B y Jaime Thomas
It takes a lot of guts to be Sunday the cow.
After all, there’s a lot of money riding on her, ahem, regularity. In fact, when Sunday gets the urge to make her own brand of cow pie, one of two lucky winners will earn $250.
Sunday will replace former cow-star Blizzard this year as leading bovine for cow plop bingo at the upcoming 11th annual Woodchuck Festival in West Pawlet.
Blizzard is no longer with the rest of the herd at the Hosley’s Farm, but Morgan Hosley said Sunday is a seasoned plopper who will do just fine. And the 10-year-old expectant mother won’t perform alone—this year she’ll be joined by fellow headlining heifer Phoebe, who at 2 years old is new to the cow plop game.
Besides a decent temperament, Hosley said the list of requirements isn’t long for the two cows to work the bingo pen.
“They just have to be able to stand inside of a fence,” she said, and her mother Cindy Hosley added that Phoebe’s resemblance to a woodchuck helped her make the cut.
However, Sunday comes with a bit of clout to pass onto the young heifer who will join her. She’s an award-winning cow at several competitions.
Though the Hosleys did not invent cow plop bingo, they did bring it to West Pawlet. Cindy Hosley said she got the idea at an event where it was taking place and brought it home to the Woodchuck Festival.
Despite the aim of the game, the Hosleys say they don’t feed the ladies Miralax or any other purgatives before the festival.
“Some people would consider that cheating,” Morgan Hosley said. Silage and cud is usually enough to stimulate a winner within a reasonable amount of time. But there was a year, Cindy said, when the cow took four hours to bring relief to both the anxious crowd and herself.
Cow plop bingo, which will begin at 10 a.m., is only one of many festivities taking place at the Feb. 1 carnival.
The event will provide onlookers a chance to watch as firemen from a variety of area departments will prove their meddle against each other in relay rescues and other games.
There will also be the department’s annual marketplace and artists gallery.
“Come and take a stroll throughout the school, library, gym and art room; each room is filled with beautiful handcrafted items for sale and represented organizations will be there also,” officials said. The marketplace will be open from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., and event organizers have sent out more than 120 applications.
Interested crafters are encouraged to sign up soon as space is limited and typically fills up quickly.
To keep competitors and spectators alike fueled throughout the day, the Woodchuck Café will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hot food, hot and cold drinks and desserts will be for sale. And for the little ones, there will be a Woodchuck kiddy fun table in the art room with arts and crafts, as well as the annual coloring contest. The woodchuck will make an appearance as well to take pictures with kids.
As for the firemen’s games, firefighters in the Rutland, Bennington and Washington County areas are invited to participate.
Each department must have at least one 4-person team but can register multiple teams as well. And organizers say the competition is stiff.
For those who register before Jan. 24, the cost is $20 per 4-man team. Registration on the day of the event will cost $30.
There will be “beautiful” plaques handed out to the first, second and third place teams declaring their victory at the Woodchuck Rescue Challenge which begins promptly at 1 p.m.
To purchase a bingo square or for more information call 802-645-0158, 802-645-1977 or 802-287-0623or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To sign up for a craft slot call Beth Kashner at 802-645-0398.