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Bedford high school marks 30th anniversary of infamous escape with the return of cow patty bingo


In 1994, a rogue cow was the talk of the town in Bedford, N.S. Now, 30 years later, Charles P. Allen High School (CPA) is marking the infamous anniversary with the return of cow patty bingo.

At the time, cow patty bingo was an annual fundraiser for some schools in the Halifax area. The game goes like this: the school field is marked with squares that are then numbered and sold. If the cow does its business on your square, you are the lucky winner.

A cow is led onto the field at Charles P. Allen High School on May 22, 2024.

When the cow was brought onto the field by a CPA student in 1994 it broke free.

“I was holding onto the cow when it came out and it got nervous and, when it got nervous because of all the people, it shook and its harness broke. He took off towards the woods,” said the student at the time.

The school was located on Rocky Lake Drive in Bedford. Students and police chased the cow through the neighbourhood, drawing the attention of homeowners and even the local media.

The cow was eventually tranquilized and returned to its owner.

Now, CPA students are bringing back cow patty bingo to raise money for their carnival.

“Carnival is a long-running tradition here at CPA,” says Grade 10 rep Marc Johnson.

“We even got bouncy castles. We have three, we’ve got one in the cafeteria, some in the gym, it’s going to be great. The whole school is like one big carnival.”

A cow is pictured on the field at Charles P. Allen High School on May 22, 2024.

Johnson says the event is more than just a fundraiser, it’s also a chance to improve school spirit.

“The cow got away (in 1994) and now we brought it back to kind of finish some unfinished business here at CPA,” he says.

A cow is led onto the field at Charles P. Allen High School on May 22, 2024.

The students sold almost all of their 650 cow squares.

“They were pretty much all bought by students, staff, the admin team, everyone wanted a little dibs on this to win the $400 grand prize,” says Johnson.

“Usually cows poo a couple of times an hour but, because there were a lot of people here, students were inside watching to keep quiet for the cow so we didn’t disturb it or scare it too much.”

After a three-hour wait, the cow finally chose its special spot and declared a winner.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Paul DeWitt.

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