The Truth About The World's Largest Cheeto

You never know what you're going to get when you rip into a bag of Cheetos. Unlike cheese balls — all exactly the same marble-in-diameter size — your typical purchase of Cheetos may yield crunchy bites of shelf-stable cheesy goodness that are as tiny as a TicTac, as fat as a grape, or as long and skinny as a toothpick. But how about a Cheeto that's as big as a lemon? That's exactly what Navy Petty Officer Mike Evans found in his Cheetos bag in 2003 when he became the owner of the largest Cheeto ever found (via CNN)

Stunned by the size, the Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, based military officer initially tried to sell the gargantuan puff on eBay. Because that's apparently what people do when they find aberrant Cheetos; there have been auctions for Cheetos that look like Michael Jackson, baby penguins, and a raygun (via The Outline), and in 2017, a gorilla-shaped Cheeto sold for nearly $100,000 (via USA Today). Unfortunately for Evans, eBay shut down his auction when bids for this epic Cheeto exceeded $1 million. 

If Evans would have eaten the Cheeto at this point in time, that would have been the end of this Cheeto's adventures... but, he did not. 

The world's largest Cheeto moved from Hawaii to Iowa

Evans decided that the farming town of Algona, Iowa, which had bid $180 in the auction, should become the owners of giant Cheeto, reported Roadside America.  The money had been raised by local disc jockey Brian Wilson, who asked listeners to pitch in to the auction. "I thought it would be really great if we could get it as a tourist attraction for Algona," he told The Midland Daily News. "I thought we could change the face of northern Iowa." Evans handed over the Cheeto but ultimately declined the money, asking that it be donated instead to local food banks. 

Hosting the world's largest Cheeto indeed put Algona on the map as home to one of "Iowa's Largest Things" (via Wandering World's Largest). It's even mentioned in the books, Iowa Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff and The United States of Awesome: Fun, Fascinating and Bizarre Trivia about The Greatest Country in the Universe

Since its arrival to the town of 5,700 in 2003, this snack food anomaly has been admired by countless tourists, who've shared pictures on Twitter of the Cheeto in repose upon a purple velvet cushion, stored within protective fiberglass.