Farmer Says Drought Would Help His Cornfields

By: Erika Tallan Email
By: Erika Tallan Email

A popular destination to get your Halloween thrills is closed for the third year in a row.

But the Benson Maze in Denton isn't closed because of the conditions. It's owner says the dry conditions would have his fields and business thriving this year - had he opened for business.

For 5 years, Wayne Benson set out to create the world's largest corn mazes.

"We had a great thing going," said Wayne Benson.

He'd transform his 82-acre corn field into extensive trails.
The idea became so huge, companies wanted their names cut into the corn.Companies like John Deere, McDonald's and Verizon Wireless each sponsored the mazes.

"I read about it in a magazine, thought it looked easy and fun and it was fun, but it wasn't easy," Benson said.

People from all over the country would visit the mazes at Benson Farms in Denton, Nebraska. Benson's largest maze was 55 acres which is about 55 football fields large.
Just as Wayne's dream was catching on and becoming popular enough to generate a profit, the weather tore up his fields for three years in a row.

"Ultimately we had wind, rain and hail that defoliated all the corn and blew the cornfield down," said Benson.

So he'd close. Due to mud.

"I didn't want people to come here and have a bad experience tracking mud in the fields," he said.

2009 was supposed to be a record breaking year. Wayne's maze spanned 14.88 miles of trails.
Verizon Wireless, the maze's sponsor, even advertised the maze on a billboard in New York City's Times Square.

Once again, the weather tore it all away from him. An early August storm dropped hail on his fields, defoliating the stalks. Benson could only open about half the maze.

"All we had were stalks with ears of corn on them standing in the field," Benson added.

Benson hasn't cut through his corn since that year.

"It just killed me, broke my heart," said Benson. "I put so much work into it, so much effort. When that happened it really takes the wind out of your sails."

Wayne says if he ever does the maze again, he'd want Larry the Cable Guy to be a part of the design.


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