The Origin and Meaning of the Oklahoma Nicknames
The American citizens who live in, or who come from Oklahoma, are referred to as Oklahomans, Oklahomians or as Sooners. The history, origin and meaning of each of the state's nicknames are as follows:
The Cowboy Country
The official nickname of the Cowboy Country is a tribute the greatest folk hero in American history - the Cowboy. Oklahoma lay between the massive cattle ranges of Texas and the cattle towns of Kansas and Nebraska. Cattle drives crossed the territory via the major cattle trails of the Old West - the Chisholm Trail and the Western Trail.
The Sooner State
A 'Sooner' was the nickname given to a person who made claim to land before the area was officially declared 'open' to settlers. The Indian Appropriations Act 1889 contained the "sooner clause" designating the appropriate date for the land races to begin.
The Boomer's Paradise
The Boomer's Paradise is another reference to the people who claimed land in the territory.
The Panhandle State
The Oklahoma Panhandle is the extreme western region of territory that comprises of Cimarron County, Texas County, and Beaver County. The name 'Panhandle' comes from the similarity of shape to the handle of a cooking pan. The Panhandle was the part of Oklahoma that was most adversely impacted by the terrible drought of the 1930s that created massive dust storms and led to the term the 'Dust Bowl'.