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Northwest Missouri State University


In 1926, Northwest's mascot looked more like a bear than a bearcat.In 1939, Bobby Bearcat looked a lot like the classic cartoon character Felix the Cat.Bobby Bearcat looked like a sleek and realistic panther during the 1947 Homecoming Parade.In a newspaper drawing in 1948, Bobby looked like a warm and fuzzy house cat with a beaver-like tail.By 1951, Bobby had taken on a decidedly playboy like persona and his appearance resembled the cat from the classic Tom and Jerry cartoons.By 1959, Bobby was being shown in athletic gear such as a basketball uniform.A fierce-looking, tiger-like Bobby was sported on 1959 basketball jerseys and football jackets.Bobby was depicted in the 1959 Tower Yearbook as a curious, cartoon feline.  Once again, his appearance resembled the cat from the classic Tom and Jerry cartoons.A studious Bobby also appears in the 1959 Tower Yearbook wearing blue jeans and jacket.Bobby appears in a 1960 newspaper article wearing overalls and carrying builder plans and a slide ruler.  His appearance is very much cartoon and domestic cat-like.Bobby Bearcat received an official makeover in 1977.Bonnie Carlisle, the wife of Northwest's Director of Placement Services, was charged with creating Bobby's new image by Northwest's Sports Information Director, Mike Kiser.After Bobby's office makeover, his appearance was cartoon-like and playfully kittenish.Bobby met and married Betty Bearkitten in 1977.The cute, kittenish and very athletic Betty Bearcat wears a Northwest women's basketball uniform.Betty dribbles a basketball as a member of Northwest's winning women's basketball team.Betty loved sports, participating not only in basketball, but in Northwest gymnastics as well.Betty Bearcat was also a member of Northwest's 1977 women's softball team.Bobby helps with school spirit during a 1977 football game, urging the crowd to cheer for the Bearcats.Bobby welcomes new students to Northwest outside the J.W. Jones Student Union.  Bobby's appearance was fuzzy and almost teddy-bear-like.Bobby Bearcat hugs some children during the 1977 Homecoming Parade. Bobby's appearance became less fuzzy and teddy-bear-like in the 1980s.  Bobby also began wearing athletic apparel.Bobby helps promote school spirit at a Northwest basketball game in 1987.  Bobby sometimes went shirtless between 1986 and 1987.Bobby Bearcat demonstrates his athletic process at a 1988 football game.Bobby officially received a new look in 1989 and this new Bobby became an official logo.  Bobby is muscular and tough-looking even without pants.A variation of the official Bobby sported fierce claws and dragon-like wings.Bobby Bearcat the Mascot gets a new, fiercer yet more refined appearance in the 1990s.  He also begins wearing his Northwest 00 jersey.Bobby stands confidently wearing his 00 jersey in a Northwest Missourian article.Bobby waves a Bearcat flag during a Football game.  Bobby wears overalls over his classic 00 jersey.During Northwest Day at the Missouri Legislature in Jefferson City in 2004, President Dean Hubbard consults his notes as Bobby Bearcat looks on.By the year 2000, Bobby Bearcat had evolved into a friendly, but fierce and muscular mascot wearing a full Northwest football uniform.  In fact, following the back-to-back Bearcat Football National Championship wins (1998-1999), Bobby was rarely seen out of a football uniform.  The picture shown is of a variation of the more athletic Bobby look, ca. 2007.Bobby waves his official Bearcat flag during half-time at the 2007 Homecoming football game in Bearcat Stadium.Bobby runs down Mel Tjeerdsma Field waving his flag to a cheering crowd of spectators during the 2007 Homecoming Football Game.Bobby inspires the crowd during the 2007 Homecoming game wearing his official 00 football uniform.Bobby greets a future Bearcat during the 2007 Homecoming Football Game in Bearcat Stadium.Bobby rides on a fire truck during the 2007 Northwest Homecoming Parade.  Jake Phillips was Bobby from 2003 to 2006 and Bryan Williams was Bobby in the parades from 2008 to 2009.Bobby welcomes a new president to Northwest Missouri State University.  Dr. John Jasinski took leadership of the university in 2009.

Bobby Bearcat

Prior to Bobby Bearcat, Mike the Dog was Northwest's first mascot. By 1920, however, the "Bearcat" had become the official mascot and athletic logo. The first representations of the Bearcat fluctuated between a very realistic like cat to a very realistic like bear.

The first Bobby Bearcat costume, worn by Coach Vinnie Vaccaro, was created by the Art Department in the late 1960s and made of fiberglass. The next Bobby costume consisted of only a white felt head and mittens fashioned by a local Maryville seamstress.

In the mid-to-late 1970s, Bobby met Betty "Roberta" Bearkitten and married her, making her Betty Bearcat. In the 1980s, Bobby received a makeover with a furry and more huggable costume made of yellow faux fur. In the late 1990s, Bobby while still kid-friendly, became fiercer and was never out of his official Northwest football or basketball uniform.