Published November 04, 2015
Did you know swearing in Oklahoma is punishable by a $1 fine for each offense? Or that the honey bee is the official state insect? How about that the Sooner State has a Santa Claus Commission?
No, this isn't an April Fools' Day prank. All are true facts about the nation's 46th state that are being shared and retweeted on the popular Twitter account (at)OklahomaFacts. Many are odd, sometimes outlandish. The more obscure, the better.
The account has garnered more than 12,000 followers -- including country music superstar Blake Shelton, an Oklahoma resident who tweeted that he was going to go broke when he saw the fact about the fine for swearing.
It's responses like that, that creator Tim Berry enjoys the most.
"It's always been kind of a labor of love," the 27-year-old said. "I always love seeing people reply and be like, `Oh my gosh, I didn't know that' or `That's something new, I didn't know that.' I just enjoy people's genuine reactions to the things they read."
Berry, who lives in Owasso with his wife, was an unemployed college graduate searching for a way to make use of his history degree when he started the account in 2011, in hopes of sharing some of his Oklahoma knowledge.
Though Berry's is not the first or only account about random Oklahoma facts, (at)OklahomaFacts has the most followers.
Berry spends about an hour each night scouring online records and resources, including the Oklahoma Historical Society's digital collections and old newspaper articles, and schedules them to be released throughout the day.
Occasionally he's been corrected on a fact -- like when he had an old record for the largest white bass fish caught in Oklahoma -- but he said he prides himself on being accurate.
Other fun facts: nine colleges in Oklahoma have rodeo teams, earthquakes have occurred in 73 of 77 Oklahoma counties, and 15 high schools have a pirate mascot. As for the Santa Claus Commission, it was created in 1937 to purchase Christmas gifts for young people in state custody.
Brittney Richardson, who lives in Edmond, said she follows the account in part to share little-known facts with her husband.
"They have some random facts that are fun, touristy facts. Not necessarily something you'd find in a school, but maybe something you'd find in a travel brochure or a quiz about the state," said the 32-year-old.
So, what is Berry's favorite fact about his beloved home state? The state meal, which requires chicken fried steak, fried okra, squash, cornbread, barbecue pork, biscuits, sausage and gravy, grits, corn, strawberries, black eyed peas and pecan pie.
"It's this ridiculous long list of all these things. It's like 13 or 14 items, and there's no way any normal family could have that in one meal because there's just too much," he said.