Wilberta comes out of retirement to root on the Cassville Wildcats

Thursday, September 11, 2008
Margie Chandler, of Cassville, poses with Wilberta outside of the Chez Notre gift shop. Wilberta, who was well known about town in the 1960s and 1970s when she modeled clothes for Johnston's Hardware, was brought out of retirement to help cheer on the Wildcats. Democrat Photo

A 48-year-old former model has returned to downtown Cassville to help cheer on the Wildcats this fall.

On football Fridays, Wilberta, as she's affectionately known, can be spotted outside Chez Notre gift shop on Main Street wearing a black and gold Cassville cheerleading uniform.

Wilberta is a mannequin that has been brought out of storage by sisters Mrytle Kimble and Linda Anstaett who own Chez Notre and are both Cassville High School graduates.

Originally, Wilberta could be spotted in the window at Johnston's Hardware wearing the latest 1960s and 70s fashions. Upon her retirement, she was given to Grantham Earl, an employee at Johnston's who later gave the mannequin to Wilbur Boley, whose first wife used it as a form for making clothes.

"After my sister Jeannie married Wilbur, we found her (the mannequin) standing in an unused bedroom and fell in love with her," said Kimble.

Boley gave the mannequin to the sisters for them to use as a model for handbags, jewelry, shoes and other women's accessories.

"We named her Wilberta after Wilbur, who passed away in April," said Kimble. Wilbur also happens to be the name of Cassville's mascot.

The Cassville cheerleading uniform that Wilberta now wears and the pom poms she proudly carries were donated by supporters of the Cassville Wildcats.

"We think Wilberta is about 48 years old but she holds her age well and still looks good in a cheerleading uniform," said Kimble.

Wilberta has been placed on wheels so she can be rolled in and out of the store for every football game. Each week she'll be holding a sign that reads "Home" or "Away."

"We hope this will help everyone know where the team is playing and maybe encourage people to go," added Kimble.

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