Bucky on Parade: Wisconsin company "birthplace" of statues

MADISON (WMTV) The first impression you get at the FAST Corporation?
it's not your typical manufacturer.

Huge fiberglass cows, Santas, gnomes, and more statues awaiting shipment fill the front yard. As one of the largest makers of fiberglass statues, water slide features, and roadside attractions, FAST Corp. has made just about everything. General Mgr./VP Darren Schauf said,
"Our number one seller of all time, is a 6-foot high frog slide. We're probably best known for the musky that's up in Hayward, at the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame. This is a pretty unique business."

This past winter and spring, things got REALLY unique at the Sparta company. FAST Corporation's been busy as "The birthplace of the Buckys."

From design to fabrication, to painting, FAST won the contract to create each of the 85 Bucky Badgers artists will paint or decorate for the Bucky on Parade public art project that debuts May 7th on Madison area streets.

Each Bucky is 6-1/2 feet tall and 115 pounds. A team of employees created molds, sprayed fiberglass into those molds, then seamed, finished and painted them.

Except for one "Golden Bucky", they were sprayed all white when they left FAST. That way, artists have a "blank canvas" for their unique creations--designs the Madison Area Sports Commission selected and approved.

Schauf said, "We don't want to take anything away from the artists, because they are the ones who are really going to bring Bucky to life. We provide them with a blank canvas to work with."

Bucky on Parade organizers were actually leaning toward a manufacturing company south of the Badger border. Darren found out and made a pitch to organizers. He believed if the school's motto is "On Wisconsin!", the statues should be made IN Wisconsin. As Schauf put it, "This is our back yard, you know...we're a Wisconsin company and we'd like to make the Buckys for Wisconsin." He said he "absolutely did not want to see Bucky Badger made in Illinois."

His passion for the project ultimately won organizers over, and Darren couldn't be more proud that the parade of Buckys began right here in Sparta--Sparta, WISCONSIN. Schauf said, "Oh, absolutely. I really have one of the best jobs in Wisconsin. I mean, who else gets to develop 6-foot Buckys, or 14-foot cows, or 25- foot dogs,? It's a very interesting and unique business."