A pie flies at the Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw
In 1989, the Wisconsin State Legislature proclaimed the cow chip the Unofficial State Muffin. Muffin tossers aplenty will convene in Prairie du Sac on September 2 and 3, as the town hosts the 37th Annual Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw. The fest draws more than 40,000 people every year; this year, more than 800 chip chuckers are expected to compete. All events—the signature athletic contest, art fair, concerts, and the 10K run—are in Marion Park at Grand Avenue and First Street.
To reassure those who believe the fest must surely be lacking in certain fundamental hygiene: When properly dried, cow chips are odorless and not at all yucky. In the olden days, pioneers used them for fuel because they burned cleanly (no smell, very little smoke, bright flame). In lean times, chips took the place of money when Wisconsinites went shopping.
Wisconsin’s cow chip throw record is 248 feet, achieved by Greg Neumaier in 1991. Neumaier is still the man to beat: He’s been the Champion Chip Chucker 11 times since 1991. The women’s record belongs to Terry Wallschlaeger, who threw 151.2 feet in 1996 and has held the women’s crown for a total of 15 years.
GO The 37th Annual Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw & Festival at Marion Park (Grand Avenue and First Street), Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin; 608-643-4317, wiscowchip.com.
Where to stay: The Cedarberry Inn (855 Phillips Blvd., Sauk City; 608-643-6625, cedarberryinn.com) has suites with whirlpool baths and free breakfast; rates range from $82–$160. Walking Iron Bed & Breakfast (21 S. State St., Mazomanie; 608-795-9877, walkingiron.com) is about seven miles from Sauk City but worth the drive if you’re looking for indulgence and luxury; rates range from $125–$160 for rooms or $300–$400 for the three-bedroom Sugarland Cottage.
Where to eat: Mason’s Grill and Pub (1920 Prairie St., Prairie Du Sac; 608-370-6224, masonsgrillpub.com) is next door to a family-owned meat market where you can stock up on a whole cow—or, you could just tuck into a steak dinner at Mason’s. For more than 50 years, Dorf Haus Restaurant (8931 Country Rd., Sauk City; 608-643-3980) has been serving schnitzel, sauerbraten, dumplings, and other German fare amid décor defined by beer steins and mounted antlers.