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Its residents are known as Oklahomans, and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City. It is the only state that shares its name with its capital city. There is an operating oil well on state capitol grounds called Capitol Site No. 1.
Oklahoma is known informally by its nickname, The Sooner State. On April 22, 1889, the first day homesteading was permitted, 50,000 people swarmed into the area. Those who tried to beat the noon starting gun were called Sooners, hence the state's nickname.
Oil made Oklahoma a rich state, but natural-gas production has now surpassed it. Oil refining, meat packing, food processing, and machinery manufacturing are important industries. Minerals produced in Oklahoma include helium, gypsum, zinc, cement, coal, copper, and silver.
Oklahoma's rich plains produce bumper yields of wheat, as well as large crops of sorghum, hay, cotton, and peanuts. More than half of Oklahoma's annual farm receipts are contributed by livestock products, including cattle, dairy products, swine, and broilers. Oklahoma's four mountain ranges include the Ouachitas, Arbuckles, Wichitas and the Kiamichis.
Tourist attractions include the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore, the Cherokee Cultural Center with a restored Cherokee village, the restored Fort Gibson Stockade near Muskogee, and the Lake Texoma recreation area. The National Cowboy Hall of Fame is located in Oklahoma City. The town of Beaver claims to be the Cow Chip Throwing Capital of the World. It is here that the World Championship Cow Chip Throw is held each April.
The world's first installed parking meter was in Oklahoma City, on July 16, 1935. Carl C. Magee, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is generally credited with originating the parking meter. He filed for a patent for a "coin controlled parking meter" on May 13, 1935. An Oklahoman, Sylvan Goldman, invented the first shopping cart. Clinton Riggs designed the YIELD sign. It was first used on a trial basis in Tulsa.
The Amateur Softball Association of America - a volunteer-driven, not-for-profit organization based in Oklahoma City, OK - was founded in 1933 and has evolved into the strongest softball organization in the country.
Born in 1879 on a large ranch in the Cherokee Nation near what later would become Oologah, Oklahoma, Will Rogers was first an Indian, a cowboy then a national figure. Will Rogers was a star of Broadway and 71 movies of the 1920s and 1930s, a popular broadcaster and wrote more than 4,000 syndicated newspaper columns.
Bob Dunn a musician from Beggs invented the first electric guitar 1935. Garth Brooks was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He grew up in Yukon, Oklahoma.. WKY Radio was the first radio station transmitting from west of the Mississippi River.
In Gurhrie nearly 20,000 lighters and "fire starters" are displayed at the National Lighter Museum. The nation's only museum devoted to the collection of lighters.
On the evening of March 25, 1948, a tornado roared through Tinker Air Force Base (AFB), Oklahoma, causing considerable damage, a few injuries, but no fatalities. However, the destruction could have been much worse. A few hours earlier Air Force Captain Robert C. Miller and Major Ernest J. Fawbush correctly predicted that Atmospheric conditions were ripe for tornadoes in the vicinity of Tinker AFB. This first tornado forecast was instrumental in advancing the nation's commitment to protecting the American public and military resources from the dangers caused by natural hazards. Oklahoma was the setting for the movie "Twister".
Oklahoma has the largest Native American population of any state in the U.S. Many of the 250,000 American Indians living in Oklahoma are descended from the 67 tribes who inhabited the Indian Territory. Oklahoma is tribal headquarters for 39 tribes. Tahlequah, Oklahoma is the Tribal capital of the Cherokee Nation.
Oklahoma City National Memorial honors the victims, survivors, rescuers, and all who were changed forever on the site of the bombing in Oklahoma City April 19, 1995.