In the late 1990s, when my company still owned and produced deer and turkey expos in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Illinois, we came up with an on-site promotional gimmick to please kids attending and, hopefully, stir up on-site family photography. We had life-size costumes made of Bucky and Tom (as in Bucky Deer and Tom Turkey). Then we persuaded two women on our staff to wear the costumes and hit the show floor aisles, which they wanted to do anyway.
The costumes were a hit. Kids liked to pose for photos with Bucky and Tom. Mothers enjoyed taking photos of their kids and Bucky and Tom. Other attendees and exhibitors enjoyed the unusual activity and splash of color the costumed characters wore.
And the women wearing the costumes?
“Those were two of the hottest, temperature-wise, costumes I’ve ever worn,” my wife said. She dressed up as Bucky. “But they were fun until the perspiration started coursing down your face and body. Shirley (dressed as Tom) and I immediately went back to our hotel rooms and showered every time we finished a costumed swing.”
The costumes were made of fake fur and polyester fabric. Bucky’s and Tom’s heads were made of paper mache. They were hard, trapped air and were extremely hot.
“We had a couple of collisions with mothers trying to get near us,” my wife said, “so their kids would be looking at Bucky or Tom … and the camera. It was all good fun.”
Each deer and turkey expo was good for a couple of sashays around the show floor.
Now Bucky and Tom have made the big time. Actually, they have made the frozen big time, which you might call their natural habitat when real deer and real turkeys are taken and processed by hunters.
These two costumed wildlife species, however, were originally given as post-retirement gifts to a niece and her friend in Portland, Maine. In Portland, Bucky and Tom went to a Christmas Party and a Halloween Party, but mostly had to stay outside because their heads were too big to fit comfortably inside a crowded party house!
“That’s when we were happy with how warm the costumes were,” our niece, Martie, said. “On occasion, Bucky and Tom also roamed the neighborhood visiting neighbors,” she added. “The neighbors were happy to see them.”
Our niece and her friend gave the costumes to two neighboring friends, a couple named Mike and Megan, just before the couple left to work in the medical clinic at McMurdo Station, Antarctica. McMurdo Station is host to a National Science Foundation base.
McMurdo Station is a coastal station built on the bare volcanic rock of the Hut Point Peninsula on Ross Island, the solid ground farthest south accessible by ship. Nowadays you don’t take a boat, you fly in. The couple likes to say Bucky and Tom flew with them to McMurdo. All, thus, are now international travelers.
McMurdo Station can be really cold. McMurdo Station’s temperature ranges from -50F to 40 F. However, at the “warm” time of their year, which is our cold season (November), McMurdo residents living and working there liven things up with a 5K outdoor Turkey Trot. They run or walk the 5km to work off calories before the Thanksgiving meal. At that time of the year there is much more soil and rocks exposed, and there is less snow. It is the right time for turkeys to trot.
That is what Mike and Megan did, wearing their newly-acquired Bucky and Tom suits. “We were unable to wear the turkey and deer heads because we were not able to see down,” they said.
Judy and Shirley had had the same problem when they wore the costumes and heads at our deer and turkey expos. Shirley noted, “I don’t know how many kids I ‘bonked’ with Tom’s beak when bending to have a picture taken with them.”
At the McMurdo Station Turkey Trot, Megan trotted as Tom and wore entry number 763. Mike trotted as Bucky and wore entry number 764. Mike and Megan had a great time.
We assume Bucky and Tom did, too, and that all four thus had a great time.
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