Middlebury

"Picking Up Butch" Story Goes National Once Again - Watch Here!

October 28, 2010

(Watch the feature!)

The well-known story of "Picking Up Butch" was celebrated again on the national scene. ESPN made three trips to campus this year, gathering footage and interviews to document the 50th anniversary of the Middlebury tradition that was celebrated on homecoming weekend. The feature aired on ESPN's "E:60," on Tuesday, Nov. 2nd.

Butch VarnoFor half a century, Middlebury College student athletes have helped local resident Butch Varno - who suffers from cerebral palsy - enjoy sporting events and other activities in the community. The tradition began back in 1960, when Roger Ralph, a 1963 Middlebury College graduate, saw Varno's grandmother struggling to push Butch's wheelchair through snow and mud on the way home from a football game and offered to pick them up. Little did he know that "Picking up Butch" would become a college ritual that continues in force today.

Varno's story has drawn national attention, inspiring a Sports Illustrated column by Rick Reilly in the spring of 2003, an ESPN SportsCenter Feature that fall and a visit from Steve Hartman of the CBS Evening News in 2007. The ESPN story later won an Emmy Award and a prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award. Other features have also appeared in the Associated Press and the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine.

Interested In Helping Out?

Make an online gift to the Butch Varno fund! Using the online form, please type "Butch" in the "Additional Information" box.