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A large group of people stand on steps making the "Pistols Firing" hand gesture.
The delegation from Oklahoma State University poses at the State Capitol with alumni, students and legislators.

Capitol Cowboys Day brings OSU advocacy directly to state lawmakers

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Media Contact: Chase Carter | OSU Alumni Association | 405-744-2066 |

The largest university system in Oklahoma was well represented at the State Capitol Wednesday.

Hundreds of Oklahoma State University alumni, students and supporters arrived in orange to advocate for sustained investment in the state’s preeminent land-grant institution. Capitol Cowboys is a one-day event for members of the Cowboy family to create awareness and share their passion for OSU with state legislators. 

“OSU is an integral part of our lives, and advocating for that at the state level is so important," said Tinslee Allan, an OSU aviation management freshman. "We are the biggest university system in the state, and encouraging support from legislators is crucial for our success.” 

Approximately 100 current OSU students and 50 alumni from across the state visited with elected officials, emphasizing OSU's pivotal role in their lives and the importance of higher education in Oklahoma.

“Today, we’re talking about the importance of OSU Extension and the educators we have in all 77 counties of Oklahoma,” said H.J. Reed, an OSU alumnus. “Extension tends to get overlooked regardless of being around for more than 100 years. We need to keep investing to further OSU’s land-grant mission.”

The event included a pep rally in the Capitol rotunda with Cowboy football running back Ollie Gordon II, Pistol Pete, and the OSU Spirit Squad and Pep Band. Among the speakers were OSU President Kayse Shrum, OSU Alumni Association President Ann Caine and incoming Speaker of the House Kyle Hilbert — all OSU graduates.

“OSU and the Cowboy family serve the entire state of Oklahoma,” Dr. Caine told the crowd. “Your participation today ensures our elected officials recognize that significance.”

Dr. Shrum said OSU is dedicated to serving the state through its initiatives, outreach and research.

“From OSU Extension — with a presence in all 77 counties — to our statewide aerospace research paving the way in national defense and consumer use, along with the groundbreaking energy research at the Hamm Institute for American Energy, our focus on access to care and preventative strategies for better health care outcomes at OSU Medicine and the Human Performance and Nutrition Research Institute, as well as developing the next generation of Oklahoma’s workforce through OSU Polytech, we’re committed to making the lives of Oklahomans better and to keeping our Oklahoma economy strong,” Shrum said. “We are here today telling the OSU story.”

Rep. Hilbert offered high praise for his alma mater.

“When I think about OSU, I think about excellence,” Hilbert said. “Whether it's groundbreaking research in agriculture, aerospace, academically, with research, with Extension or athletically — what makes OSU stand out is our people.”

Shrum, Caine and OSU mascot Pistol Pete were recognized on the House and Senate floors, along with longtime Cowboy wrestling coach John Smith, who received standing ovations in both chambers. 

Smith, who recently announced his retirement after 33 years as coach, was recognized for his long and prestigious career as a wrestler and coach. Pistol Pete was celebrated following the 100th anniversary of Frank Eaton’s selection as OSU’s mascot in 1923.

For a full gallery of Capitol Cowboys Day, go to the OSU Flickr album.

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