WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — He has been a mainstay at football and basketball games as well as other athletic events over the last half century and this year, Purdue Pete, the beloved mascot, will be celebrating his 60th year representing Purdue University.
A celebration of Purdue Pete’s time on the sidelines of Boilermaker athletic events will be highlighted during a reunion which is planned for Homecoming weekend Oct. 14-15 for current and former students who have portrayed Pete over the 60 years as a sideline character.
A total of 81 different students have served as Pete since 1956, and 79 of them are still alive. More than 20 are expected to return to campus for a reunion the night before the Homecoming game vs. Iowa.
“Purdue Pete has been an icon at Purdue athletics events since 1956,” says Steve Solberg, the Intercollegiate Athletics’ advisor/coach for the cheerleaders and Pete’s. “It’s amazing how people’s faces light up when they see Pete and get a picture with him. Purdue athletics is very lucky to have such a well-known and iconic character, who is loved by the fan base, roaming the venues.”
Several local businesses in the Lafayette/ West Lafayette area are marking the event with sales of specialty items. Earlier this year a series of bobble head Pete’s were produced showing five variations of Pete as he has evolved through the years. Those Pete’s are being used by Intercollegiate Athletics for ticket promotions at select events throughout the school year.