Get to Know The Man Behind The ‘Stache’


Christian Iglesias

Pistol Pete At The NMSU Men’s Basketball Game.

Pistol Pete is an adored public figure not just for New Mexico State University, but for southern New Mexico. The iconic character that portrays the traditional cowboy look is recognized by many. Pistol Pete is portrayed by a NMSU student dressed in old-fashioned cowboy attire, with a cowboy hat, a vest, chaps, and armed with twirling pistols.

Pistol Pete is commonly seen at just about every athletic home game taking pictures with fans of all ages and electrifying the crowd with his impressive twirling of the pistols. Pistol Pete brings a light to every stadium, gym, or building housed with true fans of New Mexico State. He also takes part in community events, organizations and is part of the spirit squad for the NMSU cheerleading team.

Who is the man behind the mustache you might ask? His name is Emmett Freeman a freshman here at New Mexico State University and he is majoring in animal science. He is a full time student that balances homework, endless practice hours, staying in shape and attends games or events as much as possible whiling holding a stable GPA.

Freeman attended Centennial High School where he stepped outside of his comfort zone and volunteered to be “Hank the Hawk”, Centennials mascot. Freeman says, “My senior year of high school, I decided to put myself into a position where I was still in an athletic atmosphere, but was not obligated to be a part of a team sport.”

With one year of experience under his belt, and being a freshly faced freshman at NMSU, Freeman decided to continue his mascot calling and attended try outs for the position of Pistol Pete. The tryouts are conducted with the spirit team for the NMSU cheerleaders

Freeman talks about the courage he built up to try out for Pistol Pete. He says, “As graduation approached quickly, I didn’t want to just give up on my mascot career. I had talked to the NMSU Cheer Coach, Jessica Covington, and she encouraged me to try out. One thing led to another, and now I’m here.”

Freeman’s experiences have been a whirl wind of a series of encounters and events. He has been put into so many unexpected situations that has never crossed his mind as a student portraying Pistol Pete. His craziest experience was being the guest of honor at a wedding that was held in Corbett Center. He has also attended many volleyball and football home games, the first soccer home game, and a cheer camp in Las Vegas. He also said that he proudly attended events for the NMSU Alumni.

Portraying Pistol Pete comes with countless amounts of smiles on fans faces. Freeman is humbly honored to give the fans of Las Cruces an up close experience with the one and only Pistol Pete and give autographs and hugs.

He says, “The highlight of being Pete is of course the kids. When I give an autograph to a young fan, it fills my body with joy watching them look at the paper as if it was signed by a celebrity like Miley Cyrus or Luke Bryan.”

As Pistol Pete, his focus is to pump up the crowd, making sure him and the cheerleaders and sun dancers are representing NMSU, while also portraying the character of a true gun slingin’ cowboy. All the student representatives of the college really try to focus on carrying the traditions of the university while also implementing new ones such as the Pistol Pete Pushups at the home football games.

The fall semester is approaching its final month; Freeman has been able to get some experience up close with the fans of NMSU. A personal favorite thing to do is of course prize tosses. At athletic events such as the volleyball, football or basketball games, organizations across campus give free prizes and items to promote, market and advertise.

Pistol Pete along with the cheerleaders get the crowd going by teasing the crowd with T-shirts or foam balls and even food. Fans of all ages run down the stairs in the Pan Am or Aggie Stadium to get any of these free items. Freeman says he enjoys this very much because the excitement builds and it is a fun time.

During athletic events especially it is key to keep the crowd entertained. Pistol Pete is seen interacting with fans, taking pictures, and showing off his impressive pistol twirls. Freeman has a go to weapon that he believes keeps the crowd entertained.

He says, “I like to think that my dancing encourages the crowd to join along and cut a rug. When the dance cam features the spirited crowd, I make it a point to put someone on the spot when they are sitting like a lump on a log by doing my extravagant dance moves next to them.”

Freeman is one of three students that portrays the effortless Pistol Pete. Pistol Pete represents New Mexico State University with his constant enthusiasm during sporting events or public appearances. This is the man proudly behind the ‘stauche’.

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