- Associated Press - Friday, December 2, 2016

BATTLE GROUND, Ind. (AP) - The gesture is simple: a white barn with Purdue Pete painted on its exterior off I-65 near Ind. 43.

But for many Purdue University students, alumni and fans, the barn adorned in the unofficial Purdue mascot is a symbol that tells them they’re back in the land of Boilermakers.

“I had always seen the barn when I was driving to school,” said Elliot Bloom, alumnus and Purdue men’s basketball director of operations. “It was almost kind of (a signal) to me: ‘OK, I’m back at home now.’”

So when Bloom recently noticed the logo needed a touchup, he quickly found the barn’s owner and asked if he could repaint it. The owner, Ron Gillespie, a Purdue alumnus, happily obliged.

“It’s just a barn with a picture on it and a light and it’s sort of traditional,” Gillespie said. “You can see a tradition like that goes a long way.”

Gillespie first painted the Pete in 2002. It was a large task, though, so he hadn’t updated it since, he said.

“It looks very good now,” he said of the newly painted Pete.

It was the second project for Bloom, who is hoping to paint Purdue symbols on barns near busy highways and roads across the state.

Last month, a sign honoring Indiana basketball legend Rick Mount was unveiled on a silo on Jackson Farms alongside I-65 near County Road 300N outside Lebanon. Bloom worked with Jackson Farms owner Dean Jackson, who already had his own plans to put up a Mount sign, to get the Purdue logo on the silo.

Now, Bloom is looking for the next barn to put the Purdue stamp on.

“I know the feeling I got from Ron’s barn on 43. . It just makes you feel good. It makes you feel other Purdue people are out there,” he said. “If we can do that to others, to me it’s a no-brainer.”

Bloom said Purdue fans have calmed down over the years and this project is a way to get people excited and show their pride for the university.

“We’ve got a lot to be proud of,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sticking our chest out a little.”


Source: (Lafayette) Journal and Courier, https://on.jconline.com/2gZ5fB0


Information from: Journal and Courier, https://www.jconline.com

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