MoDOT mascot Barrel Bob turns 8 after surviving fire, kidnapping, more
JEFFERSON CITY - He’s been kidnapped and left in a ditch. He’s been taken from the road and found at a party as far away as Lake of the Ozarks. He’s even been set on fire twice.
But Missourians find it’s hard to stop Barrel Bob from doing his job.
Barrel Bob is the Missouri Department of Transportation’s mascot for promoting work zone safety.
He is 11 feet tall and made of recycled MoDOT materials like cones and barrels. He always wears his hard hat and safety goggles to show his commitment to work zone safety.
But it hasn’t always been so great for Barrel Bob. MODOT reports trouble found him just a few months after he first started showing up on Missouri roads.
He was “assassinated” during Work Zone Awareness Week and public outcry prompted MoDOT to quickly rebuild him. Bob was also kidnapped in 2010 and 2011. He was burned in October of both 2016 and 2017.
According to MoDOT Central District Engineer David Silvester, because Bob is made of recycled or outdated cones and barrels, he is inexpensive to make each time he gets destroyed or kidnapped.
MoDOT Central District Senior Communications Specialist Gene McCoy said those who know and love Barrel Bob have a true appreciation for him.
“They don’t like it when you mess with Barrel Bob. Barrel Bob is a lovable figure that all Missourians take personal care of,” McCoy said.
But the story of Barrel Bob is so much more than his mishaps.
He first began working in January 2010 in Kansas City after there were a number of crashes in work zones. MoDOT decided to ditch the traditional message board after it proved to do little to make drivers more aware of the work zone.
Instead, the agency went with Barrel Bob and found he catches drivers' attention mush more effectively than the common e-message boards.
Although Barrel Bob’s purpose in life is promoting work zone safety to drivers, he has a few other passions in life.
MoDOT has created a create personality for Bob. It says he loves the color orange matching the color so much, his favorite holiday is Halloween and his favorite sport is basketball.
While it may seem hard to believe, MoDOT said, Barrel Bob is a fan of both the St. Louis Cardinals and the Kansas City Royals, along with the Mizzou Tigers. He makes his way out to some games during the season. But MoDOT said Barrel Bob doesn’t just love Missouri sports - his favorite food is a corn dog from the Missouri State Fair.
Silvester said Barrel Bob is very good at his job - which is promoting safety.
"It’s very much a part of work zones, and that’s what people have now grown to associate Barrel Bob with," Silvester said.