Theme-park for Southwest Missouri arouses locals
April 20, 2007
Newton County commissioner Jerry Carter released information recently that a land-acquisiton company had sent a man named Todd Marshall representing ARM Risk, a recently filed company with the Missouri Secretary of State's office, to scout out 1,000 acres in the Redings Mill area for the location of a possible Disney-scale theme park. No names of the backers of the plan were released.

Commentary by Jean Blackwood

I'm so excited about the idea of a theme park for Southwest Missouri! And I have the perfect theme for it - Poultry Land! I can see it now, as we enter escorted by young folks in giant chicken costumes a la Disney world as strolling mariachi bands remind us of the Hispanic contribution.

Just think of the possible rides. How about one called Slaughterhouse, designed sort of like the Flooded Mine at Silver Dollar City except that you're riding in a giant chicken car and cruising past steps in the slaughter process? There are tableaux of sweating, cussing workers with bloody hands and stumps of fingers slashing furiously at passing rubber chickens and turkeys and the folks riding get their own knives to slash away as well. You get points for every wing or drumstick you can hack off as you race past, as every little while the challenge is increased by someone yelling "Speed up the line!". Authentic odors should be included.

A roller coaster could be included and named the RES Express. At the top you breathe fresh, sweet air, then you descend quickly and repeatedly into valleys of stench. Another ride could be Polluted River, where you get to guide your canoe past floating offal and dead fish. Paddle boats would be available on a smelly lagoon called Land o 'Lakes.

A fine show could be created with politicians collecting the fees, bosses from corporate AG serving as masters of ceremony, and DNR doing a song and dance.

A freak show could be set up with local environmentalists in cages, ranting and raving about clean air and water, democracy and other insane things.

Crafts are important and anything using a lot of feathers or loads of manure would be in order. (Maybe RES could provide tips here on beneficial uses of poultry waste.)

Instead of a petting zoo there could be some cages crowded full of debeaked chickens, and the kids could get to feed them antibiotics.

My imagination is just getting started but I want to save any further ideas to be shared with Disney or whomever when I'm hired as a professional consultant. I guess I should warn them that they may not attract too many local folks to the park, since Southwest Missourians live in Poultry Land already. But, heck, some o' them thar city folk just might like to come see where their yummy chicken and turkey dinners are coming from. And we could even let them go home with some aromatic reminder of their Poultry Land experience firmly stuck to their shoes.

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