Friday, September 23, 2011

Montana Bale Trail :: What the Hay?

Sunday, September 18th - - It began 22 years ago as a good-natured spoof between two neighboring ranchers but, according to the Montana Bale Trail website, it has become a nationally recognized celebration and in 2003 was named as Montana's Tourist Event of the Year. I heard about it on the radio one day but as it was more than a two hour drive, I decided not to go. Then, looking at the map to determine my route to Glacier National Park, I realized I'd be going through the area.

A one-day “festival” of sorts held on the first Sunday after Labor Day, the two towns in the area (Hobson and Windham) have “special” events that day. There were reportedly 50 or so “am-hayzing” displays of hay bale sculptures, most created by local farmers and ranchers, along the trail (a 21 mile long loop on state highways 239 and 541 just south of U.S. Highway 87). Many of the hay bale sculptures remain for days and weeks afterward – lucky for me!

Most of the sculptures were named and generally included the word “hay” or “bale” in one form or another. The detail on many of them was rather incredible and ingenious.

I'm just Smurf'Hay.

Rise of the Planet of the 'Hay'pes.

Some were even more simplistic than this Toots 'hay' Roll.

But a lot of work went into this one. The sign in front of it said “Mudhay Days - May June”

It was one of the more elaborate sculptures.

Wild Bale Hickok was quite impressive though.

From his head...

To his toes boots.

But the one I thought was most impressive was “Hay-wo-Jima”

Proud to say Made in the U.S. Hay.

The wind had taken its toll on the soldiers, with the one on the right being almost blown over, but you get the idea...

It was a fun and interesting way to spend an extra hour or so on the long drive to St. Mary on the north-eastern side of Glacier National Park.


Brett Payne said...

Very entertaining. I think I like Wild Bale the best.

Michelle Goodrum said...

Thanks for sharing a very interesting and entertaining display. I can't decide whether I like Wild Bale Hickock or "hay-wo-jima"best. They both are impressive.