As a substitute for a live wildcat mascot, Wilbur made his first appearance at the UA vs. Texas Tech football fame, Nov. 7, 1959. Inspired by the University of California's "Oskie," a person dressed up as a bear, Wilbur was the creation of Richard Heller '62, and John Paquette '60.
In a simple masquerade costume funded by the Associated Students, he was sent out on the field with the cheer leaders to stir up the crowd, entertain with humorous antics, "stalk" the officials, etc. He was such an instant success that he was taken "on the road" to the Air Force Academy game the following week.
In 1960, Wilbur, whose identity was supposed to be kept secret, was placed under the direction of the Traditions Committee. As the years passed, he picked up some additional activities: attending basketball games as well as football games, making occasional appearanced at luncheons, award presentations, official informational UA functions, to say nothing of giving out autographs and being hugged by fascinated children.
Source: A Photographic History of the University of Arizona