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Jets logo carved into Stonewall duo's cornfield maze

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A Stonewall couple hopes the province's infatuation with the Winnipeg Jets will help turn their corn maze into a field of dreams.

Danielle and Carl Boonstra have carved the Winnipeg Jets logo -- the old logo, from the team's previous incarnation -- over nine acres of corn plants on their 160-acre farm outside of Stonewall. From the ground level, it looks like any other maze. But from a bird's-eye view, the maze is a perfect replica of the logo the Jets used from 1990 to 1996.

"We're big Jets fans," said Danielle Boonstra.

This is the family's 14th year of carving a maze into their cornfield. In the past, they've found sponsors for it, such as the RCMP, Assiniboia Downs or local companies, which have paid the $2,500 to get their logo cut into the field.

"We had some offers this year but we really wanted to go with the Jets theme so we paid for it ourselves," she said.

Boonstra said they wanted to use the team's new logo but they had to start cutting before it was unveiled on July 22.

"We tried to wait as long as we could. When we finally cut the logo, the corn was already 21/2 feet tall. If we had waited any longer, it would have been too high," she said.

So, how do you create such a gigantic piece of hockey art? It's easier than you might think. Boonstra said the old logo was downloaded into a GPS and one person simply walked through the cornfield, turning left and right when the hand-held device told them to, followed by another person on a riding mower.

The question is, now that they've built it, will they come?

Boonstra hopes so.

"We've had a lot of people come through our maze (over the years). By doing the Jets logo, hopefully we'll get a new crowd to come out and we're hoping (previous visitors) will come back and do it again," she said.

This year's edition opens Sept. 9 and runs until Halloween. The cost is $8 for adults and $6 for children. (Carrying on the Jets theme, if you wear some kind of Jets paraphernalia -- old or new logo, your choice -- you can get in for half price on opening weekend.) Once inside the maze, the challenge is to find 20 wooden stakes located in various nooks and crannies with letters on them and then unscramble a Jets phrase to win a prize.

And just like in the Hollywood blockbuster Field of Dreams, in which Kevin Costner's character plows under his cornfield to build a baseball diamond for players who have come back from the dead, Boonstra's neighbours think they're a couple of ears short of a crop.

"Oh yeah, they think we're crazy. They're excited though. They've seen how crazy the maze can be at Halloween," she said.

The Boonstras aren't putting their livelihood at risk by plowing part of their crop. The kind of corn they grow isn't for human consumption, it's for cows. Once they cut the plants down, the corn was baled up and sold to dairy and cattle farmers. The Boonstras also have 20 acres of strawberries and four acres of raspberries.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 31, 2011 A2

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