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Pitching petrified poo

8/12/2015

What to do, what to do? The Iowa State Fair has once again taken over the greater Des Moines area, and for good reason: It’s the Iowa State Fair.

Choosing the right “chip” and using proper technique will be important factors in helping determine a winner of the Cow Chip Throwing Contest at the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 19.

Choosing the right “chip” and using proper technique will be important factors in helping determine a winner of the Cow Chip Throwing Contest at the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 19.

Don’t make the same mistakes you made with last year’s fair. Instead of showing up with a vague idea of the entertainment descending on Des Moines, why not take a little time and check out the assortment of contests you can challenge your friends and family in. One of the favorites is the KRNT Cow Chip Throwing Contest.

“We used to throw a rolling pin, but that got kind of dangerous because someone in the crowd could be accidentally hit,” said Regina Pirtle, superintendent of activities at Pioneer Hall. “We’ve also done the rubber chicken toss. They’re all fun.”

The KRNT Cow Chip Throwing Contest takes place on Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 11 a.m. outside of Pioneer Hall. All participants get one try to throw the chip. A participant will be disqualified if his or her foot goes over the line or if cow chip goes outside the boundaries. There will be four divisions for the contest: Youth ages 5-16, Men 17 and older, Women 17 and older and VIP.

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“You can sign up to throw at the fair,” said Pirtle. “Just arrive about a half-hour early at Pioneer Hall before the contest starts.”

For those curious, the petrified poo comes in a variety of styles. Remember, these are actual animal droppings — not man-made — so it’s important to pick the chip that “speaks” to you. Choose one too big and bulky, and it will break apart on you. If it’s too small, it won’t have the mass to get any distance. In case you’re wondering about the weight, the chips are very light and airy — almost like throwing Styrofoam.

If this is your first cow chip-throwing competition, keep a couple things in mind. Many past competitors say that throwing overhanded will get more distance than a Frisbee-style fling, and a flick of the wrist at the release will help counter any persistent winds that threaten to send the chip out of bounds.

Some may even say that licking your fingers will give you good luck and a better grip.

But don’t worry, these chips have been sanitized, said Pirtle, so it’s not like these were picked up from across the Midway and “dropped” for this particular event.

“Most of our contests are things that are pretty simple. If you were to imagine years ago, maybe at a picnic or town celebration, and thinking of fun things to do without a lot of equipment or preparation,” Pirtle said. “I don’t know, maybe years ago they picked up cow chips and threw them to see who could throw the furthest; it’s just something we do.”

The reigning champ is Steve Pope, who has claimed the title five years running. Do you think you’re the person to dethrone the champ?

“It’s something everyone can get in on. We’d love for everybody to be a part of it. It’s a fun, fun contest,” Pirtle said. CV

 

Wednesday, Aug. 19
11 a.m.
Sign up at Pioneer Hall
Contact Emily Wynn
ewynn@iowastatefair.org
262-3111

 

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