Gillette Family Creates Giant 23-Foot COVID Effigy, Burns It

A Gillette family burned away their feelings about 2020 and the pandemic with a giant 23-foot Covid effigy.

Ellen Fike

April 20, 20212 min read

Effigy main

Unsurprisingly, no one has taken well to the pandemic.

But Sandy Daly and her husband at the Daly Ranch in Gillette have especially struggled.

Both are older and are considered to be at higher risk for complications from the illness, meaning it could be dangerous if they caught it. So they have essentially been in quarantine for a year.

“I haven’t hugged my grandkids in a year,” Daly told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday. “I haven’t been to a grocery store or gotten my hair or nails done.”

So over the weekend, to celebrate the Dalys receiving their COVID vaccines about a month ago, the family and a number of their friends (all of whom had been vaccinated) gathered on the ranch to let off a little steam.

Well, maybe smoke would be a better word.

Either way, the family held a bonfire and the guest of honor was a 23-foot effigy to the coronavirus. The effigy looked like a man wearing a blue shirt that said “COVID” and a belt buckle reading “19.”

The man’s head looked like a COVID cell and was made from chicken wire and cloth.

Wilson Restrepo, who works on the Daly Ranch, made the effigy, but the idea itself came from Sandy Daly and stemmed from a time she visited Santa Fe, New Mexico, and saw a similar effigy burning.

Everyone at the bonfire received a card on which to write all of their frustrations from the last year. The cards were then burned with the effigy, providing a cathartic ending to such a crummy year.

“It’s been a long year and we needed some closure,” Daly said. “One of my friends said we needed more cards.”

The weekend party was made even better by the fact that the Dalys’ grandchildren got to spend the night, one of the first times they have gotten to do so in a year.

“I feel like we’re rejoining normality,” Daly said. “We just really hope to prevent anything like COVID from happening again.”

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Ellen Fike