Old Wilbur, Wilma leave mascot suits to new UA student pair
Ryan Revock / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Kimberley Jacob, a marketing senior, and Forest Gmitro, a journalism junior, are the outgoing Wilma and Wilbur Wildcat. Both became the UA mascots in February 2011.
Wilbur and Wilma Wildcat were married on Nov. 21, 1986 and will be together forever. However, for the students behind the suits, their time has to come to an end.
Kimberley Jacob, a marketing senior, and Forrest Gmitro, a journalism junior, have finished their run as Wilbur and Wilma Wildcat. The pair has been portraying the UA’s beloved mascots since February 2011. Jacob and Gmitro didn’t know each other when they started the tryout process to be the married mascot couple of the UA, but have since become best friends and the two said they don’t see that changing now that they are no longer Wilma and Wilbur.
“We have been lucky enough that our two personalities do mesh that well that, you know, if we need somebody that is the person we call,” Jacob said. “So we went from complete strangers and not knowing [each other] and even different backgrounds.”
Jacob came from a background of cheerleading, dance and being a Disneyland Park parade performer, while Gmitro had no previous mascot or cheer experience.
Regardless of their different performance backgrounds, both said they decided to play Wilma and
Wilbur for the same reasons. Gmitro always played sports growing up and he said he saw this as a way to be involved with sports and the UA community. Jacob said she also saw the chance to be Wilma as a way to get involved at the university.
When talking about the challenges of being a mascot over the last few years, Gmitro said the hardest part was the heat while Jacob said there were moments when people seemed to forget there was an actual person in the suit.
“‘Yes, Wilma is a girl and yes, Wilbur is a boy.’ [These] things aren’t padding, they are you,” Jacob said.
Jacob is graduating next month and said she hopes to return to Disneyland to work in management. Gmitro said he wants to focus on school his last year and hopes to one day become a college athletics director. However, no matter where they go, the two said they will never forget the experience of playing the UA mascots.
The new Wilma was selected on Feb. 17 and Wilbur will be selected on April 27, according to Roberta Quiroz, the director for community relations, special events and Jim Click Hall of Champions. The identity of the new Wilma and Wilbur will not be revealed until their time as mascots is completely over.
“Wilbur and Wilma really represent … because Tucson is such a college town,” Quiroz said. “So we really look for people who speak toward that because we know how important it is to get them out at those community events.”