Marking the end of the months-long Bucky on Parade public arts project, more than 30 statues re-creating the University of Wisconsin mascot were auctioned Saturday, raising more than $800,000 for cancer research and other causes.
The money raised from the auctioned statues, which were designed and painted by local artists, will go to Garding Against Cancer and the Madison Area Sports Commission. Winning bidders also had the opportunity to choose a local organization to receive 10 percent of their statue’s selling price.
A total of 85 Bucky statues — sponsors of those not auctioned paid to keep their statues — were placed around Dane County through the summer, drawing tourists, students and others looking to view the art and perhaps snap a selfie.
Madison Area Sports Commission president Deb Archer opened the auction by highlighting the charitable nature of the project. She noted that Friday, which would have been her sister’s birthday, was the 14th anniversary of her death from cancer.
“I hope that with all the money that we raise, we can save the heartache that so many people go through who are experiencing what our family went through and what others are going through,” Archer said.
University of Wisconsin Men’s Basketball Coach Greg Gard, who founded Garding Against Cancer following his father’s death from cancer, spoke about the effects the funds raised through Bucky on Parade will have for cancer patients in Wisconsin.
“Thank you for helping us help Wisconsin by funding more impactful cancer research” at the UW Carbone Cancer Center, Gard said. “Thank you for helping us to make a better impact and to provide more quality care for patients.”
Starting the auction, award-winning auctioneer Wayne Yoder coaxed attendees to bid on the statues, which sold for as much as $47,000 for the “1st and 10” statue.
Dan Schmidt, of Lake Mills, owner of Forward Management, placed the high bid — $37,000 — on the “Leckrone’s Stop at the Top” Bucky, modeled after UW Marching Band director Michael Leckrone’s signature marching step. Schmidt said he plans to place the statue in the company’s Madison office.
It was Dan Schmidt’s son Jason who captured the first Bucky to be auctioned by bidding $30,000 on the “Bucky at the Terrace” statue, which was painted with brush strokes mimicking the waters of Lake Mendota and with the sunburst pattern of the Union Terrace chairs.
“It was exciting to be part of the first one (auctioned) and get the momentum going,” said Jason Schmidt, who works at Forward Management.
Christi Andringa, whose husband — former Badgers hockey captain Rob Andringa — has stage 4 colon cancer, said before the auction began that the money raised is important but that the act of being present for cancer patients and their loved ones is also important.
“Give your spirit. Because it makes a difference,” Andringa said. “The love that has been given to us has definitely enhanced our healing.”