“It’s like bingo…but with chickens,” I implored.
“So you, like, wait for the chicken to stroll across your card and poop?” my buddy asked, clearly grossed out.
“No, there’s in fact only a single card and the chicken’s in a cage. You know what,” I mused, “it’s in fact much more like chicken shit roulette when you assume about it.”
Ah, Austin…land of the weird.
I was attempting to convince my most effective good friends that they wanted to commit a couple hours of their quick go to to Austin waiting for a chicken to poop in the hopes of winning dollars. I definitely do appreciate acquiring the odd and offbeat factors to do when I travel so this was suitable up my alley but I wasn’t confident if my good friends would join in my enthusiasm.
The Small Longhorn Saloon is a classic American dive bar. A tiny orange and white steeple-topped concrete shack on a busy thoroughfare a 15 min Uber ride north of the river. Exactly where they serve up $two cold beers and have reside honky tonk bands like so a lot of other Texan dive bars. But on Sundays, factors get weird.
From 4pm-8pm, crowds collect for Chicken Shit Bingo. Musician Dale Watson brought the game thought with him from California as a way to entice men and women to come down to the bar on Sundays. Regardless of preceding owner Ginny’s decree that “it’ll in no way last”, it operates and continues to operate practically 20 years later.
The guidelines are quite easy. There are 4 rounds. For each and every round, you line up to purchase a ticket with a quantity on it. After the tickets are all sold the game starts. When the chicken shits on the card, the winning quantity is referred to as, and the round is more than.
Amazingly, my good friends agreed to indulge my weird interests so on Sunday afternoon we summoned an Uber and got ourselves to Burnet Rd. The bar is quite nondescript when you are driving by if you do not know to appear for the steeple, so we missed it on our initially pass and had to double back. Our driver had in no way heard of Chicken Shit Bingo just before.
I tumbled out of the Uber and saw that they’d just referred to as ticket sales for the initially round so I rushed to claim a spot in line. I knew they had been probably to sell out and due to the fact I wasn’t confident how extended we’d keep I wanted to make confident I got in on the action. The hot Texas sun beat down on us as the line inched forward in the parking lot behind the saloon. When it was my turn I handed more than two dollar bills in exchange for a little yellow paper ticket with 28 written on a single side in black marker.
Transaction full, I tucked my ticket into my back pocket and strolled more than to inspect the focal point of the action: the bingo cage. It was a 4’x5’ wooden frame with a little door close to a single corner, balanced on a plastic picnic table shaded by a yellow pop-up canopy tent marketing Shiner Bock beer. The orange paint of the cage was rubbed away on the edges from years of hands and forearms leaning on it, waiting for a chicken to do its issue. The walls and roof had been chicken wire, the floor was plywood with a grid of numbers drawn on, strewn with chicken feed. All it was lacking was a chicken.
After it was announced that tickets had been sold out a crowd began to type about the cage. I jockeyed for a excellent spot, not wanting to miss something for the duration of my initially ever round of Chicken Shit Bingo. I located 28 on the grid and attempted to visualize a chicken taking a dump on it. Gotta see it to manifest it, suitable? Quickly, the crowds parted as the Chicken Shit Official brought forth a black and white striped chicken and placed it in the cage.
The game was on!
Some men and women snapped images. Some attempted to encourage the chicken to peck its way more than to their quantity. “To the suitable! To the suitable!” “C’mon 14!” “Bok bok! More than right here chicken! Bok bok!” The chicken just continued to gobble up feed hither and yon.
Shiner Bock umbrella. Chickens. I get it now. Bok bok, bitch.
Two minutes in, a woop went up from the crowd. There on quantity 34 was a fresh dollop of bird poop. Um, ew. But also, d’oh. That was absolutely not my quantity. As the winner came forward to claim their prize, the chicken was removed from its buffet and its prize providing providing wiped up. A bit much more feed was sprinkled about and we settled in to wait for round two.
Throughout the break I decided to get myself a souvenir beer coozie and a cold brew to commemorate the occasion. Small did I know that I’d finish up coming household with half a dozen coozies from various events for the duration of my week in Austin. Texans appreciate their beer coozies.
There was a bbq fired up and men and women had been milling about with hot dogs and plastic cups of low-priced beer. Speakers had been set up to pipe the honky tonk band playing on the indoor stage to the back lot. It had a vague neighbourhood block celebration really feel.
I decided to verify out the inside of The Small Longhorn Saloon. It was like one more globe. It took my eyes a couple of seconds to adjust to the dim light in the low ceilinged space just after becoming outdoors in the vibrant afternoon sun. 4 ceiling fans and a single lone AC unit whirred away in an work to retain the sweltering heat at bay. The walls had been covered in beer ads and a soccer game played on the flatscreen television mounted to a single wall when the band was stationed on a low stage in the far corner. Tables had been complete with men and women snacking from bags of popcorn, no doubt stuck to the padded vinyl chairs they had been sitting on. The really feel right here was much more Newfoundland legion or bay wedding and I wasn’t hating it.
It is difficult to say the ratio precisely but there was absolutely a excellent mix of regulars and vacationers at the Small Longhorn Saloon that Sunday afternoon.
Round two was referred to as and it was time to line up once again. This time the crowd was larger. I parted with two much more dollar bills and this time was handed a red paper ticket. This time the chicken was shades of brown. This chicken took its time. It was a complete five minutes just before she did her business…but once again, not on my quantity.
We decided to contact it quits just after that and head off in search of supper. I’d got what I’d came for: an offbeat encounter exactly where I paid to watch chickens poop.
Just undertaking my portion to retain Austin weird.
- Exactly where: The Small Longhorn Saloon, 5434 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX
- When: Sundays 4pm-8pm
- Expense: Tickets are accessible for $two or $five
- Ages: All ages