Rolling with the Badgers

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On New Year’s Eve 2011, Jamie Benn x’13 (left) and Rebecca Nau were jumping for joy at the Badgers’ trip to the Rose Bowl. They made this leap near the Santa Monica (California) Pier during a UW pep rally. Photo: Jeff Miller.

WAA tours helped alumni and fans follow the UW to Indianapolis and Pasadena.

The Badger football season might not have achieved every element of a happy ending in 2011–12, but fans turned out in the thousands to share the ride, particularly as the season approached its culmination in the inaugural Big Ten Championship and then in the Rose Bowl. WAA helped those Badger fans cheer their team on, organizing tours to the two big games, in spite of short notice.

The UW wasn’t guaranteed a spot in the Big Ten Championship, held in Indianapolis on December 3, 2011, until its victory over Penn State on November 26.

Though it had just a week to prepare, WAA organized a three-day bus trip from Madison to Indianapolis. Some 285 alumni and friends joined all or part of the tour.

After the Badgers rallied for a late victory over Michigan State to win the conference title, they earned a spot in the Rose Bowl, played on January 2, 2012. WAA chartered four jets to fly UW fans out to Pasadena, and more than 1,300 alumni and friends took advantage of the WAA tour.

“It’s always terrific to travel with Badgers,” says WAA president and CEO Paula Bonner MS’78. “No matter the outcome of the game, our alumni are excited, friendly, and supportive. I heard nothing but compliments about our fans from people in Pasadena and from folks from the University of Oregon.” (For more on traveling Badger fans, see Inside Story on page 5.)

The Rose Bowl ended in a 45-38 loss to the Oregon Ducks.

The two post-season tours meant that WAA Travel led five football trips in the 2011 season. There were bus trips to the Minnesota and Michigan State games, as well as one to Chicago to see the Badgers play Northern Illinois at Soldier Field.

For more on WAA travel, visit WAA Athletics or uwalumni.com/travel.

Published in the Spring 2012 issue

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