Dispicable Hay Stacks Draw Crowds
by Jane White - The Wilbur Republican
Gage County's newest tourist attraction is located just east of Clatonia at the west intersection of Nebraska Highway 41 and U.S. Highway 77.
A trio of hay-bale Minions, made famous by the movies Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2, sit on the corner overlooking the traffic.
The Minions were created by Emily Haxby of Clatonia, along with her husband Justin, sister Kayte Rohe, friend Andy Wallman and Andy's mother, Janet Wallman.
Haxby got the idea for the Hay Minions from Facebook.
"Two of my college friends shared it," Haxby said.
Haxby said the picture was of hay bales made to look like Minions.
"They didn't go into as much detail, however," Haxby said. "They just kind of threw them out there.
"They called theirs 'Despic-Hay-Bales.'"
That was all it took to get Haxby started on her Minion mission and soon she was recruiting family and friends to help out.
"Our friend Andy's mom (Janet Wallman) crochets Minions," Haxby said. "She is a big Minion fan, too, so I got her in on the idea."
Haxby said she looked at pictures of Minions on line before starting the project.
She said she also did some brain-storming to decide how she wanted to approach the project.
When she first approached her family with the idea, Haxby said they thought she was crazy.
"They thought I was wasting my time," Haxby said.
But when it came time to go to work, her husband and sister were there to help.
When she was ready to begin work, Haxby said she brought four large bales into her yard and sat them side-by-side.
"I sat them in a line and started with the yellow (paint)," Haxby said.
Once she got to putting more detail on the Minions, Haxby said Janet Wallman helped out.
"I just centered the face and the bibs and when we put them together we tried to make them look good," Haxby said.
It took about five hours to create each Minion, Haxby said.
Five hours and a lot of spray paint.
"My fingers hurt for a while after this process," Kayte Rohe said, grinning.
Each Minion took about $25 of paint, Haxby said.
"The yellow and the purple were more expensive," Haxby said. "It took about three cans per bale for full color for the yellow."
"The first two Minions we got done in one day," Haxby said. "Kayte picked up about 7:30 in the morning. We went to town and got an entire shopping cart full of paint and came home and went to work."
Haxby said she and Rohe sprayed the bales yellow.
The Wallmans brought over the tires for the eyes and Janet Wallman helped with painting the facial details.
"We just kept painting," Haxby said.
Once the Minion parts were in the field, Haxby said it took a little work to get them together.
The first two yellow Minions were transported in four parts on a hay wagon and the back of a pickup.
Justin Haxby said there were a lot of stares when he was moving the bales turned Minions.
"I had to get the hayrack loaded and over here," Haxby said. "You get a lot of weird looks when people see a Minion chopped in half on a hayrack."
The Haxbys live about eight to 10 miles from the site where the Minions are now located.
"We just took the back roads getting here," Justin Haxby said.
Once they got the bales to the site, putting them together became the next project.
"All we had was a Bobcat with a tine on the front," Haxby said.
Andy Wallman operated the Bobcat and had to maneuver two hay bales into one Minion.
"We had to get Andy and the Bobcat situated just right to get the bale straight on top," Haxby said.
The purple Minion was completed by Haxby over two days with most of the work done after dark when she got home from work.
It was completed in the front driveway at Haxby's house, using her porch light to work by.
The Minions are on property owned by Andy Wallman's uncle, Larry Wallman.
"He thought it was kind of fun," Andy Wallman said of his uncle. "He didn't know what a Minion was. But he drove by the other day and thought it was cool."
Haxby said she'd planned to sell the six large brome grass bales, adding they're worth about $75 apiece. Each of the bales weighs between 1,600 and 1,800 pounds.
"It kind of hurt a little bit, because I was going to sell the bales," Haxby said. "If it had been some of my old bales, that would have been fine, but these were the only net-wrapped bales we had."
Now that the bales are painted, Haxby said she probably won't be able to sell them.
"But it's worth it,"Haxby added.
Haxby said she may feed the bales herself.
The Minion crew has also talked about selling the bales with the money going to charity.
Haxby said she can't believe how word of the Minions has traveled and how many people are stopping by to take pictures.
"I couldn't believe it," Haxby said. "I just thought it was going to be a funny thing, but I can't believe how many people are stopping to check it out."
"When I saw all the shares on it, I couldn't believe it," Haxby said.
Haxby's husband's father works as a photojournalist for the television station.
It was a comment on Facebook that prompted Haxby to add the purple Minion to first two yellow ones.
"They said something about they don't have the evil Minion," Haxby said, "so I had to make one of those."
When they were setting up the first two Minions, Haxby said a trucker went by and honked his horn.
Since then the trio of Minions has been drawing a lot of attention from passer-bys.
"We had people yelling out the windows and people stopping by when we were setting them up," Haxby said. "It's all worth it when people can smile about it."
Andy Wallman said when Emily came up with the idea of the Minions he figured there'd be a few people taking pictures.
"I didn't think people would actually be pulling off the highway and there would be lines of cars on the side of the road," Andy Wallman said.
"We never thought we'd see this many folks stopping by," Justin Haxby said, "I didn't know there was that many Minion fans out there.
"But we've seen a lot of happy faces and a lot of happy kids."
While the three Minions stand alone for now, there may be a fourth Minion in the works.
"My husband wants me to make a firefighter Minion with the lights on the sides of the head and the top," Haxby said. "So, there could be another Minion show up."
Haxby said she hopes everyone likes the Minions and encourages everyone to come and see them.
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