On This Date in History: Millions of people around the world know of the term “Sooners” to represent a dispicable football team that occasionally beats the University of Texas (THE University) at the annual Red River Shootout in Dallas during the Texas State Fair. If you ever get a chance to go, you should. However, I’m afraid that the experience will be dulled in years to come as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talked the organizers of the event to move the game to the new $1 Billion stadium built for the professional team. It just won’t be the same without the fairgrounds with Big Tex, the corny dogs and midway. Anyway, since 1945, either one or both teams have been ranked in the top 25 in 60 of the 65 games with the Longhorns naturally beating Oklahoma 58 times while losing just 40 and the fans suffering
through 5 ties. Former legendary Longhorn head coach Darrell Royal helped coin the phrase, “a tie is like kissing your sister.” I don’t think any Longhorn would say his sister was as ugly as a Sooner. So, where did Oklahoma University get the nickname Sooner? As one might expect, the origination is one of criminal activity, something the Sooner football team has tried to live up to several times over the years.
In the long, sad history of the United States and its eradication and relocation of the continent’s native (Indian) tribes, the area now known as Oklahoma became somewhat of a clearing house area of the tribes. Andrew Jackson had been a big Indian fighter in Georgia and Florida. His methods were often suggested to be
cruel and inhuman. When he was elected President, his first message to Congress in December 1829 made mention of his intention to remove the native tribes from their land. By 1830, he signed the Indian Removal Act and his successor, Martin Van Buren, followed through on Jackson’s policy and enforced the Removal Act and some following treaties by taking the Cherokees and some other tribes to the newly acquire territory north of what was then Mexico. It was probably the only thing Van Buren did of note as president and it pretty much sucked. Thousands of men, women and children died of various causes from the long walk to the newly designated Indian Territory. It was known as the Trail of Tears.
This land was supposed to be where all of the Indian tribes would be placed and eventually, they were told it would become an Indian State. But, as usual, what the Indians were told is not what Uncle Sam did. The Indians settled in much of the territory except for an area in the center. The railroads started crossing the territory with white men coming in to work and some wished to settle there. Some illegally took over Indian homes and land. Meanwhile, in Texas, the cattle industry boomed and the ranchers needed to get their beef to the East Coast markets. The only way to do that was to get the cattle to the closest railheads which where in Kansas. So, the ranchers illegally drove their mainly Longhorn cattle across the lush plains of the Indian Territory on the trek to Kansas. People who tried to get into the land or coveted the land were known as Boomers. Everyone took notice of the land in the center of the territory that became known as the “Unassigned Land,” but the 1887 Dawes Act was supposed to protect the Indian people. The US Government tried to enforce the laws but eventually just gave in and acquired the “Unassigned Land” with an eye toward opening it to settlement.
On this date in 1889 at noon, the land became officially opened for settlement and thousands of whites rushed in to grab their stake. But, a number of people wanted to cheat…and they were called Sooners, just like the football team. They were people who went into the area to stake a claim sooner than they were supposed to. Some even soaped up their horses to make it look like that they had rushed in that day to stake their claim. By 1890,there were over 100,000 Whites, 18,000 Blacks and 50,000 Indians in what became known to be the Oklahoma Territory. In 1906, the Indians attempted to create their own state, as had been promised, but the effort failed and on November 16, 1907 the Indian Territories and what had been the Unassigned Land to form the new state of Oklahoma. Oklahoma is the Choctaw word for Red People. You don’t suppose those good folks at the Oklahoma University chose their team colors because of that, do you? Naw…they’re so sensitive which is why they will probably be distraught when the ‘Horns put it too them again in October. Here are additional Oklahoma Land Rush Images.
Weather Bottom Line: Tuesday went pretty much as expected. Remember a few days ago when I kept talking about a shortwave coming through the flow? Well, it came over and a short wave generally is a pool or cold air. So, Tuesday started with sunshine and cool temperatures. As the surface warmed a bit, the contrast between the ground temperature and the colder air aloft was sufficient to create clouds and then showers for the afternoon. If this had been in January, it would have been snow showers. The short wave will move on and the air aloft will warm so when we warm to the low 60’s on Wednesday in the sunshine, the lapse rates won’t be so steep as to create clouds and so, we will be fine. And the rest of the week we warm to the mid 70’s Friday to near 80 on Friday and low to mid 80’s on the weekend. This warm up is due to a ridge building in the east and a trof in the west. The trofiness in the west will produce little shortwave impulses ejecting into the plains. With the Gulf opening up somewhat, there will probably be severe events developing in the plains for the weekend into early next week. We’ll have to see if there is a long wave shift to the east. If that would happen, then our risk for t’storms or perhaps even strong storms. But that solution is not showing itself at this time and may not…too soon to tell.