Paydirt Pete is UTEP’s prospector mascot.
The first mascot of the school was a student dressed as a prospector leading a burro named Clyde. After the school’s president Dr. Joseph Ray expressed dismay over the creature’s sorry appearance, Clyde was retired in 1966 for a better looking burro named Henry.
The name Paydirt Pete originated in 1974 after coming out on top of a contest that yielded over 500 entries. Pete got a makeover in 1980 and was nicknamed Sweet Pito, but, like poor Clyde the burro, was not very popular, so Paydirt Pete’s current look was introduced.
That Paydirt Pete was meaner-looking, had a bit of a swagger, and chomped on a cigar.
Pete has since undergone a few renovations, he’s since given up smoking and the Paydirt Pete we know today was introduced in 2004.