Purdue Pete Alumni to be Recognized
Oct. 13, 2016


Purdue Petes
Expected Back

Chad Anderson, 2013-15
Ezra Becker, 2004-08
Jeff Bell, 1992-93
Robert Brumbaugh, 1956-57
James Butz, 1985-86
Jason Carey, 2013-15
Connor Chambers, current
Patrick Cottler, 1994-95
Brian Crane, 1993-96
Jon Dorsey, 1990-91
Adam Harger, 2000-01
Kirk Hornocker, 1988-89
Grant Hubbard, current
Jim Jenness, 1974-75
John Knote, 1958
Layne Koester, 2012-14
John Langenkamp, 2004-08
Chris Lynch, 1985-86
PJ Maniago, current
David McGaughey, 1981-84
Jim Mlynarski, 2009-12
Jeff Nagle, 2001-04
David Newton, 1988-89
Nathan Norris, 1996-98
Vernon Pratt, 2005-07
Karl Rebeck, 2006-10
Bill Rodkey, 1968-69
Danny Runyon, 2009-11
Ben Sheldon, current
Nicholas Sprecher, current
Jimmy Szafranski, 2014-16
Larry Tolle, 1961
Kevin Walburn, 1986-88
Andrew Walters, 2011-13
John Whittington, 1994-96
Shorty Whittington, 1967-68
Kevin Wissler, current

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue Athletics is celebrating the 60th anniversary of Purdue Pete throughout 2016-17.

As part of the festivities, Purdue alumni who have portrayed Pete will be acknowledged during Saturday's Homecoming football game against Iowa. The recognition is scheduled for the third media timeout of the second quarter.

Among the more than 30 Petes expected back is John Knote, who was the second Pete, in 1958. Larry Brunbaugh, who was the first-ever Pete, is deceased and will be represented by his family, including son Robert.

"One thing I have learned in my seven years at Purdue is how much pride is taken by the students who portray Purdue Pete," said Steve Solberg, spirit coordinator and head cheer coach. "They are representing something that's so much more than themselves. Their connection to the alumni and past is very strong, so being Purdue Pete means a lot, and they carry themselves that way every time they become Pete."

A boilermaker if ever there was one, Purdue Pete first took the field to cheer on the Old Gold and Black in 1956.

Initially, students with tumbling ability were chosen to portray Pete. In those days, Pete had a paper-mâché head and a bit of padding but was expected to tumble along with the cheerleaders.

Today, Pete's head is made out of a carbon fiber material and is crafted in the same aviation technology lab that produced the locomotive body of the X-tra Special. In addition to the head, the students who portray Pete wear shoulder pads and carry a hammer.

Pete got his start in 1940 as an advertising icon for University Bookstore, and he continues in that role. He first appeared outside bookstore ads in 1944, when editors of the Debris yearbook put an adapted Pete on each page. For instance, in the home economics section, Pete had a bucket and mop.

Purdue Pete lore is filled with tales of wrestling matches against opposing mascots and muggings by opposing fans. Once, on the way back from Iowa, Pete's head flew out of the back of the Boilermaker Special. It was never found.

Pete has changed with the times, boasting more than five makeovers during his years rooting on the Boilermakers.

Purdue Athletics has produced a Purdue Pete Bobblehead Series to celebrate the beloved icon. Five bobblehead representations of Purdue Pete from the original one to the current version are available as part of special ticket packages ranging across football, volleyball, men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball and softball games. For more information, click here.




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