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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 exhibit, which looks like it might have been uncovered in a closet, is the Bucking Goat.

The stuffed fake goat on wheels, dated 1904, is 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, the goat contraption 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.

Also see: Museum of Initiation Pranks

Masonic Bucking Goat

Monroe County Museum

200 W. Main St., Sparta, WI
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.
M-Sa 10 am - 4:30 pm. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Deke Slayton Memorial Space and Bicycle MuseumDeke Slayton Memorial Space and Bicycle Museum, Sparta, WI - < 1 mi.
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World's Largest BicyclistWorld's Largest Bicyclist, Sparta, WI - < 1 mi.
In the region:
Stonehenge and Other Rocks, Fountain City, WI - 42 mi.

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