If you’ve been driving or cycling, walking or running around town, you’ve no doubt noticed some decorated hay bales.

Up along MT-200, about a mile or two outside of Sidney, there’s a likeness of the three magical merry makers from the 1993 hit movie “Hocus Pocus.”

Face it, this bale’s wicked smart!

A stone’s throw from TSC Tractor Supply Co. you’ll see a series of hay bales representing a chrysalis theme. The bales (pictured) start life as a friendly caterpillar and then emerge as a magnificent, awesome butterfly.

Just try and beet it!

On the opposite end of East Holly Street (also known as Truck Route 488), just beyond the city limits, you will find a red, white and blue stand-up motif.

Call it patriotic hay!

Heading back into town, there’s a vivid cactus hay bale display with an appropriate sign from the local Dry Society. The trio of arid-looking cactus bales are located about 100 yards from the Richland County Law & Justice Center.

How cool — or hot — is that!

In front of the Sidney Stockman Bank branch there’s a gumball hay bale.

Simply... sweet!

We’re still not sure how this decorating hay bale tradition got started. Since the 4-H is involved, we’d like to think it’s connected to Richland County’s famous, hard-working ranching and farming community, which dates back more than a century.

In an effort to maximize labor efficiency, perhaps some enterprising rancher got the idea to drop off some hay bales in key, strategically-located places around town for later pick-up. One day, someone painted their hay bales... and a tradition was born.

Hey, could be!

If you know how this all got started, please contact us. We’d love to share the rich tradition of the county’s 4-H/Reynolds Hay Bale decorating contest with readers of the Sidney Herald.

Vote for your favorite hay bale display at Reynolds Market. There will be prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place — plus, a People’s Choice award.

Contact: Libby Berndt, F.T. Reynolds Marketing Director, Reynolds Market, P.O. Box 1048, Sidney, MT 59270; 406-433-2305; libbyberndt66@gmail.com

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