By Katherine Parker
The Norman Transcript
Don’t be fooled by the light black polo and khaki shorts. Everett Southerland is no fair weather fan. In fact, Everett Southerland isn’t even an ordinary fan. With 58 consecutive OU-Texas games under his belt, Southerland can truly say he is “Sooner born and Sooner bred.” Superstitious, Southerland won’t wear crimson or cream on OU-Texas game day in fear it will cause OU to lose.
“I started going to OU-Texas when I was five. I’m 63-years-old now,” Southerland said.
When Southerland’s parents, O.E. and Juanita Southerland, got married, they took their honeymoon in Texas and went to OU-Texas to celebrate. Southerland said because he was born and raised in Oklahoma, watching Sooner football was just a part of his lifestyle. A Norman High School graduate, Southerland attended OU and studied business and finance and graduated in 1973. But Southerland attended OU-Texas on his own far before his undergrad days.
“The first time I went down by myself with friends, I was only 16,” he said. “But my initial interest in the weekend probably started with the fair. What kid at five wouldn’t love the fair?”
Although Southerland’s parents haven’t attended a game in years, he said OU-Texas was special because he first went with them, and he wished he could go to a game again with his father who passed away a few years ago.
“My mom would love to go to a game again, if she physically could,” Southerland said. “I do wish I could go to a game with my father like when I was a kid.”
OU-Texas’ entire atmosphere is what has kept Southerland coming back year after year, he said. Southerland particularly looks forward to reuniting with old friends including his Phi Delta Theta fraternity brothers.
“We usually have a reunion … One year, as a gag, one of our brothers had the University of Texas band march into the reunion host’s backyard,” Southerland said, then laughed. “It’s always such a good time.”
Throughout his 58 years at OU-Texas, Southerland has dealt with crowds, heat and loses, yet he always returns a bigger fan than the previous year. Even when Southerland lived in Dallas, Chicago, Austin and D.C., he would fly in for the OU-Texas game.
Southerland said he has enjoyed all of the OU-Texas games he has attended, but considers when Josh Heupel was OU quarterback a highlight.
“We passed their lights out and were ahead by 40 or 50,” he said.
One for tradition, Southerland said he thinks the OU-Texas game should never be moved from the Cotton Bowl. A newer stadium wouldn’t have the same atmosphere, Southerland explained.
“I don’t think OU-Texas should be like any other game. Moving it would take away from the experience.”
This year, Southerland attended the game with his girlfriend Wendee Baker, who used to be an OU cheerleader. Baker said when she first heard how many games Southerland had attended, she was really impressed.
During the third quarter of the OU-Texas game, Southerland still hadn’t given up hope for an OU win. Southerland has seen so many varying OU-Texas game results; he said he had even seen OU tie with Texas in 1966.
“We’re missing Corey Nelson and that’s too bad,” Southerland said. “But I’m optimistic until the last second.”
Later Southerland said even with OU’s loss this year, he’ll be back in 2014.
“Win or lose, we enjoy the rest of the weekend,” Southerland said. “I’m trying for 100 games in a row!”