Route 66 Mining CavesRoute 66 Mining Caves, Pacific, MO - 11 mi.
In the region:
Corn Cob Pipe Museum, Washington, MO - 24 mi.

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October 15, 2019

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