Posts Tagged ‘Oklahoma City’

All you fans of college sports, have you ever thought about where the University of Oklahoma got their team name?  Me neither.  But when putting together a little article for today, I learned where “Sooners” originated…and then I kind of wondered why I hadn’t thought about it before.

At precisely 12:00pm on April 22, 1889, the Oklahoma Land Rush began.  More than 2 million acres of land in the middle of modern-day Oklahoma were essentially free for the taking, and settlers by the thousands gathered on the borders of the land in the days leading up to the 22nd.  And then the day finally arrived.  The sun came up, the flags were unfurled, the guns went off at noon, and the madness began.

A human stampede estimated at nearly 50,000 was unleashed, all of them vying for their little piece of the American Dream, which at the time, was something around 150-160 acres.  Needless to say, places like Oklahoma City were established at some point in the afternoon.  And I will guess that, while running water and indoor plumbing were still a ways off, some watering holes were serving sodas and milk (or something like that) in pretty short order.

And the Sooners?  Well, they were the thorns in everyone’s side.  Sooners were those folks that sneaked into the territory before the guns sounded, found their primo piece of land, and staked their claim.  They greatly upset the people that had followed the rules, who promptly sued the cheaters.  It greatly upset the court system, which had to deal with land-rights issues for years.  And who knows, it probably upset a steer or two, as disputing land owners probably branded them more than once.

And, 120 years later, Sooners are still making people miserable.  Those people just happen to be fans of the other 11 Big-12 teams.  Go figure…

Anyways, this would certainly not be the final “land lottery” in Oklahoma.  Just 4 years later, the Land Rush of 1893 would see 100,000 people competing for less than 50,000 parcels of land.  And somewhere out there, before the guns sounded, ancestors of Barry Switzer and Jeff Capel were probably sneaking around…once a Sooner, always a Sooner.

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