Monday, August 17, 2020

Agriculture for Entertainment | Ryan Searle, Wild Adventure Corn Maze

Ryan Searle of Wild Adventure Corn Maze (Renae Oswald photo)

Ryan Searle was determined not to be a farmer like his family before him. He went to school and studied business because he knew he wanted to be a business owner. Loving motorsports, he had planned to own and operate a motorsports business. Due to some unforeseen circumstances, that goal did not pan out. What he learned is that although he couldn't control the weather to be a successful farmer he found out that the same applied to other businesses. “Reality is nobody really has control,” Ryan said. That realization brought him back to the farm.
As the third owner of the Wild Adventure Corn Maze, Searle has big ideas for what he wants to accomplish and all of it surrounds family fun. Last year the corn maze was designed around honoring veterans. Designs are decided at the end of the previous season and this year's theme has yet to be announced. New to the Maze last year was the sunflower patch and it's back again this year, bigger and better.

Sunflower Days are happening through Aug. 29. Last year they were only able to be open for 10 days. “It's five months of work that we got 10 days out of,” Searle said. He admits that it was a great learning experience and this year they have done things differently. “Let's go big and better, we want this to last a month. We had multiple plantings to extend the season,” he explained. Along with that, he planted several different varieties of sunflowers for people to enjoy. This year they are also allowing individuals to pick flowers and fill a pail. “It's a crazy killer deal,” he said.
The corn maze is open for seven weeks and will be opened starting September 14th. In the corn maze, he grows short-growing corn so that it can be harvested after the maze is over.

The previous owner had been looking for a new piece of ground and knew of Searle and that he had property along the highway. He'd run it that year and did much of the work, but decided that he couldn't do the corn maze any longer and so he offered the opportunity to Searle.

When asked about why he decided to do the corn maze he explained, “It was the right place, right time, fell in our lap. In our area, we can't do this full time to support a family. It's something new and challenging. You've got to diversify to afford to farm.”
Searle's advice for anyone considering self-employment is, “Who do you trust the most? I trust me to do the work that needs to be done,” he said. Most people aren't willing to put in long days and dedicate themselves to their business, and those individuals are not made for owning their own business. He also feels that business owners require an optimistic attitude.
The future for the corn maze is to continue to grow the sunflowers and provide the corn maze at the current location. Some investments are dependent on owning the ground, which Searle does not currently. Other announcements are yet to be shared on growth, events and supporting partners that will improve the experience.
For more information on the Wild Adventure Corn Maze go to their website at https://wildadventurecornmaze.com/. You can also find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WildAdventureCornMaze/.