Some places have enviable titles. Paris is the City of Light, Rome is known as The Eternal City, heck, New York even dubs itself the Capital of the World. But the Oklahoma town of Beaver, already blessed with a slightly comedy name anyway, is proudly known as the Cow Chip Throwing Capital of the World. Take that New York!
Dried Out Cow Pats
Wondering what cow chips are? You probably don’t want to know. They’re not some kind of tasty, beef-flavoured potato snack, but are in fact dried out cow pats turned into makeshift frisbees. That’s right, Beaver residents have made a sport out of throwing dried cow dung. Not just a sport, but the World Cow Chip Throwing Championships, no less. Only in America. The locals are rightly proud of their slightly filthy sport. So proud in fact that it even has a mascot, a grubby-looking cartoon of a cow pat on legs wearing a crown, known as King Cow Chip. Tourist shops churn out commemorative boxes of dried cow chips while a giant statue of a beaver clutching his own cow chip is pulled through the town on parade day.
As for the competition itself, as with many of these more unusual contests it started out rather randomly one day and has spiralled rather out of control.
The World Cow Chip Throwing Championships have been around in one guise or another every April since 1970 where hopefuls step up to the plate from across the USA and beyond to have a go at throwing the dried-out discs of dung as far as possible.
The Official Dung Rules
An official dung wagon stores piles full of chips to choose from, each one being at least 6ins in diameter. Don’t even think about altering your chip to try and make it more aerodynamic, any tampering is punished strictly with a 25ft penalty. Each contestant gets two throws with the one that travels the farthest counting as his or her entry. The record so far stands at a staggering 185ft, achieved by Robby Deevers back in 2001. If you fancy your chances at bettering that then you will be most welcome for this year’s championship on April 21, provided you hand over the $35 entry fee. There is more entertainment to enjoy while you’re there. The contest is the culmination of a week of celebration and community activities aimed at honouring the early pioneers who settled in Beaver. Dried cow dung was apparently a key survival tool in the early days, being used by settlers to light fires. Don’t worry, it’s odourless when it’s burned.
Hard as it may be to believe, the competition even attracts international competitors with entrants known to have travelled from as far afield as Australia, Japan and Germany, having won their own regional takes on the contest to qualify. In fact, organisers even insist that sanctioned contests anywhere in the world which use the trademarked term Cow Chip Throwing must adhere to the international arena layout and measurements for any throw to qualify as a record.
That’s right, throwing cow pats truly is an international sport. Insert your own bull crap joke here.