Oklahoma governor pays for lost bet to Sebelius

Saturday, October 16th 2004, 11:53 am
By: News On 6

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) _ Ten months later, Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry finally paid up.

Henry lost a bet with Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius over last December's Big 12 championship football game between the Oklahoma Sooners and Kansas State, which the Wildcats won 35-7.

So on Friday, Henry, wearing a Kansas State jersey, read a book to students at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Manhattan.

But Henry's original choice of reading material was vetoed by Sebelius.

Henry arrived in Deb Faulk's third-grade class ready to read ``S is for Sooner,'' but Sebelius stopped him.

``She said, 'No way,' and that was the end of that,'' said Kim Henry, the governor's wife.

At a pre-storytime school assembly, Henry did manage to get in a plug for Oklahoma, which played Kansas State on Saturday in Manhattan.

``In Sooner land, we have a great deal of respect for the Cats,'' he said, ``but in the end, the Sooners will prevail.''

Henry ended up reading from a mascot-neutral book, ``Duck for President,'' by author Doreen Cronin.

The book tells the rags-to-riches story of a lowly barnyard duck who becomes governor of a state and then goes on to be president. Eventually, the duck gives up the presidency after life in the White House becomes too much of a headache.

``I can tell you this much,'' Henry told the students, ``being governor is the hardest job I've ever done. But it's also the greatest job in the world.''

Also on hand Friday were Kansas State's cheerleading squad and mascot Willie the Wildcat, along with Wildcats wide receiver Antoine Polite, placekicker Joe Rheem, fullback Vic Mann and tackle Jeremy Clary.

Coach Bill Snyder drew the loudest applause from the students when he praised their teachers.

``We're here to say thank you to the two governors and to do some reading and enhance your educations,'' Snyder said. ``Let me also thank all of the teachers who are here, people who have sometimes sacrificed to provide for the futures of their students.''