Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The art of Wisconsin’s Bucky Badger June 12, 2018

Bright Idea Bucky by artist Kathryn Schnabel and located outside Central Library in downtown Madison, Wisconsin.


I’M NO SPORTS FAN. Nothing wrong with that. Sports don’t interest me. Art does.



So even I can appreciate Bucky on Parade, a public art endeavor in the city of Madison and in Dane County, Wisconsin, that simultaneously promotes athletics and art.


Visitors written ideas and inspirations are incorporated into the fabric of the Bright Idea Bucky.


The Madison Area Sports Commission produced the event with support from local tourism and the University of Wisconsin—Madison. UW is home to the Buckingham U. “Bucky” Badger mascot, star of Bucky on Parade.


Butterflies cover this statue created by Lon Michels and titled Enlightened Bucky. It’s located at 100 W. Mifflin Street.


I photographed three of the 85 Bucky Badger works of art during a recent visit to Wisconsin’s capital city. I wasn’t purposely looking for Bucky, thus only the trio. The personalized fiberglass statues of 64 local and regional artists are on display until September 12.


“Grow” by Emmalee Pearson and outside the Olbrich Botanical Gardens entry.


On September 29, the statues will be auctioned at a Bucky on Parade Finale Party with proceeds benefiting Garding Against Cancer, the Madison Area Sports Commission and other community charities.



Wisconsin’s Bucky Badger, like Minnesota’s Goldy Gopher, is a big deal to fans, and the economy. I didn’t have to look beyond downtown Madison to find Bucky merchandise…



and, uh, Badger Liquor.

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


18 Responses to “The art of Wisconsin’s Bucky Badger”

  1. parkerozgood Says:

    I love the art Badgers!

  2. Brenda R Says:

    I enjoy seeing everyone’s ideas put on the same form- just like the Mauston cows! Have you ever checked out the Mankato Walking Sculpture Tour? I have never done the whole walk – but have seen many just driving in Mankato. Amazing and unique creative ideas and works!!

  3. Murphy's Law Says:

    Like you, I’m not a sports fan. But Bucky Badger is a neat idea. I especially like the one entitled ‘Grow’. And how nice is it that all these sculptures get auctioned off to benefit the fight against cancer.

    Badger Liquors….too funny! And you can also get your ice cubes there!
    🔹 Ginger 🔹

  4. Love art installations like this – the creativity is amazing! Thanks so much for sharing. Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

  5. valeriebollinger Says:

    What fun…reminds me of the cows in Mauston…and the shoes in Red Wing…

  6. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    Bucky is really cute! That would make a fun treasure hunt to find all of them! Did you notice that the clouds reflected in the window on the last picture look like a giant hand shake?

  7. Jackie Says:

    That’s a neat idea to auction off the Bucky’s, I’m just thinking who would want this large figures, and what would they do with them ? I’m guess some pretty die-hard fans will bid on them and perhaps display them in their yards….maybe?

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