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Bo Rader/Wichita Eagle/TNS

Oklahoma's nickname is the Sooner State. In 1889, people rushed to central Oklahoma, where the U.S. government had made millions of acres of land available to settlers on a first-come, first-served basis. On April 22 of that year at noon, a pistol was fired to signal that people could make a mad dash to claim land — but some people had snuck into the area in advance and hid to be able to claim land "sooner" than the official start time. Previously a disparaging term, the nickname meaning was reversed 1908 when the University of Oklahoma named its football team the Sooners.