Tulsa World via Associated Press

MASON, Okla. (AP) -- Shane Bowling explains the rules of the corn maze to schoolchildren and his wife, Sharla, drives the barrel train. Her mother, Evelyn Been, runs the general store while her dad, Doyle Been, drives the tractor-trailer ride.

On the weekends, the Bowlings' three children act in the scary skits in the haunted corn maze.

"It's really a family business," Sharla Bowling said of the Rustic Acres Corn Maze in Mason.

This is the second year the Bowlings have operated the maze located 20 miles south of Bristow.

"We wanted to diversify our farm. We have a gourd farm, and we wanted to branch out," Shane Bowling said.

So they turned almost three acres into a maze. "Now, it's taken off more than the gourds."

This year, Rustic Acres has two mazes: a three-acre family friendly chicken-shaped maze filled with chicken facts, and a one-acre haunted maze with a hillbilly horror theme.

Jeffery Crawford, director of the haunted maze, got involved in August and has been working ever since to prepare the maze with paid actors and scripted skits.

"I've done plays and directed before, but this is a different animal," Crawford said.

In addition to the two mazes, Rustic Acres also has a barrel train ride, tractor-trailer ride, Jupiter Jump, a general store, concessions, sack races, bean bag toss, hay jump, "milk" a cow activity and scarecrow contest.

Shane Bowling said next year he hopes to add a petting zoo and see even more people at the family farm.

"I really enjoy it, especially people who don't come from this kind of life," he said. "I really enjoy seeing the kids learning things."

The Tulsa Maize, a corn maze in Broken Arrow, is in its seventh year.

The first three years, it was operated by a company out of Utah. But since then, the landowner, Jack Schlekeway, has run the event.

Schlekeway also gets a little assistance from his family. His parents drive from South Dakota in a recreational vehicle to help.

Tulsa Maize has two corn mazes -- a seven-acre maze and a five-acre haunted maze. There are other activities as well, such as a hay ride, corn box, cow train ride, hay jump and a bike trail. Paintball target shooting and fire pits that can be rented have also been added over the years, Schlekeway said.

"We've had pretty good success the last couple of years," he said.

In November, Schlekeway said, he'll harvest the corn field, grind it up and feed it to his cows this winter.

Shane Bowling has a similar plan for his fields of sorghum, which is similar to corn.

"Last year I just turned the cows in it," he said.


Information from: Tulsa World,

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

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