Aaron Thatcher, an actor who portrays University of Wisconsin mascot Bucky Badger has been struggling to separate his work and home life lately, according to his girlfriend.
In an exclusive interview with The Daily Cardinal, Thatcher’s girlfriend Alexis Martin divulged that he has now assumed the role of Bucky at all times.
“I don’t even recognize him anymore,” Martin, who lives with Thatcher, said. “I mean, he looks the same. But the way he behaves, I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Thatcher, an Edgewood College junior, originally volunteered to play Bucky so he could attend Badger football games, since only UW students are able to purchase student tickets. Thatcher is one of seven spirit squad members who act as the mascot.
“Like an actual Badger, Aaron no longer speaks,” Martin said. “And he only eats earthworms from the backyard.”
Martin said Thatcher’s transition has been so gradual that it took her a while to notice.
“I knew Aaron loved Bucky and he would practice at home in front of me all the time,” she said. “But two weeks ago when I told him I got an 88 on my poli sci exam and he just dropped down and started doing pushups, that’s when my worst suspicions were confirmed.”
Since the mascot costume itself belongs to the university’s athletic department, Thatcher is unable to bring it or any props home with him. But that doesn’t stop him from acting as if he’s performing to a sold-out Camp Randall stadium in street clothes, says Martin.
Psychology department chair Hill Goldsmith attributed the never-before-seen condition to an infective case of school spirit.
“Aaron’s always been a total pro, a natural.” fellow Bucky portrayer Matt Schoepp said. “No one does Bucky as well as him. He gets all of the intricate mannerisms spot on.”
According to an independent study conducted by The Daily Cardinal’s investigative unit, Thatcher is the only member of the Bucky troupe who behaves like the mascot outside of practice or university-sanctioned performance.
Hearing this was a first time revelation for longtime marching band director Michael Leckrone.
“I’ve never heard of that happening to any of our other Buckys, not in almost 50 years,” Leckrone said. “But you should see the way [Thatcher] gets the students at the hockey games to do the time warp. It’s unbelievable.”
When asked about intimate relations, Martin said that her once vibrant sex life with Thatcher is now nonexistent.