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Original UA mascot met an untimely death on this date

Original UA mascot met an untimely death on this date

  • Updated

1915: University of Arizona Wildcat Mascot "Rufus Arizona." The original mascot, first called, "Tom Easter", arrived on campus on October 17, 1915, and was introduced to the student body the following day at assembly in Herring Hall. He was the gift of the freshman, who, with George Schreer, raised funds ($9.91) to purchase him from one F.W. Fawkins. blacksmith in Troop B, 9th Cavalry, U.S. Army, stationed atDouglas. He was official named "Rufus Arizona" after President Rufus B.von Kleinsmid.

The original University of Arizona mascot was a live bobcat named Rufus Arizona, who met an untimely death on this date (April 17) in 1916.

The Arizona Wildcat reported: "While endeavoring to perform gymnastics stunts in the limbs of a tree to which he was tied, Rufus Arizona ... fell and was hung."

The use of live mascots at UA continued — on and off — until the late 1950s.

Wilbur and Wilma timeline:

• 1915-1958 - Live mascots were used off and on and often had to be tranquilized before games. The original Wildcat, a bobcat named Rufus, was accidentally hanged.

• Nov. 7, 1959 - Wilbur the mascot first appears at a football game. His $100 costume was paid for by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona.

• 1970s - Wilbur's "Rhinestone Cowboy" phase included a vest, cowboy boots and a holster and gun.

• March 1, 1986 - Wilbur meets Wilma on a blind date.

• Nov. 21, 1986 - Wilbur and Wilma's wedding. They are joined in holy "catrimony."

• 1995 - Wilbur sues the University of Arkansas Razorbacks over a knee injury from a rowdy tackle during a dance in 1994.

• 2002 - Guns were banned from the logo version of Wilbur, inspiring a debate about gun rights. The pistol-packing Wilbur still appears on the rare sign around campus.

• 2006 - Wilbur and Wilma renew their vows.

• Nov. 7, 2009 - Wilbur's 50th birthday.

• August 2012 — Wilbur and Wilma get a much-needed update — bigger hat, darker fur

99 years ago today, the UA's first live mascot Rufus Wildcat (named after then UA President Rufus Bernard Von...

Posted by The University of Arizona Alumni Association on Friday, April 17, 2015

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