Wilbur and Wilma: Arizona’s First Couple

Sept. 16, 2011

As you flip between college football games this season, you may recognize a certain Wildcat in red high tops on your TV screen during commercial breaks. Despite the commercial notoriety, we don’t have to worry about the fame going to Wilbur’s head – his better half will keep him grounded.

The UA’s first couple, Wilbur and Wilma – not Wilmur as celebrity parlance dictates – is set to celebrate 25 years of wedded bliss. And like most well known couples, there’s a lot you may not know about them. With Family Weekend approaching, it’s seems appropriate to take a look at their special history.

We spoke to two of the people who know them best, Roberta Quiroz Director, Community Relations, Special Events and Jim Click Hall of Champions, and Tori Palmer, Head Coach, Cheerleaders and Mascots, for their thoughts about the wild pair.

“I think Wilbur and Wilma show the lighter side,” said Palmer. “They represent not only athletics but the university. They do so much in the community.”

Of course, maybe the thing that makes Wilbur and Wilma such a special couple is the very fact that they are a couple. Every school has a mascot. But how many have two, let alone a happily wedded couple of 25 years? They’re a pair. Can’t have one without the other. Salt and pepper. Peanut butter and jelly. For better or worse. Till death do us part.

“There aren’t many mascot couples out there. We’re pretty lucky to have that. They’re definitely a pair,” says Quiroz.

Quiroz and Palmer also noted that it’s not just students and fans who shower Wilbur and Wilma with love. Wilbur and Wilma not only make appearances at games and university functions around the country, but also at everything from alumni gatherings to charity events, even getting requests for weddings and birthday parties.

“And you know that Wilbur and Wilma are loved because if they’re not there, everyone’s wondering where they are and really missing their presence,” says Palmer.

And it’s only when you’ve got love like that that you can elevate your recognition to the national level. So when you see Wilbur on TV beseeching your vote to make him king of all mascots – and, subsequently, endow a scholarship fund for Wilbur and Wilma – we suggest you vote like crazy.