Where does the Sooners Nickname Come from in Oklahoma Football? - Fan Arch

Where does the Sooners Nickname Come from in Oklahoma Football?

Where does the Sooners Nickname Come from in Oklahoma Foo...

The University of Oklahoma is known for its rich football tradition and its passionate fan base. One of the most recognizable aspects of Oklahoma football is its nickname, the Sooners. But where does this nickname come from? In this article, we will explore the origins of the Sooners nickname and its significance in Oklahoma football history.

The Land Run of 1889

To understand the origins of the Sooners nickname, we need to go back to the late 19th century. In 1889, the U.S. government opened up the Unassigned Lands in what is now the state of Oklahoma for settlement. This event, known as the Land Run of 1889, attracted thousands of settlers who rushed to claim their piece of the newly available land.

The Sooner Boomers

Among these settlers were two groups: the Boomers and the Sooners. The Boomers were individuals who advocated for the opening of the Unassigned Lands and were eager to stake their claim legally. They believed in the principles of the Homestead Act and wanted to establish a legal settlement.

The Sooners Sneak In

On the other hand, the Sooners were a group of settlers who decided to jump the gun and enter the Unassigned Lands before the official start of the Land Run. They would hide in the lands, waiting for the signal to start, and then quickly lay their claim to the best plots of land. These Sooners were essentially breaking the law by entering the territory before they were legally allowed to do so.

The Term "Sooner"

The term "Sooner" was used to describe these settlers who got a head start and entered the Unassigned Lands early. It was initially used as a derogatory term, implying that these settlers were cheating and taking advantage of the situation. However, over time, the term began to lose its negative connotation and was embraced by the people of Oklahoma as a symbol of their pioneering spirit and resourcefulness.

The Sooners and Oklahoma Football

The connection between the Sooners nickname and Oklahoma football can be traced back to the early 1900s. The university's football team, led by head coach Bennie Owen, began to gain prominence and success on the field. It was during this time that the nickname "Sooners" started to be associated with the football team.

The Boomer and Sooner Mascots

In 1965, the University of Oklahoma introduced two live horse mascots to represent the Sooners football team. One horse was named Boomer, representing the legal settlers who followed the rules, and the other horse was named Sooner, representing the settlers who jumped the gun and entered the territory early. These mascots further solidified the connection between the Sooners nickname and the football team.

The Sooners' Success

Over the years, the Sooners football program has achieved great success, becoming one of the most storied programs in college football history. The team has won numerous conference championships and national titles, producing legendary coaches and players along the way. The nickname "Sooners" has become synonymous with excellence, resilience, and a winning tradition.

The Sooners nickname in Oklahoma football has its roots in the Land Run of 1889 and the settlers who entered the Unassigned Lands early. Originally used as a derogatory term, the name "Sooner" was embraced by the people of Oklahoma as a symbol of their pioneering spirit. Today, the nickname is proudly worn by the University of Oklahoma football team, representing their storied history and tradition of success.


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