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School Spirit in the Sooner State
With a shortage of professional sports teams, Oklahomans are typically pretty passionate about their college teams to say the least – from the Cowboys to the Sooners to the Savage Storm.
Northern Oklahoma’s biggest city, Tulsa is a bustling metro, chock-full of fun things to do and new places to discover.
Tulsa is home to the University of Tulsa and its 4,600 royal blue-clad student body.
While you’re in town, don’t miss UT’s Golden Hurricanes in action as they field 18 varsity teams within the Division I American Conference.
During the fall, you’ll find tons of Tulsans at Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium, home field of the Golden Hurricanes football team. Join the GH faithful as they help the team return to the post season.
But when college football’s bowl game season is over, the UT campus turns its attention to Golden Hurricane hoops, played at the Reynolds Center in the winter and spring.
Also represented in full force throughout the year is soccer, tennis, and golf – the women’s golf team are former national champions, just saying.
Tulsa isn’t all hoops and pigskin pride, however. In fact, locals love spending time in downtown Tulsa’s handful of districts, like the Arena District, featuring landmarks like the BOK Center, and the Blue Dome District, home to the city’s best nightlife and entertainment.
Just west of town, outdoor adventure and recreation awaits at Keystone Lake and its collection of lakeside parks, like Keystone State Park and Walnut Creek State Park, all conveniently found on the way to our next stop.
From Tulsa, simply hop on the US-412 where you’ll be taken directly to Stillwater, where they’re “Still Pioneering,” or at least that’s what these Great Plains dwellers will have you believe.
Much like Tulsa, Stillwater residents love their college sports, but perhaps even more so. See for yourself by checking out the Oklahoma State University Cowboys, big dogs of the Big 12 conference.
Also like Tulsa (well, like everywhere in America), it’s all about football at OSU. You’d be remiss not throwing on some orange and black and catching the Cowboys, winners of multiple conference titles, in action at Boone Pickens Stadium this fall.
Unlike TU, OSU fans can cheer on America’s Pastime at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium, where the former national champion Cowboys baseball squad takes the diamond in the spring.
We can’t forget about the OSU ballers – the men and women’s hoops squads run the hardwood over at Gallagher-Iba Arena during the winter. Both teams have punched tickets to the NCAA tournament multiple times and look to do the same this spring.
Make some time either before or after the game to visit some of Stillwater’s awesome bars and restaurants, because if there’s one thing to remember, where there are college kids, there’s great nightlife and dining. A couple of good options include Iron Monk Brewery and Finnegan’s Pub.
Just outside of Stillwater, Lake McMurty prides itself on being “frontier country’s best kept secret,” and it’s easy to see why. From the 28 miles of trails, to the endless fishing and boating, to the 18-hole disc golf course, Lake McMurtry has a little something for everyone.
Head south from Stillwater on and hop on Interstate 35. In just about an hour or so, after passing through Guthrie and Edmond, you’ll find yourself in Oklahoma City.
The big city is home to some big sports teams, that much is for sure; namely the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Don’t worry about the pros, though, because down in Norman, the University of Oklahoma offers arguably the most competitive action in the state. In fact, the Sooners football team draws bigger than most pro teams, playing home games at the massive Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
But when football season is over, the Sooner faithful still have plenty to cheer for. The hoops team, for instance, packs Lloyd Noble Center during the winter, often times earning a spot in the coveted NCAA March Madness tournament.
The same could be said for the Sooners baseball team, whom strike out Big 12 opponents at L. Dale Mitchell Baseball Park. Too, both the baseball and softball teams are former national champions. Not too shabby.
With 19 varsity teams altogether, there’s plenty of action in Norman year-round – help Sooner Schooner cheer on the cream and crimson this season.
Not surprisingly, there are plenty of great things to do in Oklahoma City – from great sports and festivals, to the ever-popular Bricktown district and local eateries like Earl’s Rib Palace.
Conveniently located in northern OKC, Lake Hefner and Park offers a scenic respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. The park is renowned for bird watching and it’s got excellent sailing and fishing as well, not to mention the hiking trails, playgrounds, ball fields, and picnic areas.
From downtown OKC, simply head south on I-35, all the way until you reach US-70, which will take you to Durant. If you’ve reached Thackerville, you’ve gone too far.
Although the smallest school on our tour, Southeastern Oklahoma State University is big on school spirit and passionate fandom. Just ask the Savage Storm faithful, draped in blue and gold, proudly cheering on SOSU’s 10 varsity teams.
Most notably, the former national champion Savage Strom baseball club has made over 10 College World Series appearances, with well over 60 former players go on to play professionally. Do yourself a favor and take in a game this spring at The Ballpark in Durant.
If you’re visiting during the fall or summer months, fear not; the Savage Strom field football, basketball, golf, and even rodeo teams as well across venues like Bloomer Sullivan Arena and Paul Laird Field, all competing within the Division II Great American Conference.
One of the city’s local gems, Elements Art Center offers a unique way to enjoy Durant by taking a piece of it home with you – enroll in an afternoon course, or simply stroll through the gallery.
Just west of Durant, southern OK's Lake Texoma has just about all the outdoor adventure you could imagine – hiking, boating, fishing, swimming, and tons more. Seriously, this place is massive, boasting a handful of state parks, including Lake Texoma State Park, and two official wildlife refuges.