Hay bale art is alive and well in Underwood thanks to the Don Dilts family! If you haven’t made your way to Underwood yet this holiday season, be sure to make your way there! They have a whole corner lot (at the corner of 3rd Street and Railroad Hwy) devoted to a holiday display complete with a Santa and Mrs. Claus made out of hay bales!
Don told me this all started about 20 years ago when his family saw that someone had turned a hay bale into a pumpkin for Halloween. They were thinking of all the ways they could do something even better! Apparently, they are a little on the competitive side! Lol. It didn’t hurt that they started using hay bales when the girls had 4-H calves. It was the perfect excuse!
Don has a twin brother, Dale, and together, they have painted many hay bales over the years. They did a wolf for his daughter’s college softball team that they put next to the Interstate, last year’s was a teddy bear, but probably the most notable was the poodle they made for The Pink Poodle’s 75th Anniversary (in Crescent).
Don not only works with his brother on these projects but with his wife, Lorrie, and 2 daughters, Katelynn Dilts and Bobbie Sue Pruett. He said this year it was a great gift to be able to work on the hay bales and have some family bonding in the midst of the pandemic. It was just what the family needed, especially with the stress of his oldest daughter being an ER nurse at Mercy. This year’s display has gotten the most attention of any and Don firmly believes it’s just the right medicine for everyone right now.
The family spends at least 35 man hours creating the bales. He said this year’s took 7 days total, but that really didn’t include the hauling, the choosing of bales, etc. and the fact that it was all hands on deck! They paint with spray paint in a heated shop so they can control temperature and wind. Then they do touch-ups once the bales are hauled into Underwood. The transport can be hard on the bales but the Dilts family thinks it’s worth it to be able to share them with the community. The corner lot is sponsored by the Friends of Underwood and the Optimist Club of Underwood plus the town helps get everything set up and running. He also mentioned that Rief Brothers in Crescent donated the small square bales. Don says he couldn’t ask for a better community to raise his daughters in and giving back just feels right with how devoted the town is.
Don says the goal is to never do something twice, always do it better, show up for the community, and start planning for next year the day after the display goes up! From what I’ve seen, they sure know how to follow through on their goals! His love for the area is very apparent, and we are so happy the Don Dilts family calls Pott. Co. home!
Be sure to swing by! It’s perfect for pictures, and it will light up your mood! I know it did mine, as did the passion with which Don puts into it!