Librarian Files

Wilbur the Wildcat-- University of Arizona Mascot

The University of Arizona acquired the Wildcat name after a game on November 7, 1914.  A Los Angeles Times columnist said that the UA team "showed the fight of Wildcats."
 
The original UA mascot was a live bobcat bought by the freshman football team from an Army Blacksmith, F.W. Fawkins, for $9.41.  This bobcat was officially named Rufus Arizona after the then UA president Rufus Bernard Von KleinSmid. Rufus Arizona died on April 17, 1916 when he fell from a tree and was accidentally hung.
 
The costumed human mascot, "Wilbur the Wildcat" appeared on November 7, 1959 during an UA-Texas Tech football game.
Wilbur the Wildcat originated with two UA roommates, Richard Heller and John Paquette. In 1959 with $100 from the ASUA the roommates came up with the Wilbur costume and started a booster club called the Wilburs.
 
Wilma the Wildcat appeared on March 1, 1986.  She and Wilbur were married November 21, 1986 before an UA- ASU game.
 
The caricature of Wilbur the Wildcat was changed in 2002.   Wilbur's caricature originally had guns.  The UA decided to no longer have the guns in August 2002.
 
Sources: 
"Drop it!' UA tells Wilbur." Arizona Daily Star. August 22, 2002.  Page B1.
"On the hunt for Wilbur & Wilma." Tucson Citizen. January 24, 2005. Page E1.
Tales from the Morgue, Arizona Daily Star.  Starnet (www.starnet.com) http://regulus2.azstarnet.com/blogs/morguetales
.
.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Article tagged with: Wilbur the Wildcat, Wilma the Wildcat, Rufus Arizona

Last Update: 7-28-2014 12:24pm

<< Back
Pima County Website