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Inside the Suit: Life as Wisconsin's Mascot

OMAHA, NE - MARCH 20:  Bucky the Badger, mascot for the Wisconsin Badgers performs against the Cal State Fullerton Titans during the Midwest Region first round of the 2008 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament on March 20, 2008 at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Wisconsin won 71-56. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Sam OlesonCorrespondent IDecember 27, 2016

With a red-and-white striped sweater, Adidas tennis shoes, and that big smile, Bucky Badger is one of the most recognized college mascots in the country.

Bucky makes appearances at every University of Wisconsin athletic event, including football games, and also hundreds of other events around the state.

Heck, a documentary, Being Bucky, was made about good ol' Buckingham.

But luckily, one of the seven students who portrays Bucky was able to make time out of his busy schedule to talk about what it's like being the face of the University of Wisconsin.

This student wanted to remain anonymous to protect the mystique of Bucky Badger, but still gave some revealing answers about his experiences as a mascot.

Why did you decide to try out for Bucky?

"When I first came to school for a tour, that was one of their [UW's] selling points. I looked at my parents and they were like 'Holy crap, that's totally you!' My whole life I've just been a crazy idiot so what better place to be a crazy idiot? Early on in my freshman year, I met one of the Buckys and it kind of just went from there."

When you're under that big, furry suit, how do you stay cool?

"You don't. No matter how hard you try, even if you're in the suit outside and it's 20 degrees out, you still sweat profusely. When I did my football game [against Wofford in mid-September], I went inside after I got out of the suit in the second quarter, I laid flat on my back on the ground for ten minutes and my heart rate was still 180. So it's pretty much impossible to stay cool."

What's been the weirdest thing that's happened to you as Bucky?

"Some people are just idiots when it comes to mascots. I don't know what people are thinking handing their infant to a mascot that can't see and is wearing gloves. I've had to hold infant babies which is just extremely terrifying because you do not want to drop this kid. Some fully grown people are terrified of Bucky. That's pretty weird too."

What's the coolest thing about being Bucky?

"The thing I love about being Bucky is when you're at an event and you see little kids and they're just absolutely crapping their pants to see Bucky and their eyes light up. When kids just start giggling uncontrollably, it's pretty cool."

What about bathroom breaks in the suit?

"Suck it up. We're never really in the suit for more than an hour or two though, so usually bathroom breaks aren't really an issue."

What is your favorite college mascot other than Bucky?

"Sparty [Michigan State] has a pretty cool costume."

Are their any other mascots that you would like to fight in a playful mascot battle?

"I think a throwdown between Bucky and Herky the Hawkeye [Iowa] or Chip [Colorado.] Man, when mascots fight, it's pretty hilarious."

 

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