Pistol Pete (New Mexico State University)

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Pistol Pete
University New Mexico State University
Conference WAC
Description Person in cowboy hat, vest, and chaps, twirling pistols
First seen 1950s

Pistol Pete is the mascot for the New Mexico State Aggies, the athletic teams of New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA. Pistol Pete is portrayed by a NMSU student dressed in traditional cowboy attire; a cowboy hat, vest, and chaps, twirling pistols.[1]


Frank Eaton, the inspiration for Pistol Pete

For many years, NMSU's athletics logo was a caricature of Old West gunfighter Frank "Pistol Pete" Eaton which was identical to the logo used by Oklahoma State. The current athletics logo was initially designed in 2005 as part of a controversial plan to remake the university's image on the national stage;[2] Pete's pistol was replaced with a lasso, and his name was briefly officially abbreviated to simply "Pete." In addition to the new logo, the costumed mascot seen at games was also given a new look, losing his six shooters and holster belt in favor of a lasso.[3] The disarming of Pete led to a massive uproar among students, alumni and outsiders demanding the return of Pete's guns. Popular t-shirts worn around campus featured the old Pistol Pete logo modified to show an oversized gun in his hand, with the slogan “Who Brings a Lasso to a Gunfight?” The decision was even criticized by Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly during his "Most Ridiculous Item of the Day" segment.[4] The most popular nickname given to the widely unpopular new mascot was "Lasso Larry." After one year the university removed the cartoonish mascot in favor of a real student dressed in more traditional cowboy attire, carrying a holster belt and six shooters, and wearing a black cowboy hat. The "Pistol Pete" name was also restored. In 2007, NMSU modified the "Lasso Larry" logo to remove the lasso and once again depict Pistol Pete carrying pistols, and this is now the official athletics logo.

In 2009, Pistol Pete was suspended for one game by the Western Athletic Conference for fighting with Utah State's mascot, Big Blue, during a 2009 WAC Men's Basketball Tournament game.[5]


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