Cowboy, U.S. Marshal, gun-slinger, and blacksmith, Frank “Pistol Pete” Eaton served as the inspiration for Oklahoma State University’s Pistol Pete mascot. Approached in 1923 by a group of Oklahoma A&M students after leading Stillwater’s Armistice Day Parade, Eaton, a rugged cowboy serving at the time as sheriff in the nearby town of Perkins, Oklahoma, agreed to be represented as the mascot. It was not until 1958, however, that the mascot was made official and not until 1984 that the Pistol Pete caricature became a licensed symbol of OSU.
In 1958 an OSU student was chosen to don the head created in Eaton's image and dress in traditional cowboy gear. Beginning in 1967 there were generally two students chosen to share the task of transforming themselves into Pistol Pete at sporting events and university gatherings, which can total more than 400 appearances a year.
In 2008 those who have worn the Pistol Pete head gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the mascot. At that time, a number of these men were interviewed by the Oklahoma Oral History Research Program at the OSU Library about their experiences “being Pete” and are featured in this web resource.