“Throw it as hard as you can,” Buffalo Chip Flip brings out competitive nature among park attendees


Buffalo Chips Gathered By Custer State Psrk NaturalistsCUSTER, S.D.– It happens. And of course, with more than 1,000

bison roaming Custer State Park, there is definitely a need to watch where you step when out exploring.

However, on Sunday, it happened on the lawn in front of the Peter Norbeck Outdoor Education Center.

Whether overhand, underhand, or discus-style, competitors were out giving it their all at the Annual Custer State Park Buffalo Chip Flip.

Just what is the Chip Flip, you might be asking? It’s a friendly competition among park-goers to see who can toss a buffalo chip the farthest. And while it definitely sounds odd, it remains a popular event at the park.

“We go collect buffalo chips from our bison herd here at the park,” Naturalist Olivia Parks said. “And we allow guests from across the state and across the world to come participate in the chip flip.”

The buffalo chips are definitely not fresh, to help maintain throwing capability. However, the park guarantees only organic, all natural products to make for fair competition.

Many factors also go into the selection process such as weight and size, which can add to the potentially cutthroat nature.

“A lot of people don’t realize that CHIP is an acronym for Competitive High-Intensity Projectile.”

And as families competed with or against each other for some of the prizes up for grabs, some have turned it into a family tradition.

Like that of Chip Flip record-holder Care Bear, who was out participating with her own family.

Her record stands at 167 feet. And despite undergoing a recent surgery, she still came out among the top finishers after launching a chip more than 90 feet. However, Sunday was more about the family element.

“It’s so much fun,” Care Bear said. “We have to work on their technique a little bit. My grandson, he’s only three and my granddaughter, she’s just six now so they have a life ahead of them of throwing those buffalo chips. And my daughter is not quite 30 yet. So I hope they continue on the tradition and make me proud.”

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