http://www.soonersports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=300&KEY=&ATCLID=30029 What is a Sooner? College sports fans are hard-pressed to find a nickname that is as unique and as linked to a state's history as a Sooner. The University of Oklahoma is the only school known as Sooners. The Oklahoma Territory opened with the Land Run of 1889. Settlers from across the globe, seeking free land, made their way to the prairies of the plains to stake their claim to a new life. One of the few rules to claiming a lot of land was that all participants were to start at the same time, on the boom of a cannon. All settlers who started then were labeled as "Boomers" and the ones who went too soon were called "Sooners." Also, increasingly, "Sooner" came to be a synonym of Progressivism. The Sooner was an "energetic individual who travels ahead of the human procession." He was prosperous, ambitious, competent, a "can-do" individual. And Oklahoma was the Sooner State, the land of opportunity, enterprise and economic expansion, very much in the Progressive spirit that engulfed the old South in the 1920's. OU athletic teams were called either Rough Riders or Boomers for 10 years before the current Sooner nickname emerged in 1908. The university actually derived their name from a pep club called 'The Sooner Rooters.' The success of University of Oklahoma athletic teams over the years have made the nickname synonymous with winning.