New mascots take the stage

By Alicia A. Caldwell
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 16, 1996

Gregory Harris
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Two of the students trying out for the jobs of Wilma and Wilbur Wildcat try to hype up the crowd at the UA women's volleyball game against Loyola Marymount University Saturday. Eight finalists competed for the back-up Wilma and Wilbur Wildcat positions Saturday and the winners were selected that night.


They've donned the sacred costumes, they've practiced all the rituals, and they've excited scores of fans. Saturday, two of them were named the newest Wilbur and Wilma Wildcat.

Every individual selected for the role will be one of four Wilbur and Wilma mascots for the rest of their college careers or until they no longer want the position.

Saturday, four potential Wilburs and four hopeful Wilmas made their public debuts in McKale Center at the women's volleyball game against Loyola Marymount University.

Those four men and four women were the finalists from the initial application process used to select the new Wilbur and Wilma Wildcat. After being selected, they had to perform at the volleyball game in front of a panel of six judges.

Contestants were judged on originality, personality and what they did that stood out and made the crowd take notice. An added plus for contestants was showing an understanding of the game through motions or actions.

Mila McCab, UA cheer coach and one of the judges, said although the Wilbur and Wilma tryouts were performed in teams of two, each person's performance rating was not dependent on the other person.

As the Wilbur and Wilma contestants entered McKale Center to a crowd of about 200, each one did something a little different from the last. Participants entered individually and had no way of knowing what the others had done.

Wilbur and Wilma No. 1 ran through the crowd trying to excite the fans. Many times, both characters stopped to hug spectators.

As couple No. 2 came out, Wilbur held up signs for the crowd to chant "U-of-A." Wilbur also presented Wilma with a big bag of cat food.

Wilbur and Wilma No. 3 danced to the beat of the band, and, like the others, ran through the crowd, trying to excite them.

When couple No. 4 came into the stadium, they held signs up so the crowd would chant "U-of-A" while stomping their feet to the rhythm of "We Will Rock You!"

After getting the crowd chanting and stomping, Wilbur began to swing a stuffed replica of the opponent's mascot on a string. This further excited the crowd.

As the volleyball game ended, so did the competition for the new Wilbur and Wilma Wildcat.

"All of the finalists were very talented, and it will be hard for the judges to make a decision," said Ben Bartly, coordinator for the finalists.

When Wilbur No. 1 was asked why he wanted to become Wilbur the Wildcat, he replied, "I think that I have a lot of school spirit, and Wilbur is the symbol of school spirit."

The contestants, whose identities are known only to the judges and contestants, were told after Saturday's football game who had won. The identities of Wilbur and Wilma are kept secret until they graduate.