History of Bucky Badger / Buckingham U. Badger
In the 1890s, the University of Wisconsin-Madison football team began using an unnamed live badger as a mascot. The animal, however, was not too nice to students, escaped its cage on numerous occasions, and had to be retired to the Madison Zoo.
A new mascot was then drawn in 1940 by artist Art Evans. In 1946, Art Lentz, head of Sports News Service, decided that the drawing, which depicted the badger off his forelegs and up and running, to be a graphic means of stimulating interest in the football team.
The mascot originally went by names such as Benny, Buddy, Bernie, Bobby, and Bouncey. In 1949, the Pep Committee held a contest to name the badger, and Buckingham U. Badger, or Bucky, won. Bill Sachse was the student with the winning name. The name apparently came from lyrics in a song that encouraged the football team to "buck right through that line." Also, in 1949, the first papier-mache Bucky head was constructed and worn at that year's Homecoming Game, thus starting the tradition of the mascot cheering at UW sporting events.
Bucky's birthday is October 2, 1940, as recognized by the Washington D.C. Library of Congress (when its copyright was earned).
Approximately 7 students are needed to meet the requests for Bucky appearances, from sport events to community service to weddings. Tryouts are held to select these students.
There has been talk about creating a female partner for Bucky (such as Betty or Becky), but this has never gone past the experimental stages.