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 University of Arizona team "showed the fight of Wildcats."

The original University of Arizona 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 University of Arizona 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 University of Arizona versus Texas Tech football game.

Wilbur the Wildcat originated with two University of Arizona roommates, Richard Heller and John Paquette. In 1959 with $100 from the Associated Students of the University of Arizona 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 a University of Arizona versus Arizona State University game.

The caricature of Wilbur the Wildcat was changed in 2002. Wilbur's caricature originally had guns. The University of Arizona 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.


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