OFFICIALS collecting memorabilia for exhibit - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

OFFICIALS collecting memorabilia for exhibit

EDMOND, Okla. (AP) _ It's an unusual concept for a natural history museum, but one that has some OU football fans pretty ecstatic. Especially Sissy Tubb.

As she sorts through a sea of Sooner memorabilia in the upstairs room of her Edmond home, she shares the stories that accompany each object being carefully numbered, labeled and packed away by members of the University of Oklahoma's Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History exhibit staff. Tubb is lending her items to the museum for the ``Sooner Football: The Championship Years'' exhibit.

Although everything won't go, Tubb could easily furnish the exhibit entirely on her own. Autographed footballs? She's got them. Photographs and collectors cups? She's got those, too. In fact, if it's red and white and bears an OU logo, Tubb probably has it.

``This is one of my favorite pictures,'' Tubb says, brushing a bit of dust off an 8 by 10 photo encased in a red plastic frame. ``It's from 1985. It's my dad with all the RUF/NEKS.''

It's her dad she has to thank for her illustrious collection. Known as ``OU's greatest fan,'' Cecil Samara collected just about everything Sooner from 1949 until his death in 1994. Not only did Tubb inherit her father's stash, but she's continuing the family tradition, as well.

``You might want to take this,'' Tubb tells Julie Droke, museum registrar. ``I bought it last year in Miami Beach. Bob Stoops' brother-in-law sold it to me.''

Tubb carefully hands Droke a gold medallion stamped with the Fed-Ex Orange Bowl logo and signed by OU head football coach Bob Stoops. It's number 14 in a limited edition of 300.

``I had my hands on number one, and as I shouted, 'Look! I got number one!' to my husband, I saw his (the salesman's) face drop,'' Tubb said. ``He was hoping to save that one for the coach.''

After some negotiating, Tubb loosened her grip on the coveted keepsake and gave it back, agreeing to the number 14 on one condition _ that it be signed by Stoops.

``They gave me this one instead,'' Tubb says. ``Number 14.'' Droke takes the medallion, sticks a label on the back, and drops into a box labeled ''2000.''

Each item goes into a box labeled 1950, 1955, 1956, 1974, 1975, 1985 or 2000 _ all years when OU won the National Championship and the only years to be represented in the exhibit.

``Unfortunately, we can't take everything,'' Droke said. ``We can only take things from championship years. This time, we wanted to focus just on the championship years.''

About that time, Eddie Hartwick enters the room. A RUF/NEK from 1984 to 1989, he's lending his RUF/NEK shirt, paddle and the back of the original Schooner the RUF/NEKs rode on in 1965. Fishing through the box, Hartwick pulls out a license plate.

``This is the first personalized license plate ever pressed in the state of Oklahoma,'' Hartwick says, holding up the tag.

Ironically, the tag that says ``Big Red'' is an orange plate with black letters.

``Cecil just had to have it,'' he said. ``When he heard the governor (Gov. Henry Bellmon) had signed the bill, he called up the tag agency and told them he wanted it. He got the first one.''

Tubb takes another item from the top of a chest of drawers. It's a belt buckle. She hands it to Droke.

``This one is from 1985, too,'' she yells, explaining that it lists every game played that season and the scores. ``This one is pretty neat.''

As Tubb hands over item after item, she can't help wishing her father could be there to see how his collection is being shared with other OU fans. Although he won't get to see the exhibit, he will still be a part of the event _ items in the exhibit that belonged to him will bear his name, Tubb says.

Outside in the driveway, parked in front of her crimson Ford Expedition _ complete with OU logos on the doors _ her father's 1923 Model T Ford, along with it's tiny camper, sit on a trailer. They, too, will be loaned to the museum.

``The car wouldn't miss this for the world,'' she says. ``He started driving the car to the games in the early '50s. It started out as a joke, but it really grew to become a symbol of the indomitable spirit of OU football.

``He drove it to every game from 1952 on,'' she adds. ``He literally put hundreds of miles on that car.''

Samara, who always dressed in red and white, wasn't just famous for the Model T. He also sported a set of dentures _ featuring an interlocking OU logo _ at each game. Unfortunately, they won't be in the exhibit.

``I don't even have them,'' Tubb says. ``He quit wearing them several years before he died. I don't know what even happened to them.''

``Sissy's collection probably contains some the most unique items in the exhibit so far,'' says Droke, adding that Little Joe Washington's lucky silver shoes are still one of the main attractions.

``She has a lot of stuff, but we probably won't take it all. We're trying to get a nice representation from a lot of different people.''

Droke said people have been generous in lending items for the exhibit, but many things are still needed to make the exhibit complete _ especially three dimensional objects.

``What we really need are helmets, jerseys and uniforms from those years. Not just football, but uniforms or objects from cheerleaders, band members or RUF/NEKS.''

Ellen Cordell, also a registrar for the exhibit, wants Sooner fans to dig through their attics and boxes for anything that might reflect the Sooners' championship years. Each item lent to the museum will be carefully catalogued and returned to its rightful owner when the exhibit ends.

Set to open Aug. 25, fans can view the exhibit during regular museum hours throughout the 2001 football season. For more information, visit the museum's Web site at To lend items for the exhibit, call 405-325-8980.
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