Maize maze set to amaze
Some farmers will be telling you to get lost this autumn -- in their corn mazes that is. A lot goes into the process of turning an idea into a 14-acre puzzle. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
As the sun rises on a cool September morning south of Boise, bales of straw occupy what will soon be a packed parking lot at Linder Farms. The family-run business that started out as a pumpkin patch added a corn maze nine years ago to keep up with autumnal entertainment competition.
"Well this year's my favorite, I've gotta tell ya," said owner Randy Feist.
He and his wife are the owners of the only corn maze officially licensed by Boise State University.
"Each year we try to choose something that is unique and specific to that year for the broncos," Feist said. And in 2012, the athletic department is pushing the phrase 'We are Bronco Nation.' That's how Feist ultimately decided on a maze design with that slogan, an outline of the continental 48 states, and a BSU football helmet. That's certainly no task for something as simple as a machete or even a lawnmower. Maze cutter Shawn Stolworthy, though, can handle it.
"This maze is one of the more intricate mazes with the Bronco design. It's kind of a lot of fun," he said.
Stolworthy and his company, Maze Play, start getting corn field dimensions and winding design ideas from farms around the country as early as December or January.
"With 100 mazes, it takes a little while," he said.
He uses a computer assisted drafting (or CAD) program to create the perfect, interconnected design for Linder Farms. With all the twists and turns in the labyrinth that is a BSU football helmet, the tractor operator has one tool to keep himself from getting lost in his own maze.
"We load that into a GPS thats on a tractor and that helps guide me through the field and I drive the tractor through the field and cut the paths," Stolworthy said.
After a day and half or so of literal trail blazing, Bronco Nation's transition from computer to corn is finally complete.
"It feels like it's something that can bring us together," Feist said. "Even though politics might dicide us a little bit, we've got the broncos to pull us together."
Stolworthy says he only occassionally gets lost anymore. But without help from satellites, the 40,000 people who meander through Linder Farms this year will likely take much longer to finish -- assuming they ever find the exit at all.
You can find more about the maze and Linder Farms' schedule at linderfarms.com.
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