Oklahoma State Information
Motto(s): Work conquers all.
State song(s): Oklahoma
Capital & Largest City Oklahoma City
Admitted to US: 11/16/1907 46
Initially, the entire state was set aside for the exclusive use of Native Americans and was called Indian Territory. That changed when the Oklahoma Land Rush opened, and settlers swarmed the state.
Here are a few interesting facts about Oklahoma:
It is the Nation’s third largest producer of natural gas and fifth largest producer of crude oil.
The energy industry contributes $35 billion to the GDP of Oklahoma.
The tallest building in Oklahoma City is the Devon Tower, at 50 stories.
There are many famous people from Oklahoma, including Johnny Bench (baseball), Vince Gill (singer), James Garner (actor), Brad Pitt (actor), and many others.
Mickey Mantle was born in Spavinaw, OK. Yankees manager Casey Stengel saw something in this young Oklahoman and signed him as a player. He soon became the Yankee’s hitting star with a slugging percentage above .600. His 1951 rookie baseball card that initially cost 1 cent is now worth $400,000. He became a dynasty name for the Yankees along with Babe Ruth. Mickey played his entire Major League Baseball career for the New York Yankees, placing loyalty over money.
Paul Harvey was an American radio broadcaster with a distinctive style and voice. His high school teacher loved his voice and urged him to become a radio announcer. He worked his way up from KOMA, in Oklahoma City, to KXOK, in St Louis. But being conservative did not go over well when he moved to Chicago. The US Attorney impaneled a grand jury to charge Paul for exposing lax security at Argonne National Laboratory. The prosecutor failed, but the publicity thrust Paul Harvey into the national scene. Another example of “there is no bad publicity, it’s just publicity.”
Oral Roberts was born in Ada, OK, and was a registered member of the Choctaw Nation. He was destined to become a minister in the most religious state in the union. He began as a traveling faith healer in large mobile tents and became a pioneering televangelist. One of his most joyous events was founding Oral Roberts University. The architecturally beautiful structures with tree-lined, grassy pathways are hallmarks of the campus.
Will Rogers was born in Oologah, Cherokee Nation, now Oklahoma. He was a stage and motion picture actor, a vaudeville performer, cowboy, newspaper columnist, and a Cherokee citizen. He thought politicians were full of bunk and ran for president in 1928 on the Anti-Bunk party. His only pledge was that if he won, he’d resign. On Election Day, he declared victory over Herbert Hoover and then resigned. Everyone loved him. He is probably the most quoted individual in the Americas. He left us with some common sense words to live by – “Common sense ain’t common.”
Garth Brooks was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He started his music career in honky-tonk bars. His first trip to find fame in Nashville lasted less than one day. He returned to Nashville with his wife, who bared scraped by for several years. Then things turned around. His first album peaked at number 2; his second record was number 1 for 23 weeks straight. He became the number one male singer in all record categories, a first for a country music star. He worked in Las Vegas for the Wynn Casino for four years before returning to world tours. He wisely refused to get involved in politics, sometimes turning down jobs. Garth Brooks is a great American and Oklahoman.
Jim Thorpe was a Native American born somewhere in OK without a birth certificate. His given name was “Wa-Tho-Huk.” Jim was a runner and ran away from many schools. One day, he walked by a college tract field where high jumpers were practicing. He leaped the fence and joined in, beating all the high jumpers while wearing his street clothes. He went on to the Olympics, where someone stole his running shoes the night before the race. He found some undersized shoes in a garbage can and won gold in the pentathlon. King Gustav of Sweden, from the host country, said of Thorpe: “Sir, you are the greatest athlete in the world.” But being a great runner wasn’t enough for Jim Thorpe. He went on to sign with the Giants to play baseball. The pitchers soon discovered that Jim could hit anything but curve balls. Even that was still not enough. Jim then signed with Canton Bulldogs, a professional football team. He excelled, although his teammates said that he played a little rough. His nickname “greatest athlete of all time” most definitely applies.