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October 19, 2004

“Sooner One” Keeps Truckin’ (Like The Doo-Dah Man)

FROM THE FAST LANE OF I-35 comes a weekend diary account of the plushest and coolest set of 18 wheels this side of the Red River. (Both sides actually).

The “vehicle”—term used loosely—is (was) a $180,000 stock Freightliner Coronado semi, tricked out expensively and extensively to become “Sooner One,” a veritable mobile locker and equipment room with all the amenities of home.

Here’s what the 53-foot Sooner One hauls on road trips:

• fourteen trunks

• four mist machines

• 87 lockers

• 87 sets of helmets, jerseys, pants and shoulder pads

• assorted hip pads, knee pads, elbow pads, undergarments, towels, jackets and medical supplies

• eight Gatorade coolers, 21 cases of Gatorade and a thousand Gatorade cups

• training, video, computer and wireless radio equipment

• extra sideline chains

• Dentyne chewing gum for all (because it’s red)

Meanwhile, the outside of the huge vehicle is bedecked in striking graphics on the Sooner Red background, with “SOONER FOOTBALL” festooned loudly on each side, plus an illustration of an OU helmet and a listing of Oklahoma’s many Big 12 and national championship teams.

OU equipment manager Greg Tipton is in charge of the road show, assisted ably by a staff of 16. Any rock and roll road manager would be lucky to have them.

Amazingly, the crew packs all 14,000 pounds of equipment and the rig is ready to roll just two hours after the game ends.

The Sooners are certainly not the first to take simple hauling to the nth degree. One need look no farther than over-the-top rock and roll tours—such as the Dave Matthews Chicago Dump Tour.

Others that come to mind in the posh travel category are John Madden, Aretha Franklin and Ken Kesey.

Does such mobile excess qualify as a contributor to the arms race?


(this 304 word excerpt—with accompanying commentary—was culled from a 2661 word article on espn.com on 10-13-04)