Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, June 22, 2024

A brief history of Bucky

The following is a brief history of Bucky Badger. For those of you looking for a more comprehensive history on Bucky, a complete narrative will be available early next month across the country at Barnes and Noble. Just look for it next to the books entitled 'Why you should not believe everything you read,' and 'Just because a nickel is bigger than a dime does not make it worth more money.' 












Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Daily Cardinal delivered to your inbox

The Wisconsin football media guide traces Bucky's current design back to 1940, when he was drawn by artist Art Evans. Back then, however, the mascot went by the names of Benny, Buddy, Bernie, Bobby and Bouncy. In an unconfirmed report, the mascot may have also gone by the name Bobo in the early 1940s. 




It was not until 1949 when, through a campus contest, UW's mascot became known by the name Buckingham U. Badger, or Bucky. 












Before Bucky took to costume form he was a lovable real-life badger. Well, a lovable real-life badger with a penchant for escaping his handlers and biting people. With the evident dangers of having a live badger on the sidelines, a raccoon that was said to be a 'badger in a raccoon coat' roamed the sidelines for a short period of time. Unfortunately, this logic also led to a badger in a giraffe coat as well as the unforgettable badger in a sea lion coat. 












Bucky has long been known for his sideline antics, from doing push-ups after UW scoring drives to running opposing team's mascots into the field goal post to dressing up in a bevy of decadent outfits. Who can forget 'Hunter Bucky,' 'Mardi Gras Bucky' or the awe-inspiring 'Sweetest Day Bucky'? 




Despite this good-natured fun, a 1999 contest versus Michigan State produced an outcome Bucky will not soon forget. On this day, Bucky decided to steal the Spartan flag, carry it down to the student end of the stadium and wave it around. This seemed to upset one of the Michigan State male cheerleaders, however, if it is safe to say by 'upset' you mean mad enough to beat up a young man in a badger costume. 




From here, the story becomes reminiscent of any melee involving a flag, a mascot and a man wearing tight green pants with a matching top. Simply put, Bucky took one for the team. The male cheerleader was soon separated from Bucky under the escort of the Madison Police Department. Needless to say, if one was looking for an example of disorderly conduct, you now have an excellent illustration. 












In 1997 against Minnesota, Bucky did more than celebrate a UW victory'he also went to jail. After being body passed up to row 48, police officers took Bucky out of the stands and into a police booth at the stadium.  




While in custody, James Keefe, the man wearing the Bucky costume, was asked for his last name, which he promptly informed the officers was 'Badger. That's B-A-D-G-E-R.' When asked for his first name, Keefe was overheard saying, 'My bologna has a first name, it's O-S-C-A-R,' clearly being confused by the catchy lyrics of the Oscar Mayer jingle. 




The good news for Keefe and Bucky fans across the nation was that his $141 fine for body passing was waived after he completed a few hours of community service.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Daily Cardinal has been covering the University and Madison community since 1892. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Daily Cardinal