LCSN: Two freshmen picked to fill the boots of NMSU mascot Pistol Pete

April 28, 2012. Retrieved online April 30, 2012 from Lauren E. Toney, For the Sun-News, Las Cruces Sun-News

AggieVision: Pistol Pete Tryouts

LAS CRUCES — Two New Mexico State University freshmen won the title of Pistol Pete following tryouts Saturday at the Pan American Center, and will go on to serve as the gun-toting, mustachioed face of Aggie athletics during the upcoming academic year.

The search was on for two enthusiastic, energetic and crowd-pleasing students to fill Pistol Pete’s cowboy boots as the NMSU seniors who have pumped up Aggie fans for the last two years prepare to graduate in May, said NMSU cheerleading coach Jessica Franklin-Covington, who runs the mascot tryouts.

Three NMSU freshmen, Joaquin Acosta, Conlan Burk and Victoria Arrowsmith, were up for the challenge, performing two-minute skits before a panel of judges at the Pan American Center’s practice gym.

Acosta and Burk, dressed in Pete’s cowboy hat, chaps, vest, double-holster, and wearing bushy fake mustaches, were selected by judges to take on the role of NMSU mascot.

“We wanted to see that there was time and effort put into the skit, continuity with the music, crowd appeal, eye contact and that they looked the part,” Franklin-Covington explained. “Living in the Southwest, we all have this image of who Pistol Pete is, so we wanted them to resemble the mascot we all know so well.”

Burk and Acosta fit the bill, she said, as two of the tallest and largest-built Pete’s the university has seen in recent years.

Pistol Pete also earns a scholarship from the NMSU Alumni Association worth $2,500 per academic year.

Conlan Burk, 20, a freshman in the PGA Golf Management™ Program, waves his pistols in the air while taking his shot to be the next Pistol Pete. (Robin Zielinski/Sun-News)

Conlan Burk, 20, a freshman in the PGA Golf Management™ Program, waves his pistols in the air while taking his shot to be the next Pistol Pete. (Robin Zielinski/Sun-News)

Already an enthusiastic NMSU sports fan, Burk, a freshman in the PGA Golf Management™ Program, plans to take his passion for pumping up the crowd from the bleachers to a whole new level this fall.

“I can get pretty loud at the games,” he admitted. “I always try to get the student section going.”

Witnessing his spirit, Burk said fellow golf management students encouraged him to try out for the mascot title.

“Everyone in the program told me I just had to be Pistol Pete,” he said.

But earning the title didn’t come without its challenges.

“Doing a skit in front of a whole panel was definitely a new experience for me,” he said. “And I didn’t find out until last night that I needed to have a skit prepared, so I could feel my nerves kicking in before (the audition).”

Performing to “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” with a large Pistol Pete cutout, Burk displayed his country charm while getting the judges fired up at his audition.

“I admit, I’m more of a raw, unfinished talent,” Burk quipped to judges during the interview portion of his audition. “I have a lot of energy, though.”

He also said that demonstrating positive values and morals and being a good role model were aspects of the job that he plans to take seriously.

Read the Las Cruces Sun-News article

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