Ahead of tonight’s college football matchup between Ohio State and Oklahoma, fans may be wondering why Oklahoma uses the name Sooners for its nickname and mascot.
There’s a lot of history behind that question and answer.
A Sooner, according to Wikipedia, was a settler who entered the area now known as Oklahoma before the official start of the Land Rush of 1889. “The name derived from the “sooner clause” of the Unassigned Land Act, which stated that anyone who entered and occupied the land prior to the opening time would be denied the right to claim land. The designation “Sooner” initially had a very negative connotation. However, the negative connotation began to change by the time of statehood, and is no longer considered negative by most residents.”
How did the term become synonymous with University of Oklahoma athletic teams?
Oklahoma adopted the name Sooners name for its football team in 1908 after originally calling themselves the Rough Riders and Boomers.
While the team’s nickname is the Sooners, it’s actual mascot is the Sooner Schooner, a replica of an early 19th century wagon.
The school’s costumed mascots, Boomer and Schooner, represent the team at sporting events and often accompany the Sooner Schooner. They were introduced to fans in 2005, according to the Oklahoma athletic website.
The school’s fight song is “Boomer Sooner.”
And what exactly is a Boomer? Well, it’s tied into the history of land settlement in Oklahoma as well.
“The term Boomer relating to Oklahoma refers to participants in the “Boomer Movement,” white settlers who believed the Unassigned Lands were public property and open to anyone for settlement, not just Native American tribes,” according to Wikipedia.