From fields of corn to the hustle and bustle of the big city, Wisconsin sophomore center Tyler Biadasz has made the transition from Amherst, a rural town with a population of just 1,035, according the 2010 census, to Madison. But his hometown roots are integral part of him as both a person and football player.
Just next door to his home in Amherst, Biadasz’s grandfather owns and operates a family-run farm — Biadasz’s dad, two uncles, aunt and cousins have all worked there at some point in their lives. The Biadasz farm has roughly 1,000 acres of crops and between 850 and 900 head of cattle.
Although he didn’t live on the farm, Biadasz was there plenty — enough to know everything they did, why they did it and how they did it — and did his fair share of work, following his grandfather’s example.
“My grandpa showed me how to milk cows, feed calves, stack hay bales and clean up the barn,” Biadasz said. “It’s always a mess but you develop good memories and good work ethic.”
Biadasz never loved farming but always valued the time he got to spend with his family. With his family usually working 12-hour days, Biadasz didn’t always get an opportunity to spend a lot of time with his dad or his uncles. Being on the farm, however, gave him a chance to share valuable experiences with them.
“Spending time with my uncle [on the farm] — that was the most relationship I [got to] have when I was younger,” Biadasz said. “I was able to develop more of a relationship with them and learn how they do what they do.”
Ask Biadasz about the farm and he’ll make sure you know how hard his family works. From having such a close look at his family’s daily schedule, Biadasz has gained a deep appreciation for the back-breaking work that his family endures on a daily basis.
“It’s really cool how much they do for what they get out of it. It’s a really hard job and I think they should get more credit than they deserve, because it’s a ton of stress on your body,” Biadasz said. “I take good pride in always supporting them and what they do.”
Biadasz said he didn’t get to see his dad a lot when he was very young, but he always recognized his father’s sacrifices for him. On occasions when they were together, Biadasz would sometimes joke with his dad about how he could sit in a tractor all day; his dad’s answer was simple: “I love it,” Biadasz recalled.
Biadasz credits much of the work ethic that has helped him become a freshman All-American and third team All-Big Ten to the lifestyle and work he experienced living next to his grandfather’s farm. When he gets tired or is put into a tough situation, he reflects back to the farm and quickly realizes he doesn’t have it so bad.
“You have a hard day here, then you think about home — ‘Wow, they’re not even done, they’re not even halfway done,’” Biadasz said. “You have a two-hour practice, you’re busting your butt the whole time and I think I have that mentality that this might suck, but they’re doing it all day.”
The transition from alfalfa fields to city streets is certainly ongoing for Biadasz, and there are still many elements of Amherst he misses when in Madison. In particular, Biadasz misses the privacy of his hometown. He pointed out the myriad of tightly packed houses and abundance of cars and people on the street. At home, Biadasz joked that he could go outside and scream on the top of his lungs and nobody would hear.
In Madison, Biadasz says, it’s never quiet.
“Coming from where I’m from, the peace and quiet is not here,” Biadasz said. “I hear people yelling every night and I’m not used to that still. There’s no sitting out on your deck and chilling or anything like that.”
Even though life as a student-athlete forces Biadasz to spend less time at home, the farm mentality is still ingrained in his DNA. Biadasz keeps the lessons he’s learned with him every day and uses the skills he learned on the farm in almost all aspects of his life. From his grandpa to his dad, to his uncles to him and his brother, Biadasz hopes to continue his family’s legacy, whether on a tractor or on the football field.
“I got some great knowledge and experience out of it,” Biadasz said. “I hope we’ll pass it down and share our stories.”