Tens of thousands attend 44th annual Cow Chip Festiva lin Prairie du Sac

September 5, 2018

Nathan Grunewald throws a cow chip during the Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw and Festival, held Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 at Marion Park in Prairie du Sac.

Visitors from around the country gathered in an attempt to break the record 248-foot throw during the 44th annual Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw and Festival held Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 in Marion Park, Prairie du Sac.

Contestants in the event each received two cow chips, pancake-like droppings from cows selected for their density, flatness and fiber content. Participants then throw the chips, with the chip landing the furthest away while staying in bounds counting as the final score. It is recommended that participants lick their fingers before each throw to get a better grip on the chip, though few followed this advice.

The current men’s record of 248 feet has stood for 27 years, set by Greg Neumaier in 1991, while the women’s record of 157 feet and 5 inches set by Terry Wallschleger has stood since 2005.

Preston Gamroth threw the farthest this year in the men’s category, a distance of 180.9 feet. Liz Wood threw farthest in the women’s category, at 115.6 feet. In the kids category, Tyler Jorgenson threw for 80.9 feet and Brooke Johnson threw 87 feet.

Alex Miller, a former Sauk City resident who now resides in Iowa, returns yearly for the event with his family. While unable to compete in the event because of a shoulder injury, Miller enjoyed watching people throw cow chips.

“It’s a blast,” Miller said. “My 6-year-old laughs every time they (throw) the chips. This is our third year coming and we always have fun watching people throw, eating lots of food, and they love the bounce houses.”

The event draws an estimated 40,000 people each year, and though the chip throw is the main attraction, lmany people come for the bands, 5K and 10K runs, and the atmosphere.

“I come here every year,” said Prairie du Sac resident Alan Tylove.

Besides the chip throws, the event featured numerous family friendly activities, including a kid’s game tent area, a parade, a rock climbing wall, a dunk tank, and an arts and crafts fair.

Returning for her second year at the arts and craft fair to run a booth was Sally Rech of Lancaster, owner of Learn with Me Crafts.

“We try to make it fun for the kids,” Rech said. “It’s a lot of sensory products, like busy boards, water beads, play dough, slime, and more.”

Although much of her time was spent running the booth, Rech planned on taking in the sights of the festival.

“I love the crowds, I’m looking forward to it,” Rech said. “There’s lots of people enjoying the festival. It’s a wonderful event.”

“Everything’s going really smoothly,” said Cow Chip Committee member Marietta Reuter.

“We’re very pleased with the way things are turning out. It’s great for the community.”

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