By Matthew Anderson
C4x4 was at a unique event this year called 'Big Iron Overland Rally' in West Mineral, Kansas. This was the first of its kind and hopefully it will not be the last. The star of the show was Big Brutus, which is a Bucyrus-Erie model 1850-B electric shovel, it's the second largest of its type in operation in the 1960s and 1970s. Big Brutus is now the centerpiece of a mining museum close to where it was originally used to strip coal. Big Brutus has a shovel that was designed to dig anywhere from 20 to 69 feet down to unearthcoal seams. It was a sight to see for sure when we arrived and fortunately, we were early enough to get a great camping spot behind the electric shovel.

There was approximately 150 rigs and 500 people in attendance. This was truly a rally comprised of all different makes and models and setups, including two bikes that have traveled all around the world. Here are just a few that caught our eye while we walked around talking to others who had traveled all across the country to attend the event. Some traveled over 1,000 miles just to come see and camp by Big Brutus.

There was also a vendor show with some amazing new gear, show rigs, and different attendees including these two little dogs. This time of year, weather can be a bit unpredictable, but even when it was raining people continued to visit, tell stories, and learn new ways to pack, stack, and enjoy overlanding.

There was a total of 8 bands that played over 16 hours of music. The first night the stage was under Big Brutus, which really added to the music, with it almost creating a booming effect making it sound like you were in a cave, that is how big Big Brutus is!

During the event we were allowed to tour the inside and outside of this mamoth rig, we also visited the museum as well. The museum included models, memorabilia, and training rooms. At this event, they had a total of 8 classes and 4 different subjects were taught. We ended up attending one on how to use Gaia GPS.

Okay, okay tell us more about Big Brutus. being one of the world's largest electric shovels, it's so big that, each time the dipper, aka the shovel, was full it would have removed over 150 tons of earth. That is the weight equal to approximately 60 Jeep Wranglers or 50 Toyota 4-Runners for each scoop.

The inside is impressive as well, we won't spoil everything inside but will just show you a few photos include a nut and bolt, we can't even imagine the size of the tools used to tighten and maintain Brutus.

Here are just few more staggering statistics
Largest electric shovel in the world
16 stories tall (160 ft)
Weight 11 million pounds
Maximum speed is .22 mph (that is not a typo)
Cost $6.5 Million in 1962

There was a live auction with all proceeds going to helping preserve the Big Brutus historic landmark. In order for Big Brutus to retain its National Landmark status, it must be repainted every 20 years and it costs over $200k to repaint. The Big Iron Overland Rally was able to raise $8,500 towards preserving Big Brutus.

This event was hosted by MOORE. These are a couple of their current overlanding rigs. They travel across the country promoting events, and host an expo each year in Missouri. We would like to thank all those who attended, donated, and spoke with us at the event.

Big Brutus Website -