By Don McAlavy
Starting at 10 a.m. today, the Clovis-Carver Public Library will display Bobby Wildcat for two weeks before he is taken back to Clovis High School.
Our 53-year-old stuffed-and-mounted CHS mascot is now in his own new glass case, courtesy of the CHS Class of 1953, which met in Clovis last weekend. When that class heard the Class of ’50 was going to make a glass case for the Wildcat, the Class of ’53 volunteered to pay the cost of that glass case. An auction was held last Saturday night at the ’53 Class reunion and, true to form, the 1953 classmates raised more than enough for the cause.
In the last few months a complete history of Bobby Wildcat surfaced after research by this columnist, with the help of other classmates. The CHS Class of 1950 received Bobby from Price Crume in the fall of 1949 during the football season.
Price Crume, of Kenna, was a federal trapper in eastern New Mexico who trapped 20,000 or more predator coyotes from 1938 to 1964. The cattlemen and sheepmen were glad to see Price Crume stop the coyotes from killing young calves and lambs. But once in a while a “Wildcat” was caught in one of the traps by accident. This cat was a large cat and Price Crume had T. A. King, taxidermist of Portales, prepare the cat for display for the Class of ’50. His son Elwyn was a graduate of the Class of 1948 and so Price Crume knew that the Clovis athletes were “Wildcats” because of their fighting spirit.
So, the Class of ’50 has always felt responsible for Bobby Wildcat. When the Wildcat was delivered to the old high school at Seventh and Main, the football players and the cheerleaders were there to welcome him with a “homecoming” ceremony.
Last March, I wrote a column for this newspaper on finding Bobby Wildcat in the ROTC building on a shelf.
At this time we did not know where the Wildcat came from or who gave it to the Class of ’50. We did learn that the Clovis High School athletic teams first began using the name “Wildcat” in 1924. Coach Rock Staubus came up with that name.
For some time now the mascot symbol of the Wildcats has been an abstract rendering of a wildcat head called a “Power Cat.” Bobby will soon share the CHS lobby with all the other high school trophies.
Principal Andy Sweet and Diane Jennings made it possible for the CHS Class of ’50 to borrow Bobby for dental work. Dr. Jerry Crook, CHS class of 1951, replaced a fang that Bobby had lost and secured another fang that was loose.
Jerry Trollinger, owner of Eastern New Mexico Glass Co., and Richard Cox, owner of Creative Woodworks, both of Clovis, built the glass and wooden case in which Bobby is displayed.
Four members of the Muffley Coffee Club — Russell Muffley, Jim Craven, Ray Adkins and I — have had the joyful task of moving the case, with Bobby in it, from one exhibit to another in the last few days. Gold-colored plaques to be put in the glass case are being made by City Printing to tell the story of Bobby and give credit to all those who helped.
Bobby Wildcat belongs to all the past and future students of Clovis High School. May he continue to be on exhibit at Clovis High School. All of us take pride in Bobby for what he symbolizes to all the Wildcat backers: forever a fighting wildcat!
Don McAlavy is a history buff who lives in Clovis.