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Slinging the Bull in Beaver W


By JuliAnn Graham, CCC


hen the late Ralph Rector of Beaver appeared on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson in the 1970s to promote the town’s Cow Chip Throwing Championship, the crowd chuckled every time Carson said the town’s name. Factor in that the town’s claim to fame was fl inging cow dung and


one can imagine the crowd’s reaction. The audience roared when Rector said the trick is to lick your fi ngers between throws to get a better grip. This April’s event will mark Beaver’s 45th annual World Championship Cow Chip


Throwing Contest. The competition has its roots in history. Pioneers coming to the Beaver area in the 1800s had to collect and use cow chips as fuel for cooking and heat because wood was scarce. It’s said these early settlers would often see who could throw chips the farthest back to the wagon, making a game of it. Beaver incorporated the throw into its Cimarron Territory Celebration in 1970, making it an offi cial sporting event. Today, the event is so popular that the Beaver County Chamber of Commerce has


sanctioned throws in other states like Nebraska and Wisconsin and even other countries like Australia. Being a champion cow chip thrower has garnered some local people interviews with national media outlets, such as ESPN and CBS Sunday Morning. James Pratt, an 11-time cow chip throw champion and a member of Tri-County Electric Cooperative (TCEC), was interviewed by Playboy magazine when the throw was featured as one of American’s weirdest sports. Pratt is the city foreman for Beaver and is also chief of Beaver’s volunteer fi re department. His daughter Teri Welty has carried on the cow chip throwing tradition, winning six times in recent years. “I’m following in my dad’s footsteps,” Welty said. “He taught me everything I know about throwing chips. He’s my hero.” Welty now resides in Granite, Okla., and travels back home to take part in the throw every year.


“I enjoy getting to spend time with family and see friends from home,” she said. Rules for the Cow Chip Throw are simple. Participants can compete in one of four divi- sions: men’s, women’s, VIP and team. Each contestant gets two throws, with the one thrown the farthest being counted. Contestants select their own chips from the offi cial wagon provided by the B.S. Enterprise Committee. Each chip must be at least six inches in diameter and contestants cannot alter or shape them in any way. The wagon doesn’t fi ll itself with chips either. TCEC member Leslie Collison of Beaver


said whoever harvests the cow chips has to select quality chips. “Chips for the throw were collected on my dad’s ranch for many years,” said Collison,


whose family owns Circle Diamond Ranch near Beaver. “With the recent drought, it seems the quality of the chips is not what it has been. Maybe the curing is affected by the high summer heat and lack of moisture. Also, it seems that chip consistency is differ- ent when the cattle are fed certain hays versus when they graze the native buffalo grass pastures. Throw contestants have to choose the best chip they can from the batch. Of course, the ranch has a no return policy on the chips themselves.”


Let the Chips Fly in the Panhandle


Want to see more events from the Beaver Chamber of Commerce? See Page 39 of this edition for an April events listing.


Beaver, Okla., will hold its 45th annual World Championship Cow Chip Throwing Contest this month. Photo by JuliAnn Graham


24 WWW.OK-LIVING.COOP


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