HUDDLESTON, Va. – Country singer Willie Nelson frequently sings about traveling and seeing things he may never see again.
Chances are he had never before encountered a 15-foot-tall hay sculpture of himself – guitar and iconic pigtail braids included – like the one a Virginia woman recently created.
Huddleston native Beth Bays has been making giant hay bale sculptures for the past eight years. Her most memorable ones include characters from “The Wizard of Oz” and the Virginia Tech Hokie bird mascot.
But her latest work, “Will-Hay Nelson,“ really struck a chord in the community upon its debut in November, Bays told news outlets.
“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.”
Bays owns Buckscrape Farms and started making the sculptures as part of a hay bale decorating contest. The contest ended a few years ago but Bays continues to create new sculptures each year for the community.
Bays said Will-Hay Nelson was easier to assemble than some of her past sculptures but was more difficult in terms of details, The News & Advance reported. She said she used chicken wire to make the arms and the guitar is made of Styrofoam.
“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,” Bays said.
Bays said every year the community gets together and sings songs related to the sculptures. This year local musician Dave Owens switched up the lyrics to one of Nelson’s songs.
“I changed ‘On the Road Again’ to ‘On the Farm Again,’” Owens said laughing. “It’s always a good time.”
Nelson saw the viral video of the performance and shared it on his Facebook page. Seems like the hay sculpture may always be on his mind.