You’ve probably seen the young men who run around before Sooner football games, yelling and getting the crowd worked up. This group of men is called the RUF/NEKS. Recent Frederick High graduate Ryan Ard was picked to be one of those proud young men full of school spirit.
I’ve been an OU fan since before I can remember,” Ard said. “When it came to deciding which college I was going to go to it was my first choice.”
Ard signed up to be a RUF/NEK at a freshman orientation camp called “Camp Crimson.” He was emailed an application and after completing and sending it in, as well as an essay, resume and a reference letter, he was called in for an interview. Many young men apply for the RUF/NEKS but only a few are chosen. Ard had to learn the history about Oklahoma University and the traditions of the RUF/NEKS.
The tradition of the RUF/NEKS began in the early 1900s. They took a short break during World War II so the members could join the armed forces. The group was reformed in 1946.
“As a RUF/NEK, our purpose is to Foster school spirit, to aid and assist cheerleaders and to protect the campus in cases of inter-school rivalry,” Ard said. “We go to all home football games and men’s and women’s basketball home games and we do our best to get everyone loud and hype at the games.”
Another responsibility of the RUF/NEKS is to get the Sooner ponies Boomer and Sooner game day ready.
“We have been the caretakers of the Schooner and the ponies since 1965 and we are the ones who are responsible for getting them game day ready,” Ard said.
Ard said his favorite part about being a RUF/NEK is the sense of community and family within the club.
“The members are really great people and I am very thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to get to know them to the extent that I have,” Ard said. “They are my best friends at OU and that’s my favorite part.”
The Sooners are scheduled to play TCU Dec. 2.
Reach Kathleen Guill at 580-379-0588, ext. 2602.