Facts & Figures
The original Pistol Pete mascot head was made of papier-mache and is on exhibit at Gallagher-Iba Arena. The current fiberglass heads were designed by Walt Disney props people, and each is insured for $20,000.

A Pete head weighs 35-40 pounds.

The Pistol Pete mascots carry registered Ruger Blackhawk .357 Magnum revolvers, loaded with 9mm blanks. Each Pete takes a gun safety course.

Best Mascot
Pistol Pete defeated Benny the Bull in ESPN and Doug Gottlieb's Mascot Madness to become the top collegiate or professional mascot in the U.S. in April 2010!

Pete was ranked No. 5 in the collegiate bracket of 32 and defeated Virginia Tech's Hokie Bird, Michigan State's Sparty, Notre Dame's Leprechaun, Bevo of Texas and Ralphie the Buffalo of Colorado to be named the top collegiate mascot.

The final race against the Chicago Bulls' mascot was much closer but Pete prevailed thanks to more than 20,000 votes from loyal and true OSU alumni and supporters.

Pistol Pete - More than a Mascot

A tradition was born in the early 1920’s when OSU (then Oklahoma A&M College) began searching for a new mascot to replace the Tigers. The true roots of Pistol Pete go back more than a century ago. Pistol Pete is more than a character, he is a legend.

The character of OSU’s mascot, Pistol Pete, originated from an actual person named Frank B. Eaton. Eaton’s life began in 1860 in Hartford, Connecticut. Soon after his birth, Eaton and his family moved to Kansas shortly after the Civil War.

Eaton's life would take a dramatic turn at the age of eight when he witnessed the murder of his father by six vigilantes. From that moment on, Eaton was determined to even the score. He practiced his marksmanship until the age of 15, when he set out to search for his father’s
killers. It took Eaton more than five years to track down and kill the men who had taken his father away, forever changing the course of his life.

The title of “cowboy” came naturally to Eaton as indicated in the roles in which he served throughout his life. Eaton was given the nickname of “Pistol Pete” after beating out many cavalry competitors in a marksmanship contest at Ft. Gibson. He served as a U.S. Deputy Marshall under “hanging judge” Isaac Parker. Later in his life Eaton owned a blacksmith shop which served the surrounding communities.

In 1923, Eaton headed Stillwater's Armistice Day Parade. At the parade's end, Oklahoma A&M's search for a new mascot was over.

For thirty-five years, the crusty old cowboy was a living symbol of OSU, representing the colorful past of the area. As such, he would attend OSU athletic events, building dedications, etc., and sign autographs, pose for photographs and reminisce about the Old West with anyone who would listen.

Eaton died in Perkins in 1958 at the age of 97. That same year Charlie Lester was the first student to appear as OSU’s first Pistol Pete mascot with the famous head.

The spirited image of a tough, proud, self-reliant cowboy triggered by Eaton became a cartoon drawing. The new mascot was easily woven into campus life, but it was not until 1984 that official sanction would be given to the emblem and its "Pistol Pete" moniker. By then, the Cowboys had already been settled into 60 years of vocabularies and print, spilling over into the general references to the student body, alumni, faculty and fans.

Each year, 10 to 15 OSU students try out for Pistol Pete. A panel of former "Petes" judge the tryouts and select the two best candidates based on an interview, a mime, and posing as mascot in different "game situations". The two who are selected split the approximately 500 appearances annually, including all athletic events, pep rallies, business openings, weddings, birthday parties, and public school events.

Where Frank B. Eaton served as a strong symbol of the Old West then, “Pistol Pete” serves as a symbol of the cowboy spirit now and forever.
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