OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The man who inspired the creation of an Oklahoma mascot has been inducted into the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.
Pistol Pete, Oklahoma State University’s mascot, originated from an actual person named Frank B. Eaton. Eaton was born in 1860 and moved to Kansas shortly after the Civil War.
When he was just 8-years-old, Eaton witnessed his father’s murder by six vigilantes. After the murder, Eaton sought revenge and practiced his marksmanship until he was 15-years-old.
At that point, he went searching for his father’s killers. It took him five years to track down and kill all of the men. He earned the nickname ‘Pistol Pete’ after beating cavalry competitors in a marksmanship contest.
He served as a U.S. Deputy Marshall and was a part of OSU’s Homecoming Parade in the 1920s.
Organizers say he was riding in the 1923 Armistice Day parade in Stillwater when he was noticed by a group of Oklahoma A&M College students. The students though he would be a great mascot.
In 1958, the same year Eaton died, Pistol Pete became the official mascot of OSU.
Eaton’s family and 28 former Pistol Pete mascots were on hand to accept the award as Eaton was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners.
“On behalf of the Eaton family and all of our wonderful Pistol Petes from the university, it’s our great privilege to accept this award for Frank ‘Pistol Pete’ Eaton,” said Dinah Wagner, Eaton’s granddaughter who accepted the award from Cowboy poet Waddie Mitchell and musician Red Steagall. “Our sincerest thanks to everyone who made this possible. We’d also like to congratulate and acknowledge the other inductees for their unique roles and their contributions to Western culture. I would like to thank the Western Heritage Museum for this wonderful honor and for organizing this most lovely evening.”