When I was in college, I served as Oklahoma State University's mascot, Pistol Pete. At the bottom of this page, on the right is a picture of me during that time. I had a wonderful experience, met tons of great people, became closer to my alma mater (OSU), and learned a lot. One thing I learned was that most OSU students (and many alumni) don't know much about the 'real' Pistol Pete.
So after I graduated, I set out to find out more about Pistol Pete and share that information with others. I spent around 8 years researching his life, and at the end, nominated him for recognition by the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. In 1996, he received that recognition.
Pistol Pete is modeled after a real man who lived in Oklahoma beginning just after the close of the Civil War, and ending with his death in 1958. Francis Boardman "Frank" Eaton was his real name, but he was better known as Pistol Pete. That name was given to him for his accuracy with and willingness to use his .45 caliber pistols.
When Frank was eight years old, his father was shot and killed in front of his eyes. A friend of Frank's father challenged him to avenge his father's death and taught him how to use a gun. Frank took the challenge, became an excellent marksman, tracked down and killed the men, and along the way became a Deputy U.S. Marshal, and then... a legend.
In 1923, he was asked and gave permission for his likeness to be the model for the mascot of Oklahoma State University. For over 50 years, he was a living symbol of both a university and an icon - the cowboy!
He died in 1958, and later that year, students began dressing up and posing as Pistol Pete. Today, two students are chosen each year to handle all the requests the university receives for the mascot to attend university activities, athletic events and alumni functions.
More on Pistol Pete on the OSU Athletics web site.
Here's an interview I did about the process of trying out for Pistol Pete
Here's a photo of Frank Eaton, taken in the 1950's.
Here's a pic of me when I was Pistol Pete