October 29, 2004 | By: Aimee Heald-Nielson
Scarecrows Paramedic Penny and EMT Tony proudly serve in front of  the Fleming County EMS building.

Paramedic Penny and EMT Tony proudly serve in front of the Fleming County EMS building.

With names like Bucket Head Bob, Mop Bucket Millie, EMT Tony and Penny and Cash Banks, scarecrows are popping up all over one northeast Kentucky County in the name of good clean fun and community development.

The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service in Fleming County started working on this year’s Scarecrow Roundup more than a year ago. Extension agents created the “spokescrow” Bucket Head Bob and took pictures of him visiting different county businesses, parks, schools and local events including a 2003 Christmas parade where he received just as much recognition as Santa Claus. The pictures were published in the local newspaper and the community began to follow Bob’s adventures.

This year Bob was the model for a countywide contest to see who could create the most popular scarecrow. Approximately 70 contestants entered and a balloting system will decide the winner.

“We really wanted to increase tourism activity in the county and get people from outside the county to visit,” said Donna Fryman, UK Extension agent for family and consumer sciences in Fleming County. “But we also really wanted to build community relations with all the communities in the county.”

Fryman said Bucket Head Bob was just the beginning of the excitement in the county. Over the summer, she created a mate for Bob named Mop Bucket Millie.

“Bob was getting lonely,” she laughed. “So we found him a mate and had a wedding in the courtyard. A real minister did the ceremony and the townspeople were the witnesses. We’ve had a lot of fun with this. There is a story behind Bob and people are interested in finding out what happens to him.”

Many businesses were eager to join the contest with their own creations. In front of the Fleming County Emergency Medical Services building the scene is of Paramedic Penny and EMT Tony attending to a patient on a stretcher. Penny and Tony are a husband and wife team for EMS Services. The EMT workers had a lot of fun creating their entry.

“We’ve had fun doing this,” said Dale Whaley, paramedic for Fleming County EMS. “I’ve enjoyed seeing them in the county – even in people’s yards.”

Many of the local banks got involved in the contest to support the community.

“We’re trying to support the county,” said Hope Mers, employee of Community Trust Bank for 25 years. “People are talking about this and that’s what we wanted – for people to talk about the community. Everyone you talk to is having a hard time voting because there are so many good ones.”

Fleming County Extension Agent for 4-H Youth Development Steve Kelly said Fleming County is one of the largest counties in land area in Kentucky and he wants the project to unite people across the county and beyond.

“This has definitely built community spirit,” he said. “There are people from one end of the county who have literally never been to the other end of the county. I feel sure that some people have used the maps we provided to take a Sunday drive and find all the scarecrows and they’ve probably seen parts of the county that they’d never seen before. I’m sure they have invited relatives and friends from outside the county. It’s just created a lot of buzz.”

Although this is the first year for the Scarecrow Roundup, participation has been high. Fryman believes that is because of the simplicity of the project.

“We stressed to everyone that these don’t have to be elaborate,” she said. “I encourage them to use what they have and just have fun with it.”

The Scarecrow Roundup was modeled after a program Fryman read about in Marshall, Mich. The month-long event ends with a vote by Fleming County residents and visitors to determine the most popular scarecrow. Fryman is making trophies out of tin buckets to present to the winners. 

The Extension Service plans to continue to work with the Fleming County Tourism Committee to coordinate a Scarecrow Roundup for 2005. They expect even more participation next year. Fryman and Kelly said they have already heard people talking about ideas for 2005 and beyond.


Writer: Aimee D. Nielson 859-257-4736, ext. 267

Contact: Donna Fryman or Steve Kelly 606-845-4641