We all know that Texas loves native son Willie Nelson. But on one Virginia farm, they have caught hay fever over a 15-foot statue of “Will-Hay Nelson”: an effigy of the red-headed stranger made out of hay bales.
The straw statue is this year’s version of Beth Bays’ annual giant hay sculpture on her farm near Roanoke, Virginia.
According to an article in Wide Open Country, Bays got into hay sculptures as part of a local bale decorating contest about eight years ago. When the organizers bailed-out, she kept going. Previous creations include Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and characters from the Wizard of Oz.
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In an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Bay said “Will-Hay Nelson” is a hit. “This one seems to be everyone’s favorite by far,” Bays said. “My cousin joked that I might have to quit now because I’ll never be able to top this.”
In fact some of the locals got together and did their own rendition of a Willie hit as “On The Farm Again.” Apparently Willie liked their version so much he shared it on his Facebook page. And Bays’ social media posts have gained views around the world.
If Will-Hay looks a bit chubbier than Willie, that’s because there’s only so much you can do with round bales of hay. Bays told the Times-Dispatch, “there was a lot of detail work with sculpting the arms out of chicken wire and making the guitar from a huge piece of Styrofoam I came across a few years ago and saved in my barn. I also had to make a nose out of chicken wire because Willie has a very prominent nose and I wanted to get that right.”
So Willie, if your bus happens to be cruising through the farmlands of Virginia in the near future, you might want to drop by the Buckscrape Farms and visit a spell with your namesake.
“I’m hoping the real Willie Nelson sees it and stops by the farm,” Bays said. “I would love that.”
Danny Hermosillo is the Digital News Editor for Chron.com | Read him on our breaking news site, Chron.com, and our subscriber site, HoustonChronicle.com | Follow him on Twitter at @Dannyherm1| Email him at Danny.Hermosillo@chron.com