In November last year I went to Austin, Texas, USA for a long weekend. It was a great experience as I’d never been to Texas before. The Texan reputation for hospitality was certainly lived up to as my host took me to the most important places for a visitor to see in Texas including:
– A Texan Barbeque restaurant,
– A drive through the countryside to see her horse,
– To a trailer which served some of the best Mexican cuisine I’ve ever had,
And yes, on one fabulous evening we went to a local bar – the Little Longhorn Saloon – which indulges in Chicken Shit Bingo games on Sunday afternoons.
For the most part, it’s a pretty normal seeming place, teeming with patrons drinking and munching on the free hotdogs. The crowd spills out the back, in fact, because the place is so popular. Inside, you choose your favourite beverage and listen to Dale Watson play some Texas country music while sitting and waiting for the games to begin. Or dancing, as my friends did:
Every hour or so they urge everyone to get their bingo tickets and a massive line forms, with the final people usually being disappointed. But getting in line is the fastest way to understand what is going on.
As you approach, you see a large cage with a floor divided into squares, each numbered. (It’s actually just a cage with a plywood floor on top of a pool table, repurposed for the evening.) The floor of the cage is littered with chicken feed and bits of hot dog bun, but there are no chickens inside for the moment.
You quickly gather that you pay $2 for a randomly drawn square from the board, and, as the name might suggest, you win if the chickens drop a load on your square.
Anticipation rises as the chickens are brought in, the crowd gathers around the cage/pool table. And now the waiting begins.
Everyone starts talking to the chickens at this point. At least a dozen hands appear from all sides of the cage tossing in scraps of food to urge the chickens nearer to the desired squares.
‘Here, chicky chicky…’ ‘Come to me, you awesome chicken’
It gets quite ridiculous hearing the urging once the chickens are positioned appropriately: ‘Come on, just let one go!’ ‘Take a shit! Do it for me!’ ‘Just a little more to the right!’
This takes quite some time. In fact, just as you can can take a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink, nor can you speed up this process. On occasion, Ginny, the woman in charge of the chickens, will give them a grape or two and chaos ensues. Apparently grapes are like crack to chickens.
The crowd doesn’t dissipate, though. For the full 5 or 10 or 20 minutes that you stand there urging on the chickens to drop one, the focus stays on the cage.
And then, suddenly, a tail wiggles and instantly the game is over. Just like that.
One poop and it’s done.
A collective groan rises up from the losers and one person cheers for the well-positioned poop:
It wasn’t my square. But it was a fun Sunday evening.
1. Chatting with the random people around can be awesome – we ended up hanging out with the people beside us the following night as well.
2. Even the silliest of activities can be an awful lot of fun. I recommend going to such local activities whenever you get the chance. Just accept your inner chicken heckler. You’ll probably enjoy it.