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How far can you throw a cow pat?

It sort of like skipping stones on water.

But when you’re throwing a cow pat, you need to get the wind under it, to give it the lift it needs, says Tangaroa Walker, about the technique competitors used at the weekend to throw a cow pat in the New Zealand Rural Games.

Walker is a dairy farmer and is well-known for creating an online dairy education hub for new entrants into the industry.

Walker is MC-ed the Bill Tapley Memorial Cow Pat Throw at the games in Palmerston North.

He planned to come back to the competition this year as an underdog after getting third place last year with a distance of 36.3m, but at the last minute decided MC-ing the event was a better choice.

“I have really been throwing shit since I was six. We used to walk around and throw rocks at street signs, and later in life would walk back from the watering hole to do the same. When there weren’t any rocks we used cow dung or horse manure,” Walker said.

A cow pat could be hard or soft, depending on how fresh you got it, he said.

Ethan Compton, 10, releases a cow pat.
Warwick Smith/Stuff
Ethan Compton, 10, releases a cow pat.

Walker said he wanted to promote the event to show what fun things can be done in rural towns, especially in a time when farmers had it tough.

This year’s winner was Ashley McGrechan, with a 27m throw.

Last year’s distances were much better. Riki Paewai managed to hurl a cow patty 42.22m and take first place, with second going to Luke Wainui a 40.12m throw.

Spokesperson for the games Daniel O’Regan said Federated Farmers collected cow pats from Manawatu dairy farmers.

The event drew a couple of hundred competitors, depending on weather, he said.

“Events like the Cowpat Throw help put a smile on your face and we could all do with a bit of that,” he said

Tangaroa Walker racing to stack hay bales at the Rural Games in Palmerston North in 2021.
David Unwin/Stuff
Tangaroa Walker racing to stack hay bales at the Rural Games in Palmerston North in 2021.

The event is now held in Palmerston North but started eight years ago in Queenstown.

This year competitors could also shovel coal, speed fence, do a bit of gumboot throwing or take part in sheepdog trials and timbersports.

The idea of throwing a cow pat competitively came from the 1970s, attributed to rural lads who wanted to break a Guinness Book of World Records throw.

Sources vary on the record but Google puts it somewhere between 80m and 90m

Guinness sent the lads a letter on how to break the record and a Queenstown tourism operator, the late Bill Tapley, of Cattledrome, an Arthurs Point cattle and sheep tourist attraction, decided to get his hands dirty.

Cow pats were collected from local farms.
Warwick Smith/Stuff
Cow pats were collected from local farms.

Tapley was confident heavy frosts would do the trick, preparing the fresh pooey pats for throwing, but was quoted in a local newspaper saying, if all else failed, he intended to deep freeze a few.

Tapley was now honoured even though his record attempt failed.

“People couldn’t believe it – locals would come out in their lunch break, mould a big hunk of cow dung in their hands then throw it, and wash their hands in a bucket and go eat a sandwich,” a local musician Peter Doyle said.


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