Pioneer Pete: unmasked

Anna Mullendore, features writer

Inside the hot and bulky suit contains the face of the Pioneer mascot. He runs, he jumps, he cheers. Kory Petter is Pioneer Pete.

Besides cheering and being present at every game, Petter’s responsibilities go far beyond getting the crowd excited. According to Lauren Green, Spanish teacher and Pep Club sponsor, Pete is the ultimate representation of spirit, and she considers Petter the best man to complete the role. Pioneer Pete is visible at every game and is the symbol for Kirkwood, Green said. Petter believes Pioneer Pete is a unique way to represent the high school and to display his Kirkwood spirit.

“There’s only one Pioneer Pete and I’m him,” Petter, senior, said. “We need someone to be the face of Kirkwood and that is Pioneer Pete.”

Two years ago his brother, Kyle, was Pioneer Pete although he graduated in 2014. Kory admired the memories Kyle had as Pioneer Pete and decided to take over the job. Besides attending the football games as Pioneer Pete, Petter is involved in numerous KHS activities such as Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and boys’ varsity volleyball.

According to Joelle Pruitt, senior and Pep Club member, when Petter participates in and attends other sports he is always willing to give his best effort. Petter also participates in church events, Venture Scouts and Eagle Scouts.

At the games, Petter and the rest of Pep Club do push-ups for every point Kirkwood scores. They run red banners spelling out “Kirkwood” in large white letters to pump up the crowd and even walk out with the team at the start of the game to support them. During the game Petter enjoys getting the crowd involved and excited to show Kirkwood spirit, along with interacting with the young children.

“I try to take pictures with the kids and smile and wave at them. [The best part] is to cheer peoples’ days up and to make them happy,” Petter said.

According to Pruitt, Petter always has the best attitude; she has never seen him upset. Petter calls himself the shy, innocent high school kid and that portrait of sweetness is exactly how our school mascot should be.

“Kory is one of the sweetest kids I’ve met and brings such a positive attitude,” Green said. “I wish [everyone] could see his smile behind that big head that he wears, because he is always smiling. He is so excited to be Pioneer Pete and does a great job showing how excited he is for Kirkwood.”

The costume allows him to do whatever he wants, including running around and being wild. Petter said he is the same person under the costume, but he can be quiet and crazy at the same time. He feels the excitement and thrill knowing Pioneer Pete is a new persona he can take on, one differing from his “nice” boy mentality.

“No one knows who [I am behind the costume] and I can be whoever I want; it’s a mystery,” Petter said.