One of the leading figures in the early days of women's bodybuilding, Wilbourn began heavy training in 1971. She competed in the first Women’s World Bodybuilding Championships in June 1979, finishing second to Lisa Lyon. In 1980 she won the title of Ms. California, then finished second by one point to Laura Combes at the NPC Nationals. She made one Ms. Olympia appearance, finishing 17th in the 1982 contest. Wilbourn was inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame in 2006.