It’s bingo — with a twist
By Denise Baran-Unland For The Herald-News April 30, 2012 2:32PM
Plainfield Congregational United Church of Christ will use a cow from a Channahon farm to to play a game of cow pie bingo as part of a fundraiser.
Updated: June 2, 2012 8:03AM
PLAINFIELD — Norma, an 8-year-old cow that lives at Bleuer Farms in Channahon, is a lucky bingo player with seven years of solid experience. She wins with a single chip.
On Sunday, Norma will be using her skills at a Cow Pie Bingo fundraiser at the Plainfield Congregational United Church of Christ, 24020 W. Fraser Road. Proceeds will help the youths to attend the July 10-13 national youth convention in Indiana.
This is how one plays the game. Volunteers will fence off a portion of church grounds and paint at least 500 grids. The exact amount of grids will depend on how many $10 tickets members sell.
“We’re going to start painting the Friday or Saturday before the event and keep going until we’re done,” said Emmy Odean, youth pastor.
Norma’s owner, Bob Bleuer, will then walk Norma around for a three-hour period to, hopefully, drop a chip into one of the squares. The owner of the winning ticket receives a $1,000 prize. Second and third prizes, which may be decided by random drawing if Norma doesn’t produce anymore chips, will win $500 and $300.
“The farmer who is bringing her says he has a few tricks to make sure she does her business at the right time,” Odean said. “We really want to make a few people happy that day.”
Bleuer, however, said he doesn’t know of any technique that will encourage Norma to “do her business.” He relies solely on nature to get the job done.
“I’m just hoping she doesn’t go in the trailer,” Bleuer said.
Part of the reason why Norma is the perfect cow for fundraising and educational events is her tame personality. Norma’s mother died at birth, so Bleuer bottle-fed her.
That consistent human contact rendered Norma fearless around humans.
“Nothing spooks her,” Bleuer said. “A bomb could go off and she wouldn’t jump.”
Those taking a chance on Norma are enthusiastic about the unusual fundraiser. Odean has heard comments such as “Oh, that sounds fun!” and “That’s crazy!” Odean feels Cow Pie Bingo is part of the traditional spirit of Plainfield.
“Many people are excited to see how Cow Pie Bingo works,” Odean said. “Because Plainfield was historically a working farm town, it’s fun to hearken back to the good old days.”
With that mind, Cow Pie Bingo will be presented as a community picnic. There will be live music by Union Jack, food and drink, games for adults and kids and an auction of “real food” pies.
Bleuer will be at the event all afternoon, and guests are welcome to observe Norma as long as they wish.
If Norma “splatters” and the winning grid is uncertain, judges will be on hand to make the final call.
“We have a farmer who has agreed to be one of the judges,” Odean said, “and we’re hoping to have someone from the sanitation department, too, since he knows poop so well.”
Despite Norma’s important contribution to the fundraiser, the church is not planning to award Norma any prizes. “Just some loving and hay,” Odean said.
Plainfield Congregational United Church of Christ will be selling tickets through Wednesday. To purchase a ticket call Odean at 815-641-2819.