Bucky Badger worth a million

Proceeds from a public auction of more than 30 Bucky on Parade statues will go toward local charities.

From the pages of In Business magazine.

Bucky on Parade, the public art phenomenon that had 85 Bucky Badger statues putting smiles on tens of thousands of faces throughout Greater Madison, raised $1 million for charity, thanks to the support and passion of people from Dane County and beyond.

“We talked about the idea of Bucky on Parade for over 10 years,” notes Kate Dale, director of marketing for the Madison Area Sports Commission (MASC). “After the success of the Cow Parade in 2006 and in seeing how Iowa City executed Herky on Parade in 2004 and 2014, we knew Bucky on Parade would be a perfect fit for Madison. While we knew it’d be popular, the local phenomenon that it became way exceeded our expectations for the project.”

The four-month long parade featured a collection of 85 Bucky statues decorated by local artists that were on display throughout Greater Madison, including Fitchburg, Verona, Middleton, Monona, Sun Prairie, and the University of Wisconsin campus. It culminated in a finale party event Sept. 29 at the Kohl Center, during which more than 30 of the statues were auctioned off. MASC produced Bucky on Parade with support from the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau, and in cooperation with UW–Madison, UW Athletics, and the Wisconsin Foundation & Alumni Association. The majority of funds raised by the parade came from statue sponsors and the public auction.

Proceeds from the public art project will benefit Garding Against Cancer, the Madison Area Sports Commission, and other community charities. Garding Against Cancer was founded by Greg Gard, Wisconsin men’s basketball coach, and his wife Michelle, in partnership with the Wisconsin Foundation & Alumni Association, to raise funds and awareness for cancer research and care in the state of Wisconsin.

“From the beginning, we felt strongly that Bucky on Parade needed to have a component that was a giveback to our community and worthy organizations,” Dale explains. “Early on, we decided that Garding Against Cancer would be the primary beneficiary for the project. Additionally, people who purchased statues in the auction were able to donate 10 percent of the auction price to a charity of their choice. In total, more than two dozen nonprofits benefited from Bucky on Parade.”

“Everyone involved in Bucky on Parade is humbled by the generosity of the community,” notes Deb Archer, president and CEO of the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) and MASC. “We are incredibly proud of the impact Bucky on Parade has had on the Greater Madison area and the way the project will be giving back to many deserving local organizations.”

Though the parade around Dane County is over, Bucky enthusiasts can still get involved in more Bucky on Parade fun in the coming months. On Saturday, Dec. 8, from noon to 3 p.m., the talented statue artists will take part in a book signing event at the University Book Store on State Street for the Bucky on Parade coffee table book, which includes images of all of the statues, as well as the story of how the project came together and selected social media photos from locals enjoying the hunt for all the Buckys.

Those not ready to bid farewell to Bucky on Parade can also stay tuned to the “Where Are They Now” page on buckyonparade.com, where the new locations of all 85 statues will be updated.

As for future “parades” around Madison? “Right now, our focus is on taking a deeper dive into the impact Bucky on Parade had for our community,” says Dale. “We know that a lot was learned from its success, especially in the collaboration that developed between educational institutions, government agencies, municipalities, and businesses. We hope that similar collaborative projects will develop and impact Madison.”

Click here to sign up for the free IB ezine — your twice-weekly resource for local business news, analysis, voices, and the names you need to know. If you are not already a subscriber to In Business magazine, be sure to sign up for our monthly print edition here.