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