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Buckys on Parade



The definition of a badger is a hairy, gray, nocturnal carnivorous mammal of Europe, Asia,  and North America. It’s cousins are weasels, however, note that a badger is bigger and chunkier. The verb is to tease, nag, or bait; and the white spot on the badger’s head is distinctive. The badger is also the mascot of the University of Wisconsin  since before 1949. The live badger morphed into a character when a UW art student created a paper mache head of this animal. With others who dressed the part of a badger mascot, the paper mache head became symbolic for the spirit of the UW at games and academic competitions.

Graduate Bucky with mascot Bucky and student, top of Bascom Hill, University of Wisconsin
Leckrone’s Stop at the Top
Bucky come se Picasso

The unveiling of the Buckys around Madison, Wisconsin and Dane County took place May 7th, 2018. The Bucky Parade follows in the tradition of the cow parades in cities world-wide since the first cow parade took place in Zurich, Switzerland twenty years ago. The artistic director of Zurich Walter Knapp became inspired by a previous public display of lion statues. The lion is a symbol for the city of Zurich. Walter Knapp called this first cow parade “Land in Sicht”, translated “Countryside in View”.


The concept of cows on parade migrated to Chicago when a business man Peter Hanig coined the phrase “Cows on Parade” in 1999. The idea of using a parade of painted fiberglass animals for a philanthropic fundraising purpose caught on.  In Glendale, Ohio for example, large fiberglass black squirrels were also on parade, while many other cities did the same with frogs, pigs, and guitars!


For Madison, Wisconsin, the most recent and first cow parade here was twelve years ago. American Family Children’s Hospital and Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board sponsered the parade of 101 cows.  Best Western InnTowner and the Highland Club became the official “moootel” for visiting parade goers. This May, the Bucky parade comprises eighty four Buckys compared to the 101 cows of the cow parade twelve years ago. Sixty four artists spent 129 days(4.3 months) designing, painting, and finishing their Buckys with a protective coat of lacquer. This public event is free and started May 7th to continue through September 12th,2018.


The Madison Area Sports Commission , the Greater Madison Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Best Western Inn Towner are some of the sponsors of this event while Channel 15 Madison is the media sponsor. The proceeds of a later auction of thirty Buckys will go to Garding Against Cancer, a new initiative in 2017 of coaches Greg and Michelle for advanced research in the cure for cancer.

Visible Bucky, in front of UW Science Hall, artist:Philip Salamone
Visible Bucky, 6’6″ fiberglass painted with acrylic paint, coated with lacquer, back side painted by art assistant Sarah Cerg


For more photos and updates on the Bucky Parade throughout the summer see: https://buckyonparad