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Have a Ball

WAA and Badger football player Sam Arneson team to up to give superfan Emily Artus a dream bowl experience.

John Allen
January 13, 2015

Badger superfan Emily Artus has the bowl experience of a lifetime.

Emily Artus isn’t the average Badger fan.

For starters, the Merrill, Wisconsin, native went to high school with UW tight end Sam Arneson x’15. Thanks to the alphabetical bent of the school’s organizers, they were locker neighbors.

Also, Artus saved up her money to see all of the UW home games in Arneson’s senior year. After each one, Arneson invited her to visit him in the McClain Center.

And finally, Artus has Apert syndrome, a congenital disorder that causes malformations of the skull, hands, and feet.

When the Badgers earned a spot in this year’s Outback Bowl, Arneson made sure that Artus had tickets to that game as well. Members of her home community helped make sure that she and her parents could travel with WAA to Tampa for the game.

“To watch it on TV is one thing,” Artus says, “but to be here is really cool.”

When WAA chair Kelli Trumble ’79 heard about Artus and met her during the trip, she decided to add to the experience. In a raffle, Trumble had won an Outback Bowl game ball. She gave the ball to Artus as a memento of her trip to see Arneson win a bowl game — a first for him and his teammates, and the first the UW had won since 2009.

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It was the team’s sixth win in their last seven bowls and improved the Badgers’ all-time record in bowl games to 17–15.

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