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Being Purdue Pete

Purdue Pete running the team flag out against Michigan State.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Pictured above: Purdue Pete running the team flag out against Michigan State.

For the past three years, I have had the pleasure of representing Purdue University in a very unique way.  A special position given to just a select few students, I serve as the mascot for Purdue, known as Purdue Pete.  Now the title of being Purdue Pete means so much more than throwing on a uniform capped with a head made of carbon fiber on game days.  It symbolizes pride for this school, community, students, and as I have come to learn, a brotherhood strengthened through the years. 

The 2018-19 Purdue Pete team photo.The 2018-19 Purdue Pete team photo.

After a tryout in Purdue’s Cardinal Court my freshman year, I was eager to assume the position right away, but quickly realized there was much to learn.  Just as there are traditions for Pete like running the team out of the tunnel, there are traditions for Pete behind the mask, one is known as “Pete and Greet.”  The newly selected mascots are introduced to former Petes and bond over funny, memorable stories while being in suit.

Purdue Pete at this year’s Salute to Service football game.Purdue Pete at this year’s Salute to Service football game.

Over the years, I have drawn many parallels from being on a team of mascots and as a student.  As Krannert students, we are taught the fundamentals of managing people and money. As an athletic program, we manage a full schedule of Pete appearances throughout the week and a budget given allocated for props and other things like Pete’s scooter. The special part about being Pete is the opportunity to attend a variety of events throughout the year.  Attending community services events like the Lafayette Hunger Hike, building walls with Habitat for Humanity, or mingling at local schools is all part of the job.  Pete can show up anywhere on campus, from dancing at PUDM, to cheering on the Grand Prix, or congratulating Krannert’s scholarship recipients at a banquet.

As a program, we pull together a vast amount of video clips from the numerous events and put together a montage video sort of like a “year in review for Pete.”  The video contains moments from game day situations, fan interaction, campus involvement, community service, and interactions with cheerleaders or dance team members.  Annually, we submit this video to a national contest for mascots judged by the UCA governing body in hopes of attending a national mascot contest in Orlando.  Recently, Purdue Pete placed thirteenth in the country for all mascots.

671-workout.jpgPurdue Petes lifting with their strength coach on Halloween.

Purdue Pete has granted my teammates and I countless memories such as travelling across the country to San Francisco for the Foster Farms Bowl, Madison Square Garden for the Big Ten tournament, or to the Wisconsin Dells for a cheer and mascot camp.  Today, I am roommates with two other Purdue Petes, a convenience for prop building and morning team workouts.  If you are interested in joining a lifelong brotherhood, contact Spirit Squad coordinator, Steve Solberg,, about Purdue Pete tryouts on February 2nd.


Nick Sprecher is a senior from Pittsboro, Indiana majoring in Industrial Management with a concentration in Operations and Supply Chain Management. He is actively involved with ZBT fraternity and School of Management Council, and is President of Gimlet Leadership Honorary. He will begin working for PepsiCo as a Warehouse Operations Supply Chain Analyst following graduation in May.


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