The University of Arizona mascots are costumed wildcats named Wilbur and Wilma. The identities of Wilbur and Wilma are kept secret through the year as the mascots appear only in costume, except typically until the last home basketball game of the year. In 1986, Wilbur and Wilma, a longtime couple, were married. Together, Wilbur and Wilma appear along with the cheerleading squad at most Arizona Wildcat sporting events. Arizona's first mascot was a real desert bobcat named Rufus Arizona. Rufus was introduced in 1915 and named after the the University of Arizona president at the time, Rufus B. von KleinSmid.
The battle cry was created by a student athlete named, John Salmon. Salmon was the student body president, the starting quarterback for the Wildcat football team, and the catcher for the Wildcat baseball team. The day before the first game of the 1926 football season, Salmon and three friends were involved in an automobile accident. Although his friends were not injured, Salmon suffered a severe spinal cord injury. After the accident, his football coach, Pop McKale, visited him in the hospital every day. During McKale's last visit, Salmon's last message to his teammates was, "Tell them...tell the team to bear down." John Salmon died on October 18, 1926. The following year, the University of Arizona student body approved that Bear Down would be the new slogan for all Arizona Wildcat athletic teams. In 1939, the Arizona state legislature issued a decree that Bear Down was the exclusive property of the University of Arizona.