The Phoenix

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Science of Cow Tipping

It's a long-standing belief that if you sneak up on a cow while they're sleeping and push their big bodies on one side really hard, a cow will literally tip over. This is the drunken redneck game called "Cow Tipping." I have never seen anyone try it, but I've heard stories. Many guys have told me that they successfully tipped a cow by themselves. I'm a skeptic, and I've always had my doubts. These stories of such amazing achievement have always had one constant: the cow tipper in question is always drunk.

Is it really possible to push a 1400 pound cow over? If so, why the hell would anyone want to do such a thing?

Dr. Margo Lillie, zoologist for the University of British Columbia, and her student, Tracy Boechler, have decided to use real facts and good math to see if cow tipping is indeed possible.

Here are all the variables:

The Redneck: Take a 6 foot man, with the average horizontal push force of 656 newtons of force. He must be stealthy, and swift. I find this impossible, as the rednecks that partake in this activity are usually wasted.

The Cow: Average weight of a cow, 1400 pounds. Here's another misconception - cows don't sleep standing up, like horses do. If they're standing up, they're usually just taking a power nap. If the drunk redneck were to accidentally attempt to tip a bull...all hell would break loose and THAT would be fun to watch.

According to Dr. Lillie, to tip a cow that's 24.3 degrees relative to the ground, it would take 2910 newtons of force. That's too much force for one person, very possible with 4.3 people. Other calculations showed that's perhaps two strong people could do it, on a small cow, but only if the cow remained absolutely still and the drunk athletes exerted amazing force simultaneously. They did not allow for moonshine to enter their equation.

So for those rednecks and other morons out there wanting to try cow tipping, solid physics and math shows that while it's possible to do will take a clear mind, a sharp push, and the ability to sneak up on a dozing cow. All these factors make it extremely tough to do. I highly recommend discontinuing the cow tipping efforts and focus on another more accessible sport.

Try Cow Chip Tossing. I hear it's all the rage in Oklahoma. The record, by the way, is held by Leland Searcy who chucked a chip 182 feet, 3 inches in 1979. Now that is talent.


Blogger ObilonKenobi said...

Ohhh. I'm the first commentor. Figures it's cow tipping. By golly Phoenix where the heck do you get your info from? It's amazing that there was someone who decided that it was worth their time to calculate the force needed to tip a cow. Interesting. I guess since reading this post I will have to cross one more thing off my "To Do Before I Die List." Thanks a lot!

11/07/2005 8:39 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

The big question on my mind is what about horse tipping? I mean, we know they sleep standing up and they do have a much higher centre of gravity ... it should be easy!

11/08/2005 12:02 AM  
Blogger Meagan said...

Hey, I've gone cow-tipping before!! And I was not a "drunken redneck," I promise! :-)

In my small farming hometown, cow-tipping was definitely attempted by many young teens. And it CAN be done with about 5 kids to one cow.

Oh, and contrary to popular myth, it doesn't kill the cow. That would be terribly traumatic.

love meagan
p.s. I feel I have revealed too much here...

11/08/2005 12:23 AM  
Blogger whitesgem said...

Hey, when did you come through my town? That trailer toilet guy lives right up the street....
(Dont tell Jerry Falwell)

11/08/2005 4:06 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I've always wondered about that. I heard all the fuss when we were younger and always thought it was mean. Then rumor started that if a cow was tipped, it would die. So, I avoided the sport and took on drinking. You should be proud!

11/08/2005 7:48 AM  
Blogger NowhereGirl said...

ha ha ha

OMG, the pic of the pooping redneck is PRICELESS! Ha ha. Love it.

11/08/2005 7:50 AM  
Blogger Reiki said...

the only unrealistic thing about this post is the redneck on the toilet. There is no way he would be talking on a cordless phone...he would have a 70's green rotary dial phone in his 70's motif kitchen, ok?

11/08/2005 8:16 AM  
Blogger Kay said...

This post takes me back to my Oklahoma roots. Macho cow tipping tales are like fishing and tornado stories... it doesn't matter if they are true. It's how ripped you were at the time!

11/08/2005 8:39 AM  
Blogger KC said...

Actually, I don't think I know anyone who has ever attempted this. I do, however, know people who have been duped into snipe hunting. That's another silly red-neck sport. Please write about it for us!

11/08/2005 10:03 AM  
Blogger Em said...

awwwwwwwww it's so cruel, poor cows! I love cows, they are truly a superior species ;) the wouldn't go Human Tipping, they have better things to do (ie. frolic, prance, graze, kiss)

11/08/2005 10:14 AM  
Blogger Sherri said...

Gotta love those rednecks! :)

11/08/2005 11:07 AM  
Blogger FantasticAlice said...

Cow tipping is slowly becoming a lost art. I had a friend in High School who went cow tipping... needless to say, when the cow hit the bottom of the hill it was impaled on a fence post.

11/08/2005 12:30 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

Cow tipping is a pretty twisted and mean thing to do.
I imagine watching a drunken fool actually attempt it is where the true entertainment comes from.

Impaled cow? about cruel.

11/08/2005 12:32 PM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

As a sometimes drunken redneck myself, I prefer cowshit bingo. Everyone buys a square, they lead the cow in, and wherever square it shits in first wins the pot. It requires no strenuous activity, no break in the drinking action, and has a shot at pulling in some beer money.

11/08/2005 1:20 PM  
Blogger texasbunch said...

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11/08/2005 1:28 PM  
Anonymous delmer said...

Growing up we had ready access to cows and it was often suggested we go tip one.

It always seemed like a bad idea.

11/08/2005 5:01 PM  
Blogger Keshi said...

**If so, why the hell would anyone want to do such a thing?


I hate ppl who use animals to have fun...I guess cows have more brains than these human cows :)


11/08/2005 5:57 PM  
Blogger Grafs said...

Cow tipping is popular in my county, though I've never done it myself. The biggest danger was actually getting shot by the farmer!

11/08/2005 6:55 PM  
Blogger Pixie said...

I dont think cow tipping is big in the UK I have never heard of it.Why would someone want to do such a mean thing?

11/08/2005 7:28 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

I think people do it just for fun...and it's an urban (rural) legend sort of thing here in the Midwest.

Personally, it's pretty cruel to mess with animals that are sleeping. I think it would be funny to watch a pissed off bull chasing after a drunk would-be-cow-tipper, though.

11/08/2005 7:36 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

Ya have it bakwards boy,it's not the redneck whose drunk,it's the cow,that's how we'ss cn tip em over!

11/08/2005 8:21 PM  
Blogger CT said...

I know someone who tried it and got the shit beat out of him by a cow... LOL...

11/08/2005 8:25 PM  
Blogger Free at Last! said...

I was feeling a little blue,but reading your piece made me smile,but,I as a 270 6'2"man can exert over 3000 lbs of force at 8 m.p.h. so if I had a running start.....look out cow!

11/08/2005 8:40 PM  
Blogger Mojotek said...

Being from KY, I've heard plenty of stories about this... but never believed a damn word. Thanks for backing me up!

11/08/2005 8:59 PM  
Blogger Pixie said...

Its funnt, but the very day I read this, the movie Heathers was on that night and the two ( jock guys?) went cow tipping.
I agree phoenix, it does sound very cruel.

11/12/2005 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Okie Girl said...

I'm from oklahoma, and my family raises horses. They don't sleep standin up.

12/28/2006 12:27 PM  

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Established 2005...

Welcome to the blog that aims to examine the lighter side of science. From the paranormal to wacky inventions, to strange mysteries and goofy experiments, I cover it all. Thanks for stoping by science is always stranger than fiction


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