HOME ~ College Football History
Many factors contribute to the "college experience" - not the least of
which is gaining a feeling of belonging and a sense of loyalty to the
school, it's faculty and staff, the community that embraces the
university, and the athletic teams that compete to garner conference and
Wearing school colors and displaying emblems of the university are
life-long symbols of allegiance. For Oklahoma State, Orange Peel and
Homecoming are yearly celebrations that bring much activity and
excitement. Here, we explore the stories behind Oklahoma State's
mascots, symbols, celebrations, traditions and spirit organizations.
From the 1890s on, Oklahoma A&M sports teams had been referred to as the
Agriculturists or Aggies, the Farmers, and officially but unpopular,
the Tigers. But by 1924 Charles Saulsberry, sports editor of the
Oklahoma City Times, and other writers who regularly covered college
events had begun to refer to Stillwater’s teams as the A&M Cowboys. The
Athletic Council authorized Athletic Director Edward C. Gallagher to
have 2,000 balloons printed, “Oklahoma Aggies – Ride ‘Em Cowboy” for
sale at football games in 1926.
The nickname was quickly adopted, yielding a genuine identity that had
long been lacking on campus and around the community. Around 1923, an
early U.S. deputy marshal, Frank B. “Pistol Pete” Eaton, headed
Stillwater’s Armistice Day Parade. At the parade’s end, the search for a
replacement for the Tigers was over.
The spirited image of a tough, proud, self-reliant cowboy triggered by
Eaton became a cartoon drawing. The new mascot was easily woven into
campus life, but it was not until 1984 that official sanction would be
given to the emblem and its “Pistol Pete” moniker. By then, the Cowboys
had already been settled into 60 years of vocabularies and print,
spilling over into the general references to the student body, alumni,
faculty and fans.
For thirty-five years, the crusty old cowboy was a living symbol of OSU,
representing the colorful past of the area. As such, he would attend OSU
athletic events, building dedications, etc., and sign autographs, pose
for photographs and reminisce about the Old West with anyone who would
A new tradition began last year when first-year head coach Les Miles
rejoined the OSU football program. The night before football games, the
team stays in the Atherton Hotel at the Student Union. On game day, two
hours and fifteen minutes prior to the start of the game, the team walks
down Hester Street to Lewis Field. Coach Miles leads the spirited
parade, followed by the OSU Marching band, the spirit squad, and, of
course, the players. Fans already at the stadium gather on the side of
the road and cheer their Cowboys on to victory at Lewis Field. This new
tradition has quickly become a favorite of Cowboy fans, creating a new
and exciting way for the team to enter the stadium.
Fight Song Lyrics
(Cowboys a riding,
Under the western sky.
And as they ride,
We rise to sing and shout our battle cry!)
Ride, ride, ride, ride,
Ride ’em Cowboys,
Right down the field;
Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!
Fight ’em Cowboys, and never yield.
Ride, ride, ride, ride,
Ride on, Cowboys, to victory;
Cross (opponent)’s goal;
Then we’ll sing “O-kla-homa State!”
OSU Alma Mater
This OSU hymn is played at twenty past the hour by the Library Carillon
on campus. Whenever OSU faithful gather, alums use their arms to spell
the letters O-S-U on the final three notes of the song. And all Cowboys
know the left arm is up on the "S"!
Proud and immortal
Bright Shines Your Name
We Herald Your Fame
Ever You’ll Find Us
Loyal and True
To Our Alma Mater