Search Blog

The Cow Chip Raffle OR How to Turn Poop Into Loot: An Analysis of a Raffle Law

Imagine a football field roped off and sectioned into 500 marked squares. Imagine further a cow roaming free on this football field trying to find the perfect spot to leave a cow pie (that's farmer for poop). Imagine even further a lucky contestant who placed her money on the exact square where old Bessy decided to messy. That's a Cow Chip Raffle.

The marketing fun is endless. News outlets love this stuff. Kids can't believe it. And adults ponder over guessing exactly how far a bovine can go before the bovine has to go. So, what are you waiting for?

Oddly enough, to be filed under "You gotta be kidding me," Connecticut has a specific statute dedicated to the Cow Chip Raffle. (Conn. Reg. §7-185-11b – look it up!) According to the law, you must be a non-profit and obtain a permit. You also have to file a plot plan. Your land area must be "suitably enclosed" to make sure the cow doesn't get out (and a winner can be determined). You have to sell tickets with removal stubs entitling the holder to "temporary possession of a plot of land." You have to "conspicuously post on an information board" the numbered plots. And no cheating, "No person may feed, lead or handle any animal utilized in a cow-chip raffle once the animal has entered into the enclosed area." And off you (or at least the cow) go!

If you're a water enthusiast or a vegan, you can try the Duck Race or Frog Race Raffle (also permitted by Connecticut statutes), since the law only allows fake ducks and frogs.

And don't worry, if you're not an investment banker, money manager or away at private school, you don't have to be in Connecticut to play; some other states have their own versions of the cow chip raffle with twists such as the cow is led around on a harness to give equal time at each square or the land is bordered by an electric fence (not sure if for the cow or the rowdy spectators). In Santa Cruz, California, the game can be played virtually.

If you're drawing up rules for the game, consider some important items:

  • Bessy may not poop (or may not poop for a while); so put in a time limit and draw winners at random if Mother Nature doesn't call;
  • Bessy may not poop squarely within one square; so appoint official judges to decide close-calls; and
  • Feel free to give it a fun name such as the Cow Plop Drop, Bessie Bingo or the Fertilizer Lottery.

And always, always, always be nice to Bessy. (PETA once accused a Pennsylvania high school of feeding laxatives to the cow.)

Topics: Contest