Wild Adventure Corn Maze under new ownership, reveals season design

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Photo credit: Dennis Youngerman, A Veteran’s Aerial View LLC

SHELLEY– It’s the same maze, with a new look under new ownership. The Wild Adventure Corn Maze is opening this fall, and owners have recently revealed this season’s design: “Thank you to our veterans.”

New owners Ryan and Bethany Searle say they were well acquainted with the previous owner, Richard Johnson. When the opportunity for the maze to change hands came up, they jumped on board. Johnson has had the maze since 2011, and before that, it was owned by founder Shawn Stolworthy.

“After watching how it went last year and helping in certain aspects of the maze, me and my wife decided that this would be a good opportunity to take on this new challenge and keep it in our area, and our goal is to keep in there,” Ryan Searle says.

The Searles were basically a shoo-in, as Johnson paid to use their property off Interstate 15 exit 113 as a new location for the maze last year. Searle says the maze changed location because every once in a while, the crop has to be rotated in order to preserve healthy soil.

“It had been at its location for several years and needed an opportunity to move to a different piece of property,” he says. “People can relate to that maze, and really, it hasn’t moved very far from where it was (originally).”

Searle says coming up with the design for the maze is one of the most difficult tasks. With help from the original owner, Stolworthy, who now owns Maze Play, they engineered the veteran theme.

“As me and my wife talked about the direction we wanted to go, we wanted to make sure that our first year in that we did something that meant a lot to us,” Searle says.

Ryan feels the location off of the exit is the perfect spot for the maze as they’ll be able to rotate the crop regularly. The Searles will be able to keep the maze going in that spot for as long as they desire.

Photo credit: Dennis Youngerman, A Veteran’s Aerial View LLC

Searle says his father-in-law, brother-in-law, and many other family and friends have been in the military.

“We wanted to do a military theme, but we didn’t want to be specific to one branch or anything. We wanted to support all veterans because we appreciate everything they’ve done for us … and those who continue to fight and protect our freedoms.”

Searle says patrons can look forward to a veteran’s night, where those in the armed forces can enter the maze for free.

Searle’s hoping to raise enough proceeds that night to contribute to a military or veteran nonprofit group.

Searle says many things at the maze will remain the same such as the bounce pad, toddler town, and a fair food favorite, Mexican Crazy Corn.

“We’re going to keep the crazy corn coming. We’re going to keep it as close to what Richard (Johnson) had going and build on that. We don’t want to take away what he’s already built, and Richard’s really willing to work with us,” Searle says.

Some new additions are a sunflower patch maze, a new weekly food vendor and possibly a pumpkin launch.

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“We have something that’s going to be unique on a weekly basis,” Searle says. “We’re going to take some small steps this year, but we’d love to make it so that it’s a large family event,”

Searle says after grain harvest, they’ll have a John Deere combine, a harvester used for cutting wheat and corn, for people to check out.

“Right next to the corn maze on the north side … is quinoa — we’ve got about 13 acres of quinoa that we’re raising right there, and the combine will help harvest that as well,” Searle says.

Searle says to look for the Wild Adventure Corn Maze at the Shelley Spud Day parade and Eastern Idaho State Fair this year. The maze will be open Sept. 16 through Nov. 2.

“We’re just excited to keep this in the area. We’ve had a lot of great support from the community already, and we’re excited to keep this here and be a part of the community, and we’re really excited of the turnout,” Searle says.

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