Roadrunners are not an uncommon site in Texas, but none of them are much of a match for Fort Stockton’s Paisano Pete. Serving as the most popular roadside attraction and official mascot of the small West Texas town, the 11 foot tall, 22 foot long fiberglass roadrunner has been an integral part of the community since his construction in 1980.
Gene Cummings, who was mayor at the time, was responsible for bringing Pete to Fort Stockton. He had the idea that since roadrunners are a common site in the area, a giant statute wouldn’t seem out of place at all. It turns out he was right, and Pete has become a point of pride for the town of 8,500. Pete was purchased from a Wisconsin company for $6250, and perched in the center of town before he was named. It was not till a “Name the Roadrunner” competition was held that he finally christened Paisano Pete.
For more than a decade Pete was the tallest roadrunner in the United States. When Las Cruces, New Mexico erected their own giant roadrunner in 1993 Pete lost his title, but despite his demotion, the city of Fort Stockton still considers him their favorite son.
Paisano Pete Facts
- The prize for naming the roadrunner was $50.
- Paisano Pete is 11 feet tall and 22 feet long.
- Paisano Pete lives at the corner of Main Street and Dickinson Boulevard.
- The giant roadrunner is considered Fort Stockton’s most photographed resident.
- Paisano Pete Fort Stockton was named a True Texas Icon as “Town Mascot” in the September 2011 issue of Texas Highway’s magazine.
- The Fort Stockton mascot is currently the second largest roadrunner in the United States.