Nicknames are common for people and sports teams, but why would a U.S. state have a nickname? The 50 States in the U.S. all have special and different qualities that they like to boast about, some of which are used to attract people to the state, whether to live there, or just for a visit, while others are rooted in long-standing history.
Many states developed an initial nickname after they entered the union 100+ years ago, but not all state nicknames have stuck with each U.S. state over the years, and many have developed additional nicknames or primary nicknames that they identify with the most or that distinguish them from other states. States take their nicknames from various sources so let’s take a look at Oklahoma’s nickname.
What is Oklahoma’s nickname? It is the “Sooner State”
The Sooner State is a completely landlocked state located in the South Central region of the United States, bordering Texas to the South and West, Kansas to the North, Missouri to the Northeast, Arkansas to the East, New Mexico to the West, and Colorado to the Northwest. Yes, Oklahoma borders 6 other states!
Oklahoma’s nickname originates from the late 1800s, when the unassigned lands of Oklahoma were opened up to new settlers on April 22, 1889. On this day, thousands of people were waiting at the border for the green light to be given in order for people to race into the territory to claim their own land. Some of these people went in early as an advantage when picking their land, these people became known as “Sooners”.
Much of the unassigned lands in Oklahoma were offered to settlers through “Land Openings”, this bizarre activity is where newcomers compete in horse races for ownership of land. The Land Run of 1889 started things off regarding the disposal of these unassigned lands.
As you could probably imagine, the legal settlers that arrived after the illegal “Sooners” didn’t have the highest opinion of them. However, this all changed in 1908 when the University of Oklahoma named their football team the “Sooners”, paying homage to Oklahoma’s nickname. Much the same as other nicknames given to states, “Sooners” is seen as a positive nickname, and the negativity surrounding it has well and truly disappeared.
Oklahoma State Nickname
Much like many other states, there are a couple of Oklahoma nicknames rather than just one that has been adopted over the years. Although the Oklahoma state nickname “Sooner State” is the official nickname, there is another nickname that Oklahoma has adopted.
“Boomer’s Paradise” is the second Oklahoma state nickname. The terms “Boom” and “Boomer” were originally used by Dr. Morrsion Munford in the Kansas City Times, referencing the effort made by the early settlers in creating settlements in the “Unassigned Lands”.
After this, many early supporters of the settlement in the “Unassigned Lands” starting to promote the “Boomer’s Paradise”, people that were a part of this promotional campaign were named the “Boomer Movement”. The “Boomer Movement” first established itself before the “Unassigned Lands” were legally open for settlement.
These Oklahoma nicknames are very similar in their origins, with both being very relevant to the other. The Early Boomers were, James Madison Bell a Cherokee, who originally tried to settle in the Cherokee Outlet, and Kansas and Missouri settlers, organized by Kansan Colonel Charles C. Carpenter, this boomer tried to enter Indian Territory, as well as settling along the North Canadian River.
When a key leader of the Boomer Movement died of a sudden heart attack in 1884, his lieutenant, William L. Couch, took leadership of the Boomer Movement and lead four more excursions to Oklahoma. After multiple attempts that all subsequently lead in arrest and expulsion from the area, illegal intrusions by Mr. Couch ended in 1885. If you are interested in seeing the US state nicknames for all 50 states, including the date each state was entered into the Union, then head over to our page that lists them in alphabetical order.
Now that you are familiar with the Oklahoma nicknames, it makes sense to have a look at what the Oklahoma motto is. All states have a unique state motto/slogan, usually derived from an event linked with the state’s historical past, mottos tend to be given to the state as a representation of the people past and present.
“Labor Omnia Vincit”, this Latin phrase translates to “Work Conquers All”. This Oklahoma motto was adopted in reference to the attitude and hard-working mindset the people of the state possess. This slogan also appears on the Oklahoma state seal.