Mascot Tryouts: Seeking Students to Become UA's Next Purrfect Pair
Applications are due next week and tryouts will follow to find out who will be the next Mr. and Mrs. Wildcat.

Ellen Moss
Jan. 17, 2008

They met on a blind date in March of 1986, were married in November of the same year and the rest is University of Arizona history.

Wilbur and Wilma Wildcat, the UA's most famous couple, have been entertaining fans and cheering on UA athletes as feline husband and wife for more than 20 years.

While Wilma and Wilbur remain a UA fixture, the faces inside the mascot costumes change every few years. The cheerleading and mascots program will hold tryouts at the end of this month, inviting students to prove their prowess for pumping up the crowd.

Students sign on for a two-year commitment to play the UA mascots as part of the University's spirit team, said Phoebe Chalk, assistant athletic director.

"Wilbur and Wilma are really representatives for this institution," Chalk said of the mascots' role at the University.

Wilbur must be available to perform at all home football games and men's basketball games. He also makes appearances at select women's basketball games, volleyball games and baseball games.

Wilma must be available for all home volleyball games and women's basketball games, as well as select football games, gymnastic meets and softball games.

Both mascots are required to travel occasionally.

In addition to appearing at UA sporting events, Wilbur and Wilma make frequent appearances throughout the Tucson community. For a fee, which supports the cheerleading and mascot program, the UA mascots show up at events from benefits to birthday parties.

While Wilma and Wilbur's history together is long, the history of UA mascots is longer, beginning in 1914 when a Los Angeles Times writer wrote that the football team "showed the fight of wildcats" against the Occidental College Tigers.

Wilbur's predecessor was a real bobcat named Rufus Arizona, named after the University's then-president Rufus von KleinSmid. The first costumed Wilbur Wildcat was introduced during the 1959 football season.

More information about mascot requirements and commitment expectations is available on the Arizona Athletics Web site.

Mascot applications, which can be downloaded at the site, are due to the Jim Click Hall of Champions, Room N301, by noon on Jan. 25. Preliminary interviews begin Jan. 28, followed by tryouts on Feb. 2.

Extra info


Did you know ...

  • Wilbur and Wilma live
    in a den in Arizona Stadium.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Wildcat renewed their wedding vows in November
    2006 to celebrate their 20th anniversary.
  • Wilbur made his first appearance at a UA football game against Texas on Nov. 7, 1959.
  • Wilma was created
    by accident when
    costume designers were attempting
    to make another costume for Wilbur.