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This amazing roadside attraction in Ashford has become a family affair

You can stop by Recycled Spirts of Iron Sculpture Park on your way to Mount Rainier National Park. #k5evening

ASHFORD, Wash. — Jay Bechtold's yard goes by the name Recycled Spirits of Iron Sculpture Park and it's a rusting tribute to the vivid imagination.

"Everything has a purpose and you shouldn't get rid of stuff," Bechtold said. "Everything's recyclable."

Giant creatures and odd-looking characters, even choppers, all share the grounds.

"I love it," Bechtold said. "I mean I live the dream."

It's a dream that came to life decades ago when Bechtold's father-in-law Dan Klennert began welding one-ton sculptures for his four-acre park. 

"I just had a dream of a place where people could come and see and appreciate what I make out of junk," Klennert told us in 1999. When he retired, Klennert wanted to pass the home, the park, and the business to another sculptor he admired, his son-in-law.

"One day Dan called me and said, 'Hey I'm thinking about retiring. This is going to be all yours. You need to take over,'" Bechtold said. "Well, I got excited because this is what I wanna do for the rest of my life."

Bechtold showed us his field of dreams, a junkyard full of objects behind the house.

"This is where all the magic starts I guess," he said. "We had a gentleman donate tons of horseshoes and we still have massive horseshoes." 

He showed us a fish made almost entirely of horseshoes. There's also a horse made with dozens and dozens of horseshoes.

Like his father-in-law, Bechtold is a self-taught artist who likes to spark his imagination. Some visitors wonder if he's lighting up more than electrodes.

Credit: KING TV
Jay Bechtold now runs the sculpture park started by father-in-law Dan Klennert.

Bechtold laughed. "They're like, 'You guys must be doing a lot of pot to be doing this kind of stuff' and we are like, 'No building that stuff is like our drug.' We get so excited when we build it."

They've built it and people have come.

"What I like is you get to meet new people every day," Bechtold said. "I get to meet people from Asia, Africa, Australia, and the UK.

Now with his son Dalton, Bechtold hopes a new generation may carry on this family tradition.

"He's always like, 'Hey dad will you teach me how to weld?' And hopefully, he'll want to take over too, you know?"

At Recycled Spirits of Iron Sculpture Park, there's always room for more imagination.

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