Things to Do

There’s Some Serious ‘Fowl Play’ at This Austin Bingo

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Every Sunday afternoon at The Little Longhorn Saloon in Austin, crowds line up to drink beer, listen to live music and play a quintessential brand of Texas bingo: Chicken $h*t Bingo. For over 40 years, this tiny dive bar has hosted some of Austin’s best live music, featuring honky-tonk country, folk, rockabilly, and good ol’ rock and roll. The Little Longhorn Saloon occupies a building that is 101 years old. It has served as a restaurant, gas station, and bar over its long history. Ginny Kalmbach was the owner of the bar for over 30 years and retired November 2013.

A 25-Year Tradition

Bingo

Photo: Facebook/Chicken Shit Bingo

Chicken $h*t Bingo started when a local musician approached the bar’s previous owners, Don and Ginny, with an idea he brought back from California. There, he had seen cow poop bingo, but he suggested using chickens instead. Ginny’s famous response was: “It’s never gonna last.” Today, the 25-year tradition would suggest otherwise.

The low-tech concept of Chicken $h*t Bingo is ridiculously simple: Put a live chicken in a cage atop a piece of plywood marked with a grid. Sell tickets for each of the 54 squares, then let the chicken strut around the cage. When the bird relieves itself, you’ve got a winner. The winner typically takes home $200 and the bragging rights to having predicted where a chicken relieves him or herself.

Feathers Ruffled at The Little Longhorn Saloon

Little Longhorn Saloon
Photo: Facebook/Chicken Shit Bingo

Recently, feathers became ruffled when country singer Dale Watson, who is the reported mastermind behind Austin’s “fowl play” Bingo, started his own rendition of the poultry-focused game at C-Boy’s Heart & Soul, aided with the bar’s original owner Ginny Kalmbach. The current owner of The Little Longhorn Saloon, Terry Gaona isn’t happy about this.

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