Peter the Great gives it the old magician's try at Cowart Ranch's Maze Dayz.
I was there to document the stunt — that was it. My magician friend, Peter Bugnet, also known as Peter the Great, was going to be the one to walk through the muddy fields at the Cowart Corn Maze blindfolded. Sounds a bit crazy to me, but sure, I had told him, if you want me to come along and write a story about it, I’d be happy to.
“Do you want some mud boots?” asked the queen of the maze, Brittany Cowart Kinney, as she greeted us and hopped off her tractor. She was hard at work, preparing for the crowds that would arrive the next day, Oct. 2 (That has since been pushed back to Oct. 3.
“I’ll be OK,” I said, not wanting to cause any trouble. “I’m wearing my back-up lawn-mowing shoes anyway.”
She looked down at my shoes and grinned, baring sparkling white teeth. Her hair wisped in the wind. “I’ll ask Dalton to bring some,” she said, referring to her husband, Dalton Kinney.
That’s when it occurred to me that if I was going to document Peter’s trek through the mud, I was also going to be trekking through the mud. And if Brittany tells you that you’re going to need mud boots, you’re going to need mud boots.
Dalton brought the boots and — I think — was joking when he said, “I put my feet in them already, so I don’t think there’s any black widows in there.”
Under the hood
Peter, in addition to being a kids magician, is a super smart former high school science teacher. He’s short, wears thick rectangular glasses, and has a quick laugh that sometimes comes out as a giggle.
He explained that he was going to wear a black hood. He held out his hands to demonstrate how he was planning to use the warmth of the sun to keep him on track.
“Here, just so you know there’s no trick to it, you can try on the hood,” he said.
I put it on, and, sure enough, it was dark inside. Of course, any time a magician invites his audience to try out his equipment first, it’s a sure sign that it’s rigged in some way. But I was prepared to be wowed.
We stepped over several small ditches that had been dug to drain the property, and we entered the maze, a world apart. I was joined by Ronald Melvin, who usually goes by his stage name, Mystic Mel, and we followed Peter around as he sensed the aura of each wall of corn.
We trudged through black puddles, and the mud sucked on our boots with each step. At one point a large object flew past my head, a bug of prehistoric scale. We were surrounded by corn stalks.
It was hot. And I wasn’t the one wearing the hood.
We took some wrong turns, and finally Peter asked for some help. I read the numbers on some posted signs as we came to them. There were supposed to be 22 numbered turns; he had been shown a rough sketch of the plans before the attempt. But we kept coming back to 11 after we had already been to No. 14.
As we continued to walk, I later learned, Mystic Mel posted the following short message on Facebook: “I’m lost!!!!!!!!”
In the end, we made our way back to the beginning, and met back up with Brittany, who was mowing the grass around
the slide and the other attractions in front of the maze, which include this year a covered barn area, a mini train ride for kids and a DJ playing music.
Peter asked a question that maybe should have been asked before: “Are the signs in order?”
“Oh,” Brittany said, shaking her head. “No, they’re not in order.”
Unfortunately, the blindfolded stunt didn’t go exactly according to plan, but there will be many other opportunities for Peter the Great to impress the crowds who come to the maze this year: He is performing hourly magic shows near the entrance of the maze. And for those who have a hard time finding their car in an open parking — as I did on the way out — the entrance of the maze is the place to be.