A cow chip is just what you think it is and 175 of the finest are now drying in preparation for the Inaugural Missouri State Championship Cow Chip Throwing Contest to be held Sept. 4 during Family Night at the 81st Annual Grape and Fall Festival in St. James.

Chip Master and event organizer Jim Fleming said each manure patty was hand-selected for the toss.

"Each chip has to be a minimum of 6-inches in diameter," Fleming said.

The event is much like the Olympic discus throw, with dried cow patties substituting for disc. Entrants will have a chance to toss hand-selected chips twice, with each throw made bare-handed.

"Competitors are not allowed to wear gloves," Fleming said. "The piece that goes the farthest will be the winner."

Fleming said contestants can't alter the chip but they are welcome to use whatever means necessary to gain a competitive advantage.

"Just like in baseball, if you want to lick your fingers between tosses to get a better grip, the rules committee will allow it," Fleming said.

Fleming said some chips would be set aside especially for politicians to toss.

"We tried our best to determine, however we can't guarantee that those chips are from the male bovine," Fleming said.

Overall winner of the competition will be eligible to compete at the national cow chip toss championships held in Beaver, Oklahoma next spring. Categories include: Men, ladies and children younger than 12. The cost of entry is $5 for adults and $3 for children.

Awards will be presented for each category, with the overall longest throw declared the state champion.

Sign-in for the competition will begin at 5 p.m., with the event beginning promptly at 6 p.m.