Rumpled Capitol badger not the real Bucky

Sept. 12, 2013

by Chris Barncard

Wisconsin's newest invasive species is an imposter in Bucky's clothing.

From a distance, recent visitors to Wisconsin's State Capitol might think they've caught a glimpse of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's beloved mascot, Bucky Badger.

Examine the interloper with a Badgers fan's eye, however, and its puffy features, odd coloring and sloppy sweater make for a more disappointing sight: a knockoff, one that may have wandered far from its home range to America's Dairyland.

Photo: Bucky Badger dancing

The real Bucky Badger parties at the 2011 Rose Bowl.

Photo:

Badgers similar to the one turning up at the Capitol around lunchtime have been spotted for sale online, and today UW-Madison has begun efforts to end sales by the unauthorized provider of these misplaced badgers.

They may indeed be ill suited for life in Wisconsin — at least, compared to the genuine article. The official Bucky Badger source, a Milwaukee mascot maker, is within the American badger's natural range, ensuring Bucky is acclimated to Wisconsin's climate, hearty diet and the roar of 80,000 fans in Camp Randall Stadium.

The real Buckingham U. Badger earned his place as a charter inductee in the Mascot Hall of Fame by sharing his enthusiasm for UW-Madison with as many people as possible.

The team of undergraduate students who are carefully trained to represent Bucky in costume appear at hundreds of events each year with only good will and UW-Madison spirit in mind. Bucky does not take sides on political issues.

UW-Madison is protective of its favorite badger's public life. Bucky prefers to serve as a rallying figure for all Wisconsinites, and — while it does get warm under all that fur — he'd hate to see anyone wrinkle their nose when he leans in for a hug, a photo or a high five.

Wisconsinites, know your badger. If you find yourself standing next to a fake Bucky, know that it is not a representative of UW-Madison. Please do not treat it as you would the Buckingham you know and love.