Midwest Matchup: The Mascots

Story by Eric Christenson

Wisconsin Mascots
By Eric Christenson

Wisconsin mascots are few, but have undeniable charisma.

If this Midwest Matchup were boiled down to a push-up contest, Wisconsin would win with Bucky Badger alone.

There is a documentary that debuted at the 2009 Wisconsin Film Festival entitled “Being Bucky,” which follows the seven UW students that play Bucky.

The affectionate, award-winning documentary is directed and produced by UW alums Scott Smith and John Fromstein.

The process of becoming Bucky is grueling! You can’t tell anyone that you’re Bucky, and you don’t get paid.

In order to be considered to have to be able to do 200 pushups straight in the suit, because every Badgers touchdown at Camp Randall requires Bucky to do as many pushups as the Badgers have points.

If anyone was watching last weekend when the Badgers absolutely tore apart Austin Peay, 70-3, you can see why each Bucky deserves the recognition he gets. That’s a total of 385 pushups with a giant Bucky suit on.

Show me a Gopher with that kind of fortitude.

Bucky’s certainly good, but with Wisconsin mascots, the buck stops with Bango.

Bango the Buck, mascot for the Milwaukee Bucks, is a phenomenal showman, an irresistible entertainer and easily one of the top tier mascots in existence.

But please, don’t take my word for it.

During halftime of game 4 of the NBA Playoffs against Atlanta on April 26th at the Bradley Center, Bango pulled off this death-defying backflip dunk from the top of a 25-foot ladder.
Being a mascot is about having sass and backbone and in-your-face trash talk.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a mascot from Minnesota or anywhere else with more acrobatic skill and remarkable showmanship than Bango.

Minnesota Mascots
By Emily Gresbrink

First of all, let’s talk football. Vikings and Packers.

What exactly is a Packer, anyway? Do they pack cheese? Do they pack boxes? I am quite confused.

At least the Vikings make sense … Viktor the Viking is big, brutal, and full of Norwegian fury.

Since the Pack don’t have a mascot, they’re left to cheese. Honestly friend, a wedge of cheese is not really that intimidating … except to the lactose intolerant. Then it’s a little scary.

How about baseball? We have the Twins versus the Brewers. At least the Brewers makes sense for a name … still, the Twins have a way cuter and more practical name.

Plus, they represent two cities. Twin cities. Milwaukee is just one city. Bernie Brewer merely rides a big old slide down during home runs (which seem to be few and far between).

TC Bear is a cuddly critter that shoots around free t-shirts, rides around on a four-wheeler with a huge flag, and plays games with children on the field. Too cute!

Now, onto the basketball teams. It seems to me that while nobody really watches NBA now that Michael Jordan doesn’t play, there still is a legitimate fan base out there somewhere.

The mascots themselves get right down to the argument of “which is tougher:” A wild, meat-hungry wolf, or something that can’t even face the fury of a car going 60 miles an hour?

There you go. If a car can beat you, it’s most likely you’ll lose to a big old wolf.

Let’s get collegiate for a second, and look at the Gophers and the Badgers. Yes, Bucky Badger may be a mean little critter, but Goldy Gopher has his technique. He lures you in with cuteness – “oh look, a cuddly gopher!” – then BAM! We kick your butts.

He’s also a nationally-ranked mascot, placing top ten in multiple competitions yearly.

Minnesota definitely has it going on when it comes to the mascot challenge. Still not convinced?
What really pushes the land of 10,000 lakes into victory is this: Minnesota Wild.

Wisconsin doesn’t even have a pro hockey team! How can you compete if you’re not bringin’ anything to the game, Wisconsinites?