Crowds always happy to plop down money for cow patty bingo

Whether it’s called cow chip bingo, cow plop drop or cow patty bingo, the bovine game of manure chance is popular.

Lorraine Bates, manager of the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows Country Fest, said the unique fundraiser was used for two years to help offset the cost of the fair’s 4-H show.

“We may do it again. It was fun, but it was quite a bit of work,” she said.

Just like the name, each bovine bingo game has slightly different rules.

At the Maple Ridge fair, a section of a show ring was blocked off and the walls measured and marked. Gamblers bought tickets on each square. A 4-H member led a cow around the arena and when the manure fell, a series of strings were used to figure which block the manure fell in.

Organizers sold 1,200 tickets for the Saturday and Sunday bingo and $500 was paid out to each day’s winner. The rest of the money went to offset the cost of the 4-H show, which is the largest in the province.

Bates estimated the bingo raised $7,400 over the two days.

“It’s a way to help with some of the costs.”

Lynda Osborne of Qualicum Beach, B.C., used a cow pie bingo to help her raise $10,000 for a cancer fundraiser in 2011.

The calves that were turned into the field on the day of the event weren’t quite so co-operative. Instead of doing their business, they laid down in the field for a rest.

A replacement cow was more co-operative, and the visitors held their breath while they wait for a cow plop.

“It was fun. People really enjoyed it,” said Osborne, who paid money for first and second cow plops.

Bryce Burnett of Saskatchewan’s Swift Current Agriculture and Exhibition Association said it’s been a few years since his organization held a cow plop drop, but he believes organizers painted a checkerboard in the dirt with spray paint, added corral panels and let a quiet cow into the ring.

Gamblers could buy a square in the ring for $5 or $10.

“The first plop won.”

If a cow pie landed on a line, it was split between the squares where it landed.

Jody Korchinski, a communications specialist with the Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission, said the agency doesn’t have statistics on how many cow pie bingos are held annually, but it occasionally receives requests for licences.

Cow pie bingos require a licence from the provincial authority be-cause they are considered a game of chance.

Contact mary.macarthur@producer.com

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