It’s a thrilling tale that began in a cornfield south of St. Cloud.
Jason Stock, a chemistry and physics teacher at Sauk Rapids-Rice High School, created “Harvest of Horror,” a haunted hayride that runs nightly each fall. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Knights of Columbus, who in turn, distribute the funds through educational scholarships.
Stock is a third-degree Knight and attends both St. Peter Parish in St. Cloud and St. Francis Xavier Parish in Sartell with his wife, Tracy, and their two sons, Jacob, 19 months, and Matthew, four months.
Stock needed a “people-mover” to use at the Harvest of Horror. From the ground up, he designed and built a trolley to carry the thrill-seekers through the spooky trail.
“What I found is that the trolley became really popular,” Stock said. “People asked to use it for weddings and other special events.”
Stock entered the trolley in a statewide welding competition where it caught the attention of the Minnesota State Fair.
They asked Stock if they could lease it for their daily parade, and it has been in use for the last six years.
At the end of last year, the fair folks approached Stock to make a custom fair-themed trolley, which he designed using AutoCAD, a commercial computer-aided design and drafting software application. He began constructing the trolley in early June and completed it just in time for this year’s Minnesota State Fair, which runs from Aug. 23 to Sept. 3.
“My goal is to capture the spirit of the Minnesota State Fair,” Stock said. “I’ve gone every year for my entire life. It has been a big part of my life, and I love going there. I just feel honored to be a part of that spirit that little kids and adults alike are going to have. … It’s the largest fair in the country and I get to be a part of it.”
In addition to using the fair’s primary palette of two shades of blue, green and black, the trolley boasts laser-cut fair logos, custom upholstery in matching shades and will also sport fair-themed vinyl stickers on each of its panels. The trolley will be leased to the state fair for 10 years and has a value of about $40,000.
A family affair
Stock has long had a passion for welding, designing and building. In addition to teaching at the high school level, his doctorate in educational leadership affords him the opportunity to provide instruction on teacher development at the College of St. Scholastica and St. Cloud State University. Stock also owns Master Custom Homes in St. Cloud and operates two campgrounds in northwestern Minnesota.
He started building small trailers with his father, John, an optometrist who passed away in 2017.
“Dad did a lot of woodwork and metalwork and that’s really how I got interested,” Jason said. “In fact, this is the first trailer I have built without him.”
Jason said his son, Jacob, has already shown interest in his work, often watching — from a safe distance — as he works on various projects. Jason said that while they are a very busy young family, all the challenges they have taken on are motivated by his and Tracy’s passions.
“It really comes down to having a supportive wife and making decisions together,” Jason said. “I’m a teacher by trade but we do a lot of other things. In everything we do, we hope that our faith is the common thread that runs through all of it.”