By Peggy Jordan
Associate Editor, FMC
Oklahoma was the land of opportunity back in 1889. Thousands of settlers lined up for a chance to get a free piece of the territory in one day. They all were supposed to start up their horse-powered wagons at the same time, but a few of them broke the rules and left early. These folks were called “Sooners.”
Over the years the word took on a more favorable connotation, so that eventually a Sooner symbolized the can-do spirit of American opportunity. It also became the nickname for the sports teams of Oklahoma University (OU).
Add some FMCA member “coaches” to the “Sooners” and you begin to understand the chapter called Sooner Coaches. This group was formed in May 2005 to bring OU sports fans together. That way, they can attend home and away football games and other sporting and social events. And then, as chapter president Hal Hefner, F68640, said, “In the off season, you can get with the new friends you’ve made and go motorhoming for fun.”
Of the chapter’s 24 member families, most live in Oklahoma. Some live near the university campus in Norman, a town located approximately 12 miles south of Oklahoma City. Some chapter members, such as Hal, are OU alumni.
This past September the chapter members planned to meet at the motorhome of former FMCA president R.G. Wilson, L21025, on the Friday prior to a home football game for social purposes. And meetings were scheduled to handle business and to plan a Christmas gathering in December.
This very new chapter is still getting its “wagons” together and making choices about activities and events. Hal said that he’d like to see the chapter hold monthly rallies from April through November. “We have lots of recreational sites around here that we can go to, and there are also baseball games,” he said. “What we’re trying to promote is camaraderie of FMCA members by making the athletic program the jewel in it, football primarily.”
As the chapter grows and evolves, members may choose to have social rallies at times, as well as attend games. Caravanning to various Sooner football games that are played out-of-state also is a possible activity. What eventually will develop is still up to the other chapter members, and Hal said, “It will evolve into what we all want it to be.”
Oklahoma football is very popular, and getting tickets is not easy. Hal said the seats often are passed down through family generations. However, most Sooner Coaches chapter members already have their seats and have had them for quite some time.
The typical scene of a large group of coaches all parked together at a football game has not yet materialized during this chapter’s activities. One reason is that a majority of chapter members live within 20 miles of OU’s stadium, so they don’t need to stay overnight in their coaches. Also, as it stands now, RV parking spaces are either limited or expensive. However, chapter members are hoping to eventually find a place where they can park their coaches together.
And, of course, there’s much more to the chapter than football. As Hal said, “There’s no doubt we have a nice bunch of people.”
You can join them. Chapter membership dues are $25 per coach, and there is a $10 initiation fee. For more information about the Sooner Coaches chapter, contact FMCA’s Chapter Services Department at (800) 543-3622.