It will be much easier for people from outside the Upper Peninsula to learn what a Yooper is.
Soon, they’ll be able to look the word up in a dictionary.
‘Yooper’ will be included in the Merriam–Webster Collegiate Dictionary, beginning this year.
The definition will read: ‘Noun. A native or resident of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan–used as a nickname’.
ABC 10 Reporter Danielle Davis wanted to find out what it takes to be a true Yooper.
Being from the Midwest, the Upper Peninsula was a new experience for her.
Everywhere she went, people proudly proclaimed themselves a Yooper and all had an unusual dialect.
“U know, or eh” to “Imma go to the bowt, or go a–rownd” or “Ya dere, eh”.
“We pronounce our O–W’s, draw them out. They (non-Yoopers) say ‘sauna’ instead of ‘sow-na’, but if you look it up in the dictionary it tells you s–o–w as in cow, sowna,” Molly Bennett said, who calls herself a “Legitimate Yooper”.
With that cleared up, Danielle was even more curious, to find out what it meant to be a Yooper.
“Oh my gosh, there are so many ways to describe a Yooper, I think some people characterize it as a person who has swampers on and who wears camouflage,” Lindsay Hemmila, a “Charitable Yoooper”, said.
“Yoopers usually eat pasties, venison, that’s about it,” James Kolky said, an “Outdoorsy Yooper”.
“Really hearty food that is going to stay with you as you are outdoors all day, shoveling your driveway out,” Bennett said.
According to Yooper tradition, you have to be able to bear the cold, fish, or hunt and you might have in your closet a pair of original Iverson snowshoes to pank the snow.
There is a slight debate in town if a Yooper has to be born here.
“I was once told that if you have survived seven winters you can call yourself a Yooper but I’m afraid to call myself a Yooper, they get kind of defensive about that but I don’t know…surviving 20 winters is pretty good,” Doug Barry said, an “Honorary Yooper”.
“I believe that being a Yooper means that you were born in the U.P. If you weren’t born here and you live here, you’re a transplant,” Bennett said.
“A lot of people say you can’t become a Yooper if you weren’t born here but it takes a special kind of person to want to be here and if you want to be here and you can love it, then you’re going to be a Yooper. I think I am a Yooper but I grew up in Northern Indiana,” Tim Heist said, a “Self-Proclaimed Yooper”.
Yoopers are a special breed.
They bait bears, (who would so such a thing) ski with dogs and call it skiijoring, race outhouses, and do something called a Heikki Lunta where they jump in freezing cold water when it is five degrees below zero out.
But, being a Yooper has its advantages.
Even though this place gets more snow than Alaska, the scenery when you snowbike is breathtaking, capturing an unexpected moment like this incredible view while snowplowing, covering a boy scouts meeting where the scouts actually get taught drumming by Native Americans, learning the art of ice fishing, and when you head south down U.S. 41 you’re at a goat farm.
And, learning the art of laughter is a U.P. trait that should be heard around the world.