By Dan Kelly
When it comes to designing corn mazes, Shawn Stolworthy is outstanding in his field.
Stolworthy of Idaho Falls, Idaho, uses a computer program to draw mazes, and then a GPS unit guides a thresher through a cornfield to cut the design.
"We do about 100 mazes a year," Stolworthy said Wednesday. "We did 90 so far this year all over the country."
That's why it was particularly surprising when Judy Schultz, a partner at Wilcox Farms in Douglass Township, called to report a problem with the 2013 Kids Maze Stolworthy designed for the farm along Route 562 near Boyertown.
The maze is in the shape of a llama. But it was only after an employee saw an aerial photo that Schultz realized that from the way the corn was cut, it was clear that the llama was a male.
The photo generated a bit of a buzz among customers and attracted media attention.
Schultz said Wilcox Farms has operated a corn maze attraction for years, and Stolworthy has designed all of her mazes. This year Schultz asked Stolworthy to design a smaller, family-friendly maze.
Schultz said the llama character was chosen as a template for the kids' maze. That's where things got tricky.
"We have used the llama in the past, but only from the waist up, not the full length," Stolworthy said. "On the poster on the game, you can see we followed the anatomy of the drawing."
But it didn't translate when he cut the maze.
When Stolworthy designs a maze, the program leaves 15 feet between each path. When laying out the stomach area of the llama, however, the program did not link a couple of paths that would have solved the anatomical mistake that resulted.
"We're sending them a design that connects a couple of paths and that should take care of that," Stolworthy said.
"We're very family friendly, that's what we're all about," he added. "We won't do certain subjects, like 'The Simpsons,' because we don't agree with it."
Schultz said she hoped to have the maze problem fixed Wednesday afternoon. She feels bad that Stolworthy's latest creation caused a stir.
"He's a very religious man," Schultz said.