WINTHROP — When you’re having an event called the Cow Chip Challenge and Family Carnival, and because of a series of complicating factors the cow isn’t there to make its “contribution” to the event, you improvise.

Such was the case Saturday in Winthrop, where unforeseen circumstances, including the potential for severe weather and concern about the safety of the aforementioned cow and sticking to the rules of the game of chance, forced organizers of the second annual fundraiser for Winthrop-Monmouth Youth Football and Cheering, the Cow Chip Challenge and Family Carnival, to change their plans, and the focus of the event.

On Friday organizers grew concerned by forecasts that predicted heavy rain and thunderstorms could come through town during the later parts of the event, which originally was scheduled to take place from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.

So they moved the event up to an earlier time, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., to avoid the potential for heavy rain making the event unsafe, for people or cows.

The committee of local residents organizing the event then also decided to cancel the cow’s participation altogether, in case any storms came up that could put the cow’s, or farmer’s, safety at risk, according to Carlyn Lenfestey, a member of the committee which organized the event.

So the cow chip challenge part of the event, for which tickets already had been sold, was changed into a more conventional raffle.

The idea of the cow chip challenge was people bought squares on a field divided up into a grid of 2,500 squares. Then a cow, offered on loan for the event by Wholesome Homestead, was to be released onto the game playing field, and whoever had bought the square where the first cow chip the cow released on the field landed, would win $500.

Instead, it became a raffle, with ticket holders who’d bought cow chip tickets instead having their tickets put in for the raffle. Each participant was assigned random numbers, with their number of entries in the raffle based on the number of squares they had purchased.

“It will be a random drawing, just like it would be random” where the cow chip would have fallen, Lenfestey said Saturday about an hour into the event, held on and around the playing fields behind Winthrop Grade School.

The event, in its second year, was a fundraiser for the combined Winthrop and Monmouth Youth Football and Cheering program. Organizers said more than $2,000 raised in the event’s first year, last year, funded the purchase of 25 new football helmets, three tackling rings and two pop-up tackling dummies.

Winthrop resident and youth coach Billy Grant won the raffle, and he donated the $500 in winnings back to the program, according to Lenfestey.

In addition to the raffle, there were also carnival games, a bounce house, silent auction of items donated by local businesses, yard sale items and vendors selling various items including burgers, candy, and clothing.

Numerous children participated, under a sky that remained sunny during the early portion of the event but turned darker as the afternoon progressed.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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