Margot Dodd, left, winner of Cow Pie Bingo this year in Lakeview, Ore., got the best retirement surprise ever when Josie the Heifer deposited her “pie” on Margot’s square. Sharon Hiatt, center, Oktoberfest Committee chairwoman, sold the winning ticket to Dodd. Bridget Shullanberger, right, donated her young heifer’s services to the annual Soroptimist fundraiser.

LAKEVIEW, Ore. — Margot Dodd, this year’s winner of the annual Oktoberfest Cow Pie Bingo contest, says it’s the best pie she’s ever had!

Dodd’s ticket came just one day before she officially retired from her more than 40-year career as a nurse. Her past 13 years have been spent in Lakeview at Lake District Hospital.

“I’m going to spend some of it on my retirement party,” she said.

This is the fifth year of Cow Pie Bingo in Lakeview. Approximately $5,000 was raised by Soroptimist International of Lakeview members. That money, along with other fundraisers, goes toward programs in the county that improve the lives of women and children. In previous years, that has included funding: scholarships; Girl’s State participants; The Lake County Crisis Center; Lydia’s Love; Lake County Library; Lakeview Swim Pool; School playgrounds; and School Garden Learning centers.

This year, 8-month-old Josie the heifer made her cow pie debut. The brockle-faced Angus mix, belongs to 13-year-old Bridget Shullanberger, who was awarded Josie by the Lake County Stockgrower’s Heifer Award program. Josie eventually will produce a calf that will go to another LCSHA recipient.

Josie is Bridget’s forever, and she will be showing her at next year’s county fair, along with a market steer.

“My dad always chooses for me, and his are all black Angus, so it is fun for me to have one with a pop of color, “ Bridget declared with a big smile.

Cow Pie Bingo is Lakeview’s version of what is sometimes called Cow Plop Drop, or Bessie Bingo. The concept is simple, entertaining and yes — exciting. Who knew cow manure could be so interesting?

A grid is set up, on an outdoor field, comprised of 650 numbered, 2-by-2-foot squares. Spectators buy tickets that, through a randomized computer program, correspond to a specific square. If Bessie or Theodore (yes, sometimes the cow is a steer) chooses your real estate to do their business, then cowabunga! You’re a winner of $1,000!

Not bad for a $10 investment. If your square remains green and pristine, then your $10 still makes a difference in Lake County’s children and women.

What happens when manure lands in multiple squares? Turns out, it’s all in the percentages. Judges determines which square contains the most Pie Poo. They are usually able to eyeball winners, but can pull out the ruler in close cases. That is the cow bingo version of a photo finish.

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