The Sooner Schooner is a conestoga (covered wagon) reminiscent of the mode of travel used by pioneers who settled Oklahoma Territory around the time of the 1889 Land Run.
Powered by matching white ponies named Boomer and Sooner, the Schooner races across Owen Field in a triumphant victory ride after every OU score.
The Schooner was introduced in the fall of 1964 and become the official mascot of the Oklahoma Sooners in 1980.
The Ruf/Neks, OU's all-male spirit squad, maintain and drive the Schooner. Mick Cottom, a freshman Ruf/Nek member from Liberty Mounds, Okla., has the distinction of being the first person to pilot the Schooner across Owen Field in 1964.
The Sooner Schooner and accompanying ponies are kept at the Bartlett Ranch in Sapulpa, Okla. Charley F. (Buzz) Bartlett and his brother, Dr. M. S. Bartlett, organized the Doc and Buzz foundation in 1964 for the purpose of presenting scholarships to deserving students. The most sentimental thrust of the foundation was the support of the OU mascot.
The sight of the Sooner Schooner rolling across the field is one that Oklahoma fans (and most opponents) will always cherish as one of the best traditions in college athletics.
Boomer and Sooner are the costumed mascots that represent the University and the OU Athletics Department. The characters are an extension of the Sooner Schooner and its horses to be enjoyed by fans -- especially children -- at all OU athletics contests.
The mascots were introduced at the Big Red Rally on campus on August 26, 2005. A number of groups participated in the process of researching and devising the new mascots over a period of nearly three years.
The OU Athletics Department and student leaders recognized the need for a mascot to provide representation at all OU athletics contests as well as attend charity events and visit children's hospitals.
With that in mind, student congress passed a resolution in favor of the development and implementation of a unified mascot. The Mascot Committee was formed and began work on what would become Boomer and Sooner.
During Oklahoma football and baseball games from 1915-1928, Mex the Dog wore a red sweater with a big red letter 'O' on the side. One of his main jobs was to keep stray dogs from roaming the field during a game in the days when the football field was more accessible to non-ticketholders.
Before his career as a mascot, Mex was just a helpless 'dog waif.' Then, a U.S. Army field hospital medic found him in Mexico in 1914 during the Mexican Revolution unrest. Mott Keys was stationed along the Mexican border near Laredo, Texas, and found the dog among a litter of abandoned pups one night on the Mexican side.
Mex was adopted by Keys' company, and when Keys finished his duty and moved to Hollis, Okla., he took Mex. He later attended OU and Mex followed him again.
At OU, Mex's experience as an Army medic company mascot landed him the job with the football team and a home in the Kappa Sigma fraternity house. He quickly became Oklahoma's most famous dog. 'A joyous staccato bark cheered Sooner touchdowns' at football games and a 'victory woof' punctuated home runs at baseball games. But Mex began to gain national attention in October of 1924 when the OU football headed north to play Drake.
Mex did not board the train in Arkansas City, Kan., as the OU football team and its boosters switched cars to head for Des Moines, Iowa, and the game. Missing their beloved mascot, the Sooners were shut out by Drake, 28-0. The headline from the Arkansas Daily Traveler on October 28, 1924 left no doubt as to the cause of the humiliating loss: "Crushing Defeat of Bennie Owen's Team is Charged to Loss of Their Mascot Here."
A 50-cent reward was offered. Mex was eventually discovered in Arkansas City pacing the train station platform. OU grads J.D. Hull, Hughes B. Davis and J.C. Henley recovered Mex and the men drove him to the next Sooner game against Oklahoma A&M in Stillwater.
Mex died of old age on April 30, 1928. He was so popular among students and faculty that the university closed for his funeral and procession on May 2, 1928. He was buried in a small casket somewhere under the existing stadium.