Hay may be for horses and other farm animals, but it’s also become a patriotic and creative art piece right outside of Beatrice.
Along U.S. Highway 77 and Hackberry Road, eight hay bales are painted to look like the American flag, and an additional two bales depict a yellow minion – a character first created in the 2010 film “Despicable Me” – with an “I voted” sticker proudly on his overalls.
The Nebraska Hay Minions have been in several locations throughout the Beatrice community since 2014, and have worn everything from superhero costumes to COVID-19 masks over the years.
The artist, Emily Haxby, said the latest installation is to highlight the 2020 election year, as well as her personal campaign for the Gage County Board of Supervisors District 2 seat.
Haxby said her husband, Justin, made three trips over the weekend, hauling the roughly five foot tall and 1,600 pound bales to their current location. Then Haxby, along with Janet Wallman, Andy Wallman and Emilie Schmidt, started painting some hay.
“I think we started at nine o’clock Saturday morning loading, getting all the equipment out here,” Haxby said. “Then we finished painting about eight o’clock at night. This is by far my biggest project.”
Haxby explained that she had Blake Huls put extra plastic wraps on the bales, which holds the paint better, and also takes most of the paint off when the bales are eventually used. She said the animals will still eventually eat the hay, just that water on the top of the bales will slightly lessen the quality.