"Chicken bingo” (also called “chicken poop bingo” or “chicken shit bingo") is a game where a chicken is let loose on a checkerboard and poops in a square. A holder of the number square with the most poop wins the bingo game. “Chicken Shit Bingo” has been a feature of Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon in Austin since 2002, and the city of Helotes (near San Antonio) has included “chicken bingo” in its Cornyval festival since at least 1994. The origin of “chicken bingo” is unknown.
A similar game called “cow patty bingo” has existed since at least 1985.
Ginny’s Little Longhorn
Sundays - Chicken S**t Bingo
Chicken Shit Bingo
By R. Dutcher Stiles
This is how you play Chicken Shit Bingo in Austin, Texas on a hot summer Sunday.
You have to show up early if you want to get a table. Early will be about 3:30 p.m. or so. It will be hot on that stretch of Burnet (rhymes with “Durn It"), the ugliest stretch of un-reconstructed Eisenhower romanesque proto-suburban landscape. To the south, they’ve repainted the strip malls and made them ironic, and buried the power lines under brick. Farther north, it is lowest bidder capitalism. Pawn shops. Liquor stores. Tile warehouses. Where you are right now is one of the preserved places between, tucked beside the gas station, in the parking lot of a honky tonk called Ginny’s Little Longhorn. On either side of the front door, the saloon advertises its amusements in bold red letters: “BEER WINE SET-UPS” and “POOL DOMINOES GAMES.” You are here for the games.
1 May 1994, San Antonio (TX) Express-News, “Helotes festival just a tad corny” by Cindy Ramos, pg. 7B:
About 35000 people are expected to attend the festival, which features events ranging from chicken bingo to stickhorse-roping contests.
18 June 1994, The Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO), “Donkey Derby Days provides entertainment for everyone”:
... chip kicking contest, three-legged race, kiddie fish pond, best beard contest, chicken bingo (you have to see this one for yourself), watermelon eating ...
5 May 1995, San Antonio (TX) Express-News, “Helotes is all ears for Cornyval” by Jim Beal, Jr.:
Chicken bingo? For the uninitiated, a 4-foot by 8-foot sheet of plywood is divided into 100 numbered squares. Players buy square numbers for $1. ...
what in the world am i doing?
Thursday, August 18, 2005
the famous ginny’s
so i got to thinking, in response to billy’s comment on the other post.
ginny’s little longhorn is one of allbilly’s favorite places.
i have been there a few times.
but one thing that they have that i have always wanted to go to, but never went was to chicken shit bingo
to get a sense of what it’s like, check out this video clip.
ginny’s is uniquely austin
The Daily Texan (September 22, 2005)
A big crap shoot
Chicken bingo game attracts crowds at local saloon
By Halie Pratt
Red the Hen carries herself like a chicken whose shit is worth $100.
That’s because every Sunday afternoon is Chicken Shit Sunday at Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon, where chicken bingo contestants bet on where Red’s droppings will land. The person who guesses the right square will walk away with $100.
“I try to stay away from Red during the game,” said Ginny Kalmbach, owner of the saloon. “She tends to poop when I’m right in front of her.”
Chicken bingo is not your grandmother’s church-group game. It’s only played regularly at one bar in Austin and at a few other honky-tonks nationwide. Originally a rural game, chicken bingo has become a unique part of Austin culture.
Each Sunday, Ginny’s hosts three rounds, which last about five minutes each. When the round starts, players line up at the door to take a number and pay a “poultry donation” of $2 per play. Red the Hen is placed on a pool-table-turned-bingo-board, where she pecks away at her food. In order to get her to defecate, someone chosen by Kalmbach spooks Red.
If Red’s droppings hit the square with your number, you win the $100 pot. There are 52 squares on Ginny’s bingo board, giving players an almost 2-percent chance of winning.
“I won the last time I was here, which was about a month ago,” said Karen Partridge, a chicken bingo enthusiast. “I’m using the money to play more chicken bingo.”
Ginny’s has been hosting Chicken Shit Sundays for three and a half years now. Dale Watson, an Austin honky-tonk musician who now plays at the event almost every Sunday, suggested Kalmbach try the game.
“He’d done one chicken shit game in West Texas, and since no one had played it here in Austin before, we got it going here,” Kalmbach said.
Amanda Brewer, a bartender at Ginny’s for five years, said that patrons from as far away as Denmark and Sweden have sent pictures of chicken bingo games they’ve started in their own countries. “Someone tried to get it started up in Chicago,” Brewer said.
Chicken bingo is based on the rodeo staple cow-patty bingo, which is the same game except with a cow.
Chicken S#@t Bingo Drops Its Lucky Load at SXSW
By Lewis Wallace
03.13.08 | 1:30 PM
AUSTIN, Texas—During South by Southwest, out-of-town showgoers are increasingly seeking out a popular local institution: Chicken Shit Bingo, Austin’s answer to Las Vegas’ craps.
Every Sunday, locals jam into Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon, a tiny, dark honky-tonk. There they down Lone Stars, shoot the breeze and listen to Austin country legend Dale Watson tease some soul out of his coin-covered guitar. But mostly, they’re waiting for an orange hen named Sissy to steal the show.
The low-tech concept of Chicken Shit Bingo is beautifully simple: Put a live chicken in a cage atop a piece of plywood marked with a grid. Sell tickets for each of the 54 squares, then let the chicken strut around the cage. When the bird relieves itself, you’ve got a winner.
TDA’S Wall of Wheeze
Friday, March 14, 2008
Bingo + Chicken + Honky-Tonk = Texas Tradition
Anybody’s who’s hung out with Those Darn Accordions over the past couple decades knows we love a little local color. In Milwaukee, we love to hit Koz’s Mini Bowl and Art’s Concertina Bar. In Monroe, Wisc., we love the Turner Hall and the Baumgartner Cheese Store & Tavern.
Well, next time you’re in Austin, Texas, on a Sunday afternoon, head over to Ginny’s Little Longhorn Saloon for a dose of real honky-tonk flavor.
At Ginny’s they play a game of what might politely be called “chicken bingo.” (The official name’s got a third word in the middle, a four-letter number that rhymes with “wit,” but the Wall of Wheeze frowns on blue language.) Get an eyeful of this crazy Texas institution in Wired.com’s photo gallery.
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (2) Comments • Sunday, March 30, 2008 • Permalink