Utah Corn Farmer in Trouble with SLOC


Salt Lake City, Utah Sept. 6, 2001 (AP)--A farmer who pruned a cornfield maze into the shape of the interlocking Olympic rings is in trouble with Winter Games officials.

The cornstalks in Steve Ames' field in Farmington, Utah, stand in the shape of the five Olympic rings and feature the logo of an Olympic sponsor.

The Salt Lake Organizing Committee's brand-protection department is telling Ames to either plow the corn under or alter the crop so it no longer looks like the Olympic logo.

Ames says he has an e-mail indicating that the sponsor, Nu Skin Enterprises, gave the OK for using the Olympic insignia.

But SLOC officials say no one can use the Olympic rings without paying a price _ $10,000 by one account.

Nu Skin officials now say they want their logo out of the field as well.

``It'll be pretty difficult,'' Ames said Thursday. ``It's kind of like, `What's the big deal?' Just leave it alone. I can't alter it overnight.''

Nu Skin spokesman Larry Macfarlane said Ames was told he would have to get approval from SLOC.

``The more we look at it, the more we're unhappy with it,'' Macfarlane said.

But Ames says he has an e-mail, signed by the company's Olympic marketing director, that reads ``thanks for doing this.''

Linda Lucetti, a spokeswoman for Olympic marketing, said no one is trying to hurt Ames or his business.

``We just think it's a misunderstanding all around, and we're working to resolve it amicably,'' Lucetti said. ``We want to protect the marks without taking away everyone's enthusiasm for the games.''

Others in the corn-maze business aren't happy with Ames either.

Brett Herbst, a corn-graze grower from American Fork, said Olympic officials wanted $10,000 to let him crop the rings into one of his fields.

The price was too steep for Herbst, and he said he doesn't think it's fair for Ames to use the Olympic rings to lure people to his field.

Ames has been charging people about $5 to walk through the corn maze.

Copyright © 2000 The Associated Press