Badger Beauty

Becky Badger, courtesy UW-Madison Archives

Last fall, Buckingham U. Badger passed his sixtieth birthday — six full decades as the sole official mascot for the UW. That’s a long time to be alone. Why, we wondered, has Bucky never had any feminine companionship?

It turns out, we were wrong to assume he hadn’t. This photo, shot circa 1980, proves that there once was a female badger mascot running around Camp Randall Stadium. Who was this fetching creature in the miniskirt and hair bow?

Her name was Becky Badger, a legendary — some might say mythical — figure on campus. Some say she was Bucky’s girlfriend. Others claim she was his sister. Let’s hope they’re not both right.

One reason for the mystery surrounding Becky Badger’s origins is that she was never an official UW mascot. She was the creation of Madison’s Park Bank. Bob Gorsuch, former president of Park Bank, says that in the 1970s and 1980s, the firm gave away Becky dolls to patrons when they opened new accounts. It also dressed an employee (usually a student) as Becky and sent her out to football games to promote financial services.

Becky quickly caught on. Capital City Comics declared she was “the Campus Mascot for the Seventies” and sold T-shirts with her image. The Wisconsin Alumni Association and the National W Club included her at their official, annual tailgate party, called the Badger Blast, where she received billing right alongside Bucky.

But bank mascots don’t last forever, and Becky disappeared sometime in the 1980s. She’s not entirely gone, though. A mascot-supply company called Facemakers still sells this very costume, keeping alive the legacy — and mystery — of Madison’s Mascot for the Seventies.

Published in the Spring 2010 issue

Tags: Badger, Bucky, Campus history, Students

Comments

  • Ben Fischer September 30, 2011

    I think it would be cool to bring Becky Badger back, especially with all of the excitment surrounding the team this season.

    Would be super cool and this is coming for a dude!

  • Rhonda Koepke Erickson October 4, 2011

    I am a 1980’s graduate from UW Lacrosse. The first gift I got from my boyfriend (husband now) was a pair of Bucky Badger pins. Bucky was a lapel pin and Becky was a hat pin. I still have them. They are in mint condition. I always thought that Becky was Bucky’s girlfriend. Becky’s pose on the hat pin looks very suggestive!! Very cute!

  • Susan Murphy Lang April 27, 2012

    Back in 1978 I made a Becky Badger costume, completed with a “mascot-sized” head built on a football helmet. I went to football games and walked around Camp Randall interacting with the crowds. Shortly after the first couple of games, Park Bank ran an add in the local paper to have “Beck Badger” contact them. I did so and appeared at several events for them. The first in my Becky Badger costume and then in theirs (the one pictured above). Wish I had a photo to add, but can’t find one. But I was the “unofficial” Becky Badger who appeared at football games in the lates 70s. Brings back fond memories.

  • liz April 17, 2014

    always thought becky badger was neat have one or two pins think the uw should bring her back for the womens sporting events for the uw along with bucky it be good to show both young and old that both men and women play important roles not just the men here otherwise

  • Sandie Kisting September 16, 2014

    I love #Becky Badger ..she should be the mascot for UW Women’s athletics

  • Sandie Kisting September 16, 2014

    I love Becky Badger Let’s bring her back for women’s athletics.

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