How perfect cow chips are chosen for Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw Festival

How perfect cow chips are chosen for Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw Festival

On Aug. 30, the 45th annual Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw Festival will kick off in Sauk Prairie.

Organizers say more than 40,000 people come to the event for the entertainment of the main event: cow chip throwing.

While some people may not think there is much planning that goes into picking cow chips for people to throw, there is a science behind it.

Russell Ballweg has been carefully picking cow chips for the festival since 1995.

“It needs to be fairly thick, dense, and you like them probably 8 inches, 10 inches around (which) would make a very nice cow chip,” he said.

Ballweg said there have been years when he can’t find enough cow chips for the competition that year and needs to reuse cow chips from previous years to make do. Ballweg said every year, they need about 300-400 cow chips at a minimum.

Ballweg said sometimes the weather makes picking cow chips impossible because they need to be able to dry for several days before they are usable. He also said they need to come from grass-fed cows only.

“They don’t get any corn because they have to have grass, which is a lot of fiber, which makes the chips stick together,” Ballweg said.

Ballweg said this year he’s seen some of the best cow chips they’ve had in a while and that this is a job he enjoys, despite how smelly it can be at times.

“I think it’s really unique because it’s just something different that very few people in the United States or the world that actually do this,” he said.

For more information on the Cow Chip Festival, you can search the website at

My story today will make you say holy chip! Lol

— Jamie Perez (@JamiePerezTV) August 22, 2019

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