CHARITON, Iowa- Lyle Assell's cousins sent him a picture of something called hay bale art, with the caption "what farmers do when they are bored." A challenge was issued for Assell to tackle something like this where he lived.
Next thing you know Assell is heading a committee to launch a hay bale art contest. These are the giant round bales. When the idea was announced in Lucas county, organizers got some strange looks. Once some of the artwork started to appear, then the people began to get the idea. In it's 3rd year now there are 31 entries around Lucas County.
" It's amazing how creative people can be with hay," said Assell. He and his wife Charlotte did a hay art piece featuring a bull being chased by a boston terrier. The couple has a boston terrier, so that helped with the inspiration for the piece.
Suzi James has a background as an art teacher, but has never worked on a canvas of hay. "We went to Google for hay bale art pictures," said James. That gave them an idea to paint a large cat. Their organization called Adoptable Paws is trying to raise money for an animal shelter in the county so they can provide "forever homes for animals," said James.
Dan Pfeiffer won last year's contest with a hay bale tractor- which many people thought was a real tractor. This year, he opted for a more basic, and more important piece to honor his parent's 40th wedding anniversary. Pfeiffer said he put the huge 40th anniversary wedding cake on paper first, and it "was kind of like putting lego's together," to get it done said Pfeiffer.
Once the contest is done, the hay is returned to the farmers who own it. The laytex paint does not hurt the cattle. The contest concludes on November first. Information and maps of how to find the art can be found at the Chairton Chamber of Commerce.