Let the chips fall where they may

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Buffalo chip toss at the Buffalo Bill Museum

by Dave Gibson

When the days are short and winter has grown long, Coloradoans must sometimes invent ways to entertain themselves outdoors and stave off cabin fever. The Buffalo Chip Toss at the Buffalo Bill Museum in Golden is an example of just such an excuse to amuse while trying one’s luck in an unusual activity that tests accuracy and fortitude. The only rules are that if your buffalo chip disintegrates, the biggest piece counts, and gloves or mittens aren’t allowed. The closest three contestants to the center stake in the children and adult divisions won a prize.

Annie Oakley and five Buffalo Bills were in attendance – four look-alike Bills and the real, but very dead, Buffalo Bill Cody resting peacefully in his grave atop the hill. Free admittance that included complimentary cake and ice cream commemorated Cody’s 100th birthday since his passing.

Buffalo chip tossing is much like cow pie tossing, but for those who haven’t pitched poop before, the biggest hurdle is getting over the thought of handling the odiferous discs. Participants benefited from the cold temperatures as the chips were frozen and didn’t smell too bad. One by one people intrepidly lined up for their allotted buffalo chip, without fail making a foul-looking face when first touching it. Mind over matter can take you a long way in life, just not in this particular instance. Some of the unpredictable chips fractured upon impact with the ground and others rolled down the incline; a fortunate few came close to the target. More participatory than serious competition, everyone took a lighthearted approach of “letting the chips fall where they may.”

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