Pioneer Pete comes alive

Shelby LeDuc, General Reporter

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s official mascot, Pioneer Pete, made his first in-person debut in more than two decades during the men’s home basketball game Saturday.

Following the first full time out, a spirit tunnel was created for the mascot’s unveiling.  Pioneer Pete awaited his cue and then emerged from a court side door, welcomed by applause and cheers from fans.

“I am extremely happy with the unveiling,” said Paul Erickson, UW-Platteville’s Director and Public Information Officer.  “I think Pioneer Pete was well received.”

The mascot’s design was created after results were tabulated from a 2011 campus mascot survey.  The pioneer and the minor nearly tied with 85 and 90 percent of the vote and beat out the other two options, a horse and a dog.  Multiple committees worked to combine the two winning mascots into the Pioneer Pete that exists today.

The final stylized Pioneer Pete drawing was sent to a designing company to create the official the mascot costume.

“The very first photos we received of the mascot costume were not up to university standards,” Erickson said.

With all of the hype on campus surrounding the mascot, Erickson along with the committees wanted to create a mascot that exceeded all expectations and one that would divert any negative feedback, such as the “Old West Settler” from decades prior.  Thus, they had to explore other options.

“It took a lot of people and a lot of time to create this finished product,” Erickson said.  “I am happy to have worked with committees that care so much about success.”

As for now, it looks like Pioneer Pete is going to have a very busy schedule.  He can be seen walking around campus, exploring the Markee Pioneer Student Center, making appearances at new student orientations and pumping up the crowd during sporting events.

Now that Pioneer Pete has come alive, he adds a facet to the overall school spirit at UW-Platteville.

“Pioneer Pete represents the university,” Erickson said.  “When you see him, you know it’s UW-Platteville.  I hope this all brings a sense of pride.”

For those wondering who is inside the mascot costume, Erickson advises, “Let’s just say that whoever puts on the costume becomes Pioneer Pete.”