Goat of Ritual.

Masonic Bucking Goat

Field review by the editors.

Sparta, Wisconsin

The Monroe County Museum occupies the building that was formerly Sparta's old Masonic Temple. One of its exhibits, which looks like it might have been found in one of its closets, is the Bucking Goat.

It's a stuffed fake goat on wheels, dated 1904, accompanied by an illustration from the catalog from which it was ordered (the company produced them until 1930). Too pagan and weird to be a child's toy, it was used by grown men as part of the initiation ritual into the Masonic Modern Woodmen of America, which later reinvented itself as the Lumberman's Insurance Company.

According to the goat's descriptive sign, "The prospective member was made to 'ride the goat' while another man holding the handles attempted to buck him off." As ridiculous as this sounds, it evidently was a popular rite-of-passage in Sparta, since a lot of the goat's hair has been worn off, like the fur on a child's well-loved teddy bear.

Masonic Bucking Goat

Monroe County Museum

Address:
200 W. Main St., Sparta, WI
Directions:
At the Monroe County Museum. I-90 exit 28. Drive west on Hwy 16 for 2.5 miles into town. Turn right onto Water St/Hwy 21, drive north five blocks, then turn left onto Main St for one block. On the right.
Hours:
M-Sa 10 am - 4:30 pm. (Call to verify)
Phone:
608-269-8680
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

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World's Largest BicyclistWorld's Largest Bicyclist, Sparta, WI - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Foul Ball Humpty Dumpty, Arkdale, WI - 47 mi.

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December 22, 2014

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