Second Annual Stevenson Angus Pumpkin Patch a blast

Thursday, October 28, 2021
Second Annual Stevenson Angus Pumpkin Patch a blast

Xandy Stevenson, a nickname for Alexandra, leads others through the elaborate corn maze. Xandy is the daughter of Jake and Deanna Stevenson. Deanna and her sister-in-law Robin worked together to make the Stevenson Angus Pumpkin Patch a reality. Photo by Melody Montgomery

Second Annual Stevenson Angus Pumpkin Patch a blast

Janessa Kern (left) as well as her sister Charlotte Kern (center) have their faces painted at the Stevenson Angus Pumpkin Patch by Miss Teen Montana Julia Kunau of Lewistown. Photos by Melody Montgomery

Second Annual Stevenson Angus Pumpkin Patch a blast

Much like a valet to a chalet on a ski hill, a horse-drawn wagon transports individuals arriving to the pumpkin patch from the parking area to the festivities and later returns them to their vehicles.

Second Annual Stevenson Angus Pumpkin Patch a blast

(From left) Connor, Joel, mom Rose, Jayce, Claire and Michael of Lewistown enjoy getting the whole family’s faces painted, which was a free addition to the festive event.

Second Annual Stevenson Angus Pumpkin Patch a blast

Ryker Zellwo of Choteau enjoys the corn maze with his dad.

Second Annual Stevenson Angus Pumpkin Patch a blast

Gram Montgomery, the “assistant editor” at the Judith Basin Press, transforms from a newsboy to a wolfboy at the Stevenson Angus Pumpkin Patch.

What do you do with pastureland that does not have access to water and is too small for running cattle? One option is to create a pumpkin patch to be enjoyed by individuals of all ages across Central Montana and beyond, such as sisters-in-law Robin and Deanna Stevenson did in hosting the Second Annual Stevenson Angus Pumpkin Patch. The recent four-day, two-weekend run successfully concluded its last weekend on Sunday Oct. 24.

“[The pumpkin patch is in] a field that’s fairly small, and we didn’t use it much on the ranch for cattle,” said Robin, who started the event in 2020 with Deanna, and the two hope for many more pumpkin patches in the future.

Robin estimates that over the course of four days, there were around 1,000 visitors to the pumpkin patch, which also included horse-drawn wagon rides, an acre-plus pick-your-own pumpkin patch, an elaborate corn maze, a petting zoo, portraits, face-painting, games, slides and more. Concessions featuring Stevenson Market beef were provided by Force 10 Wrestling Academy. Adult beverages were catered by Gally’s Brewing out of Harlowton, with proceeds benefiting the Youth Empowerment Project summer youth horse camps.

The event began over two years ago. In the Spring of 2020, Deanna and Robin convinced their father-in-law, Keith Stevenson, into letting them grow a pumpkin patch at their family ranch outside of Hobson.

The Stevenson Angus Ranch is over 100 years old and known near and far for its role in the American Angus Association, annual bull sale, breeding and genetics of cattle, and offering high quality local beef products. It is now also known for its pumpkin patch.

For this year’s event, Robin and Deanna partnered with Keith Stevenson to install a pivot irrigation system, which allowed the dirt ground where festivities were held to be replaced with grass and to create the corn maze.

“We wanted to install a pivot irrigation system because Deanna nearly worked herself into the ground trying to flood irrigate last year,” said Robin. “Our father-in-law Keith allowed us to install the pivot and partnered with us financially. In turn, he is be able to use the corn from the corn maze as silage.”

For the inaugural Stevenson Angus Pumpkin Patch in 2020, Deanna had handwatered the pumpkins every other day for a month before trusting their flood irrigation system.

“I didn’t expect them to survive, but they did,” said Deanna.

This year, the pivot irrigation system, which moves on wheels in a circle to sprinkle water from above, has turned out to be more than a blessing for the event, it is also a blessing for the ranch.

Little did they know when installing it that 2021 would be a drought year in Montana.

“We lost out on a lot of our hay, and this really is saving us,” said Robin.

To create the corn maze, Robin randomly mowed through the corn field, taking out seedlings for the path. She mowed on instinct, without a plan, but the maze worked out perfectly. The corn kept trying to come back throughout the summer, and Robin continued to move it back.

“It was a lot of work,” said Robin, pleased with the result.

Keith Stevenson was also pleased.

“Keith loves seeing people get along and the community come together. He enjoyed seeing the children playing and hosting visitors at the ranch,” said Robin.