The University of Kentucky cheerleading program will host tryouts later this month to be the school’s popular mascot, the Wildcat.
Tryouts are set for Oct. 21-22, with an informational meeting on Oct. 18 at the Seaton Center at 8:30 p.m.
“The Wildcat mascot is an important symbol of the spirit of our university,” UK cheerleading head coach Jomo Thompson said. “We are looking for talented people who can handle the responsibility of being the Wildcat and are excited to welcome a new member of the best spirit program in America.”
Candidates must be current UK students with a grade-point average of at least 2.0. The mascots are a part of the University of Kentucky cheerleading program and must have the drive to succeed in and out of the classroom, UK said in a news release.
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The Wildcat mascot originated during the 1976-77 academic year at UK, dancing and entertaining thousands of UK fans at Commonwealth Stadium and Rupp Arena during athletics events. A few years later, Wildcat was joined by another cat — walking on stilts — which made its appearance during UK's twin-tower era of Melvin Turpin and Sam Bowie. Today, the original Wildcat mascot is joined by Scratch, which is a more child-friendly mascot and the Wildcat’s little brother.
Both mascots attend each home football game, basketball game, volleyball match and gymnastics meet in addition to cheering on UK at crucial home softball, baseball, swimming and diving, and soccer events. The Wildcat travels for away football games and postseason play for basketball and volleyball while also attending academic and community functions and generally serving as a friendly ambassador for the university.