MERIDIAN, Idaho — Idaho’s two main corn mazes are in the same city, they both use the same type of equipment to cut their designs, they both attract tens of thousands of visitors each year and both include events that teach people about agriculture.
But Linder Farms owner Randy Feist’s field is cut using the Global Positioning System while The Farmstead owner Jim Lowe prefers heading out into the field only with blueprints, a system he believes allows him to be more precise on the details.
“The only benefit with using GPS is that there is a little less head-scratching, but I can do it just as fast,” Lowe said.
It took Lowe a day to cut this year’s 18-acre field, which depicts a cowboy on a horse and includes the words, “God Bless the American Cowboy.”
Lowe said he’s always had an admiration for the cowboy tradition.
“It’s recognized around the world for individual responsibility, honor, loyalty and grit. We thought that was a good thing to celebrate,” he said.
The theme The Farmstead chooses varies significantly from year to year and has included the Statue of Liberty, likenesses of Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama, a bumblebee, Abraham Lincoln and a trout.
It normally takes a day to cut Feist’s field as well but it took two this year because of the intricateness of the design, which celebrates the 80th anniversary of Boise State University’s first football game, the 10th year of the maze and the 150th year of the forming of Idaho territory, and includes a horse, covered wagon and a map of Idaho.
Linder pays BSU to be the official corn maze of the Broncos and its corn maze design plays off the BSU theme each year, though in different ways.
Feist and Lowe said a lot of thinking goes into coming up with a different theme each year.
“It’s not easy,” Feist said. “Every year we think, what should it be and then we rack our brains for several weeks to come up with a theme.”
Lowe said he is constantly working on new ideas.
“It’s a year-round process, really,” he said. “We’re already brainstorming next year’s theme.”
Mazeplay owner Shawn Stolworthy of Idaho Falls, who cuts 90 corn mazes around the country, said there’s no major common theme this year and most farmers come up with their own idea.
Stolworthy cut a corn field in east Idaho this year with pigs in the design and another in southeast Idaho with a moose and eagle in it.
“There are all kinds of different designs: patriotic themes, scouts, pumpkins, tractors, zoo animals, cartoon images,” said Stolworthy. “There are a lot of choices out there.”