A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“Life is basically all the stuff you have to do to get from coffee to wine time” (7/23)
“If people could hear the next five seconds after we hit ‘end call,’ we would have no friends” (7/22)
“In life, the only thing you ever have to do is die. Everything else is a choice” (7/22)
“Instagram is Twitter for people who can’t read” (7/22)
“Math is a drama queen. It can’t seriously have that many problems” (7/22)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from March 31, 2008
Cow Patty Bingo (Cow Chip Bingo; Cowpie Bingo; Bovine Bingo: Bossy Bingo; Fertilizer Lottery)

"Cow patty bingo” (also called “cow chip bingo,” “cowpie bingo,” bovine bingo,” “bossy bingo,” “fertilizer lottery,” “cow pat lottery,” and surely many other names) is when squares are made on a field; the numbered squares are sold, a cow is let loose, and the person holding the numbered square with the greatest amount of cow droppings wins. The game is often played in rural areas to benefit a local charity. However, the game can be rigged by adding a special scent to a square.

“Cow patty bingo” was recorded in Kansas in March 1984, “bovine bingo” was held in Pierz, Minnesota in 1985, and “cow chip bingo” is recorded in Uvalde, Texas from 1987. The origin of the bingo game is unknown. 

A similar game popular in Texas bars is “chicken bingo.”


Wikipedia: Bovine bingo
Bovine bingo is a traditional rural fundraising game that is often played at country fetes and summer fairs, usually for fundraising purposes.

Bovine bingo is not really a form of bingo, but a form of lottery. The game is set up by marking out a grid of rectangles on an enclosed land area, such as a paddock or farm field. This is usually done by chalking lines. The grid cells are then numbered or otherwise identified in some way, and chances are sold on each cell. A cow (or other livestock animal) is then let loose within the enclosure. Where the first “cowflop” (defecation) lands determines the winner. Another popular variation of this game takes place during parades, usually with horses. Same rules apply, however.

The game is sometimes controversial because of the stress the animal may be exposed to.

The game is also known as “Cow Chip Bingo”, “Cowpie Bingo”, “Fertilizer Lottery”, “Cow Patty Bingo”, “Cow Pat Lottery”, or “Bossy Bingo.”

22 March 1984, Salina (KS) Journal, “Concordia farm show April 13-14,” pg. 13, col. 1:
The Concordia Optimist Club sponsors a Cow Patty Bingo game at 1 p.m.

9 August 1985, Indiana (PA) Gazette, “Bovine bingo brings out best ,” pg. 7, col. 1:
PIERZ, Minn. (AP)— When Betty the Holstein couldn’t pass muster, May, the brown Swiss brought relief to spectators eagerly watching a barnyard scene turned spectator sport.

The name of the game was bovine bingo, featuring cows that trotted around a parking lot and favored five-foot numbered squares with the sort of stuff you take care not to step in.

It was introduced Wednesday at Crazee Days, an annual sidewalk sale in this central Minnesota community of 900 residents.

11 September 1986, Adams County Free Press (Corning, Iowa), pg. 1, col. 4:
Bob the Steer is expected to win some lucky people several hundred dollars when he does his Bovine Bingo trick during the Nodaway Corn Carnival which runs Sept. 12-14.

15 October 1986, Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader, pg. B1:
You might call it “Bovine Bingo.” Whatever you call it, it was perhaps the most unusual fund-raiser of the year in Kentucky. It happened in Hardin County on Friday night. At West Hardin High School’s homecoming football game, the local Athletic Boosters Club showed that when the chips are down, money can be raised. The club did it with a remarkable raffle. After the game, the football field was sectioned into 144 numbered squares of about three feet…

27 March 1987, Paris (TX) News, “Cow patty bingo fund raiser slated, “ pg. 6A, col. 2:
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP)—A junior farmer group is using the call of nature in hopes of spicing up a bingo game.

It’s Cow Patty Bingo, says Pam Markham, president of the Huntsville Ag Booster Club.

The county fairgrounds arena will be divided into large numbered squares that gamblers can buy for $2 to $10. The winner—who will pocket up to $500—will be holder of the square that contains the largest cow patty.

“Hopefully, the cows will feel the urge to let the chips fall,” Markham says.

Next month’s game is intended to raise money for equipment for the agriculture club.

In case of a tie, the evidence left on the bingo square will be weighed.

28 April 1987, Atchison (KS) Daily Globe, pg. 5, col. 5:
I have never heard of an official name for the game. Some call it cow chip bingo, some call it bull(bleep) bingo. Whatever you call it, it is an unusual and funny way to “pile” up some cash for a team.

26 August 1987, Ruthven (Iowa) Zipcode, pg. 8 ad:
Graettinger 91st Labor Day Celebration
(...)
Bossy Bingo

9 October 1987, Kerrville (TX) Daily Times, pg. 7A, col. 5:
CACTUS JACK FESTIVAL
Oct. 10th & 11th
UVALDE, TEXAS
(...)
COW CHIP BINGO

1 May 1988, Levelland and Hockley Co. (TX) News-Press, pg. 3, col. 4:
Plans for the Kappa Psi refreshment stand at the Cow Patty Bingo were discussed during their meeting April 18 in Linda Tucker’s home.

11 August 1988, Oelwein (Iowa) Daily Register, “Winners at Westgate Days,” pg. 8, col. 1:
Cow Pie Bingo: Kevin Wedemeier and Kent Reinking.

3 May 2007, Woodland Hills (CA) Daily News, “Fundraising is just a plop in the bucket,” What’s Up, pg. 3, cols. 2-3:
There are few treats sprinkled along the journalistic path as funny as the writer’s dilemma of describing exactly what “kowchip bingo” is.

Known in other communities as “bossy bingo,” “bovine bingo,” “cowpie bingo,” “fetilizer lotto,” or “cow pat lottery,” cow chip bingo involves volunteers making a grid on a field, selling “deeds” to the resulting squares and rewarding the owners of said properties when a cow makes a deposit on the land in their square.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • Monday, March 31, 2008 • Permalink