Profiles In K-State Fandom – Bucky Bucholtz

Profiles In K-State Fandom – Bucky Bucholtz

The fourth installment of “Profiles In K-State Fandom” features Bucky Bucholtz. You may recognize Bucky at K-State games wearing his purple cheesehead. I met Bucky at a tailgate many years ago before a spring football game. We have seen each other at football games since, and we got connected on social media. Bucky posts a lot of pictures on his yearly trek to Ireland posing K-S-U with others in front of Irish landmarks. He sure seems like a “bleed purple” kind of guy, and I think you will agree after reading a bit more about him.

JM: Tell me a little bit about your background.  Where were you born/where did you grow up and how did you become such a huge K-State fan?

BB: I was born at Ft. Riley as an Army Brat, so I grew up at several places around the States and Europe. However, I graduated at Junction City High School, and attended Valparaiso University in Indiana for one year before moving to Ft. Hood, Texas to help care for my mother who was ill while my father was deployed to Vietnam. From there, I joined the Army, and found myself assigned to Ft. Riley. After my enlistment in 1978, I remained in the area since then. My sister’s family are huge KU fans, so I became a huge K-State fan.

JM: If you attended K-State, tell me a little bit about how you came to that decision.

BB: I did enroll in a few classes at K-State, but found myself unable to continue and fully support a family. So I quit college, but continued to fully support my Wildcats.

JM: Are you married?  Kids?

BB: I married an Irish woman, from Co. Cork, Ireland, and we have six children between us. One daughter attended and graduated from KSU with a teaching degree. One son is a captain in the Hutchinson fire department, one son is a troubleshooter and area manager for a corporate aircraft repair company, One son works for large industrial building company. One daughter is currently a substitute teacher, and one daughter is a chef that works for a company that provides services to KSU sororities and fraternities. All are big K-State fans.

JM: What do you do for a living?

BB: I retired in 2019 as an Employee Benefits Broker/Dealer that provided benefits to rural hospitals throughout  Kansas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska.

JM: Do you live in or around Manhattan? What’s your favorite restaurant or hangout when you’re in town?

BB: We have lived in Manhattan proper since 1985. Our Favorite hangout was the Keltic Star in Aggieville before it closed during Covid. Now we hang out anywhere that pours a good Guinness, including Houlihan’s, Tanner’s, and Finn’s.

JM: Do you have a favorite sport? Favorite K-State team?

BB: I follow several sports including football, college basketball, KSU Rowing, fishing, golf, hunting, soccer, and rugby (Go Ireland).

JM: Do you have season tickets? If so, which sports?

BB: We have had KSU football and women’s basketball season tickets for several years.

JM: Do you travel to K-State away games?

BB: Because of the requirements of our jobs, we never had the opportunity to travel to any away games until this past year, when my wife and I went to the Pop Tarts Bowl. What a tremendous experience meeting a lot of KSU fans and friends at the pep rally, streets, and the game.

JM: Do you have a favorite away game place or story to tell?

BB: We found an Irish Pub in Orlando with friends that turned out to be the NC Wolfpack pre-game meet, but everyone there wanted photos with The Purple Cheesehead. They were as friendly as KSU fans are.

JM: What is your favorite K-State sports memory?

BB: When we beat Texas for the Big-12 Championship in 2012 and Willie magically appeared on top of the west side press box spelling out K-S-U. That was a tremendous moment I will never forget.

JM: Who is your favorite K-State player(s), past or present?

BB: There have been a lot of very good players at K-State, but I always had a lot of respect for Ed Neely. He represented all the blue-collar kids that have, and still do, come to play for our University.

JM: Who is your favorite K-State coach(es), past or present?

BB: We’ve seen several coaches pass through our sports programs, but in my mind, Jack Hartman predates Bill Snyder when it comes to hard work breeds success values.

JM: If you had to guess, what percentage of your wardrobe is purple?

BB: Now that I am retired, my wardrobe has downsized a lot, but what remains in the closet is about 40%. I wear purple about 3-4 days a week.

JM: What does the “K-State Family” mean to you?

BB: There is good and bad in every family, but in the end, we all want our University and sports athletes to succeed. We bleed purple, and we always welcome our neighbors to our neighborhood.

JM: Where did you get the purple cheesehead? Is there a story behind that?

BB: My parents’ relatives are all from Wisconsin, so I was raised and still remain a big Packer fan. What says football more than the Cheesehead? Many years ago when Purple Powerplay was still being held on Poyntz, I thought what better way to express my pride and support for our Wildcats than to paint my Cheesehead purple, and wear it to the pep rally? A Collegian reporter and photographer saw me and asked if they could take a photo. Next thing I knew, it appeared on the front page of their newspaper. I then continued to wear it to football games. One game, I was wearing the Cheesehead on the field in front of the student section, and D.J. Johnson called for me to come up, took it from my head, and put it on. The students went berserk. I asked him to sign it, and I went on to have every player I met, men and women, to sign it. Over time some of the paint had chipped off, but because of all the autographs, I cannot repaint it. So I had to buy a new headpiece on one of my visits to visit relatives. I had to assure them that it was not a Vikings Cheesehead.

Bucky’s picture in the Collegian.

JM: Anything else you’d like to add?

BB: K-State fans are the best, win or lose. We are exuberant when we win, and frustrated when we lose. But we are ever hopeful. “Loyal to thee, thy children will swell the cry. Hail, hail, hail. Alma Mater.”

JM: Bucky has met and has taken photos with many “K-State dignitaries” over the years. Check out the slideshow to see a few.

If you would like to nominate someone to be featured in “Profiles in K-State Fandom,” please message me their information and I will reach out to them. Thank you!

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