Paton bets on a calf named Bingo

PATON – A calf named Bingo had a starring role in this year’s Paton Fun Day.

A small crowd gathered around him while he wandered around in his temporary pen. Then he found a fallen tree branch and began munching on its leaves.

Unfortunately, what he was there to do involved what would eventually become of those leaves; while he was busy with the leaves that didn’t happen.

Jimmy Doran, of Paton, was one of those waiting on Bingo to do a No. 2 on – perhaps No. 2.

“I got one ticket for myself,” Doran said, “one for each of my two daughters.”

He was pretty sure there was nothing he could do to influence the outcome.

“It’s just luck.”

Tom Taylor, also of Paton, didn’t buy a ticket.

He was going to watch – and wait – anyway.

“As long as it’s not three hours from now,” he said.

Dick Teeters, of Boxholm, was watching with a group of friends who were also holding tickets.

“He’s not around my spot,” Teeters said.

He had an idea for encouraging Bingo. It involved a stick and a carrot.

One obvious question: Did he ever imagine he would be spending part of a sunny afternoon waiting for a calf to – well – do its business.

“No, not really,” Teeters said.

Reilly Niles, of Paton, is a member of the Paton-Churdan class of 2016. Cow Pie Bingo is a fundraiser for the class. Niles, who shares life on the farm with Bingo, said that nothing was done to Bingo to encourage, discourage or otherwise manipulate the process.

“You just have to watch,” she explained.

Still, there is a time limit: Two hours.

What if Bingo hits a line?

An undecided issue.

Of course, Cow Pie Bingo was not the only event in Paton Saturday.

Nearby, dozens of people participated in the sand volleyball tournament. Thanks to the efforts of Paton firefighter Mitchel Tourte, they kept their feet from cooking as the sun baked the sand by spraying it with water from a fire truck.

“It helps cool down their feet,” Tourte said.

He was enjoying the day.

“It’s fun to get people together,” he said, “It’s what small town Iowa is all about.”

Doran, aside from betting on Bingo, tried a new sport. He had signed up for the bocce ball tournament.

“They put in a nice court,” Doran said, “It seemed like something to try.”

His daughter, Megan Doran, had also played the game, but she seemed more at home in the petting zoo.

“I fed a baby goat,” she said.