Pistol Pete (New Mexico State University Athletics)

Since 2013, NMSU's athletics logo has been a caricature of Old West gunfighter and lawman Frank "Pistol Pete" Eaton, copied from that of Oklahoma State. Pistol Pete is portrayed by a NMSU student dressed in traditional cowboy attire, including a cowboy hat, a vest, and chaps, and armed with twirling pistols.[1] NMSU licenses Pistol Pete from Oklahoma State University for $10/year as part of a settlement of a copyright infringement lawsuit.[2]

Pistol Pete
ConferenceWAC / Sunbelt
DescriptionPerson in cowboy hat, vest, and chaps, twirling pistols
First seen1950s


Frank "Pistol Pete" Eaton, the inspiration for the mascot

The statue controversyEdit

A proposed new statue of Pistol Pete at the entrance of NMSU[3] was dropped in 2019 amid controversy, as some faculty opposed the statue as inappropriate.[4]

Lasso Larry DebacleEdit

Pistol Pete was disarmed in 2005 as part of a plan to rebrand the university on the national stage.[5] Pete's pistol was replaced with a lasso, and his name was briefly officially abbreviated to simply "Pete." The costumed mascot seen at games also lost his six shooters and holster belt in favor of a lasso.[6] The disarming of Pete led to a massive uproar among 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 criticized by Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly during his "Most Ridiculous Item of the Day" segment.[7] The most popular nickname given to the widely unpopular new mascot was "Lasso Larry."

Revival of Pistol PeteEdit

Pistol Pete at NMSU Military Appreciation Night

After one year the university revamped 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 logo to remove the lasso and once again depict Pistol Pete carrying pistols, and this is now the official athletics logo.


In 2009, the Pistol Pete mascot 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.[8]


  1. ^ "A new era for Pistol Pete at NMSU". New Mexico State University. October 1, 2012. Retrieved 2014-05-28.
  2. ^ "Oklahoma State University, New Mexico State University settle mascot" (PDF). New Mexico State University. December 4, 2014. Retrieved 2016-09-11.
  3. ^ "A New Look". Feb 26, 2019. Retrieved 2019-02-26.
  4. ^ "A Pistol Pete monument would be 'traumatic' to campus life". Feb 26, 2019. Retrieved 2019-02-26.
  5. ^ "New Mexico State might retire Pistol Pete". ESPN. May 29, 2005. Retrieved 2014-05-28.
  6. ^ "N.M. State's 'Pistol Pete' Losing Pistol". Fox News. August 15, 2005. Retrieved 2014-05-28.
  7. ^ FOXNews.com - The Truth About the Cindy Sheehan Situation - Bill O’Reilly | The O’Reilly Factor
  8. ^ "Pistol Pete suspended one game". ESPN. March 30, 2009. Retrieved 2014-05-28.

External linksEdit