Patience pays in barnyard bingo

June 27, 1993|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

A cow dumped $1,000 into Elaine Wisner's wallet yesterday.

The winner in the game of barnyard bingo had purchased several tickets in the second annual Lineboro Fire Department fund-raiser. She kept her fingers crossed and hoped "Jessie," an pound Holstein, would answer nature's call in one of her 3-foot squares.

Unlike the other hundred spectators, Ms. Wisner didn't stoop to raucous cajoling, cattle calling, cheering and mooing. She waited patiently on the sidelines.

"This is udderly ridiculous," said Jim Buckley, announcer. "But the weirder something is, the more people go along with it."

About 800 people bet $5 on which square Jessie would ultimately choose.

"Not a bad prize for a $5 investment," said Agnes Mattheu of Glen Rock, Pa., whose neighbor was last year's lucky winner. "You have to depend on the whims of a cow."

After more than two hours of watching the cow amble around the pasture, spectators wondered if Jessie would ever deliver.

Connie, last year's cow contestant, accomplished the assigned task in less than two minutes. Jessie prolonged the suspense for two hours and 25 minutes longer.

Stage fright?

"It's because she is a Pennsylvania cow," said Larry Ogletree of Hampstead, owner of four squares.

He thought a strategically placed milking stool might help inspire Jessie.

The heifer meandered around the fenced-in field where volunteers had marked 800 squares with bright orange paint.

Squares had been assigned to contestants in a random drawing, mapped out on a bulletin board. Many called out coordinates to the befuddled bovine, who remained oblivious to both pleas and threats.

"Go on my square, Jessie, or you'll be on my grill next year," shouted Wayne Short from the barbecue pits where he cooked lunch.

"Use my spot and I'll kiss you," said Randy Fuhrman.

One man wore a bright orange shirt and waved his white straw hat from the far end of the field.

"I was hoping the outfit would help," said Jim Murray, calling in his lowest voice,"Moooo, cow, moooo."

The calls fell on deaf ears. Jessie swished her tail and passed him by with a haughty look from her big brown eyes.

"Don't move, just poop right there," yelled Lynne Warner as the cow planted its hind legs in her square. No luck for Ms. Warner either, as Jessie left another spot empty.

Hoping Jessie would dine and then drop, many participants had placed feed corn in squares a cow's length from theirs.

Mr. Fuhrman cried foul as Jessie chewed corn in his square with her hind legs three squares away.

Even a blasting fire call couldn't get Jessie moving.

"Maybe she is just shy," said Jessie's owner, Dana Doll.

Spectators drifted away and gave the cow quiet and privacy. Jessie took one more turn around the fence and headed for center field, where, finally, she chose Ms. Wisner's spot.

The Glenville, Pa., resident, who plans to save her winnings, hails from the same town as Jessie and the rest of the herd.

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