STILLWATER, Okla. (KFOR) – Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has issued a proclamation to designate Oct. 28, 2023, as the 100th anniversary of Oklahoma State University’s beloved mascot, Pistol Pete.

Photograph of Frank Pistol Pete Eaton, age 91, Perkins, OK.
Photograph of Frank Pistol Pete Eaton, age 91, Perkins, OK. Photo by Pierre Tartoue, May 24, 1952. Image courtesy Oklahoma Historical Society.

According to the governor’s proclamation, Pistol Pete is modeled after Frank Boardman Eaton, a former cowboy, gunslinger, scout, trail rider and rumored deputy U.S. Marshal under Isaac Parker. 

OSU officials say after seeing Eaton lead the 1923 Armistice Day parade in Stillwater, a group of students from then-Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College asked permission to use his “Pistol Pete” persona as the symbol representing what they believed to be the true spirit of their school. 

Eaton relished his role as the original Cowboy. He was a regular fixture on campus as well as at athletic events.

After his death in 1958 at age 97, “Pistol Pete” was made the official mascot of OSU.

Since then, 96 men have stepped forward to carry on the “cowboy spirit” tradition and legacy, according to OSU. 

Oklahoma State University is celebrating the 100-year anniversary of Frank Eaton’s first appearance in Stillwater’s Armistice Day parade with The Year of the Cowboy campaign, which kicked off this fall and will continue into 2024.

The governor’s proclamation also coincides with OSU’s 2023 homecoming, which also carries “The Year of the Cowboy” theme and celebrates all things Pete.

Homecoming events begin Friday, Oct. 27 at 5:30 p.m. Learn more about the events on the OSU Alumni Association website.