Former Pistol Pete gets his girl
Posted: Oct 07, 2014
As Pistol Pete at Oklahoma State University, Derick Dillard learned how to deal with the public’s attention. The former local celebrity has turned into an international star with People magazine featuring his love story with Jill Duggar from the TLC television show "19 Kids and Counting."
The reality program documents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar’s family with the eighth season focusing on Jill and Derick’s wedding planning. The show airs on TLC at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Stillwater with the season covering dress shopping to cake tasting. For Jill’s parents, it’s an emotional journey of giving away their first daughter in marriage and bittersweet as the family starts to realize that she will be leaving the close-knit clan to start her own family. Dillard said he looks at the television show "as a ministry to point others to Christ."
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Growing up in Rogers, Arkansas, Dillard followed his parents footsteps to college at Oklahoma State University in 2007. His home was full of Pistol Pete and OSU souvenirs, as his father, a former Stillwater police officer, was also Pistol Pete in the 1970s, making them the first father-son set of Petes. As an accounting major, he lived in Bennett Hall his first two years of school, played trumpet in the marching band and spirit band - mostly to get into basketball games - and pledged Beta Alpha Psi. Some of his best friends were active with him in the Baptist Collegiate Ministry. His dad, the late Rick Dillard, died before Derick could share the news that he wanted to try out for Pistol Pete, too. But, the first time he tried out for Pete, he didn’t succeed,
"I saw it as a challenge. It motivated me," Derick said. "I talked to former Petes, especially with the 50th anniversary celebration (2008) with all the Petes coming back at homecoming. I got the opportunity to connect with them and learn more about what it means to be Pete."
The second time around, he proved himself worthy to represent OSU as the mascot.
"It was the first time a father and son had become Pistol Pete," Derick said. "I took that to heart, my job. I wanted to do my best."
More than a year after his father’s passing, Derick now shared a unique bond with him.
"The thing about Petes and former Petes is that it is almost like a fraternity of men who have portrayed Oklahoma State’s mascot," Derick said.
Between school requirements and the 200-plus appearances as Pete each year for different events, Derick played a careful balancing act to stay on top of it all – skills that help him everyday now as a reality TV star and tax accountant for WalMart. He was used to television cameras with ESPN doing a story on the man behind the Pistol Pete mask, shadowing Derick on campus and around Stillwater.See also: cocktail dresses adelaide
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