Over the past year, Oklahoma City Thunder fans have shown a predilection toward creative expressions of affection for their relentlessly lovable hometown team. They've created custom paint jobs for their Suzukis, they've made Thunder-themed cakes, they've put a Mohawk and beard on a building, and they've gotten fairly intense OKC-inspired tattoos. Any bicoastal elitist who denigrates the artistry and culture of the Midwest and South need only look at how Thunder fans roll, especially in light of their latest creation, that most perfect intersection of artisanal quaintness and monstrous agritourism — the giant corn maze.
That's an aerial shot of the maze (or, as many seem wont to spell it due to the corn-pun hook, "maize") at Reding Farm in Chickasha, Okla., which this fall — at the height of college football season, with both the Oklahoma Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowboys ranking among the top 25 teams in the nation — will honor the reigning Western Conference champions. Past designs carved into the 35-acre corn maze, which is billed as the largest in the Sooner State, have included what appear to be Oklahom-ized versions of the characters from "Star Wars" and a tribute to "The Wizard of Oz" (presumably to inform passing airplanes that they are not in Kansas anymore), so the Thunder are in some pretty good company here.
The Reding Farm Thunder maze is just the latest in a long, distinguished line of sports-themed corn mazes. Other recent beauties include a Cincinnati Reds-themed maze in Ohio, one honoring Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch in Olympia, Wash., and a pirate-themed cutin Colton, Wash., to welcome new Washington State Cougars coach Mike Leach. Again, Oklahoma City finds itself in fine company.
Farm owners Jerry and Nancy Reding recommend "leaving anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to explore" their mazes, which, to be honest, seems like an incredibly optimistic time frame for getting through any part of the Thunder configuration, whether we're talking about the upper right-hand labyrinth/Jumpman logo section, the detailed OKC shield logo, All-Star Kevin Durant's jersey or (my personal favorite) the nod to Thunder mascot Rumble the Bison in the lower right-hand corner. But then, I am both A) no expert in corn mazes and B) awful with directions, which puts me pretty squarely out of my element here; as such, I'll defer to Jerry and Nancy.
The maze isn't open for visitors just yet — Reding Farm opens for the fall sight-seeing season on Friday, Sept. 28, 2012, 12 days before OKC kicks off its preseason schedule against the Houston Rockets — but it sure seems like it's ready for the NBA season to get started. In this way, all NBA fans are like elaborate corn mazes.
It is, of course, unfortunate that the folks at Reding Farm couldn't find room on the 35-acre spread to include a nod to James Harden's beard, Russell Westbrook's ... um ... fashion or Kendrick Perkins' famed permascowl. Oh, well. There's always next year.
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