Rough Ride: The Oil Patch Tour

Roughneck Family

Dirty. Loud. Male.

Those are the three words I often choose to describe what life is like in western North Dakota’s oil patch. Grease and invert stick to clothes and men’s faces like flies on cattle on a scorching August afternoon. On gravel roads, tankers on their way to oil wells kick up blizzard-like plumes of dust. Drilling wells groan and grind as drill bits dig deep into the earth. Massive trucks carrying trailers, pipes, hay bales, giant barrels — pretty much everything — rumble and screech on narrow two-lane highways.

Want to learn more? Come along for a ride with me on Rough Ride: The Oil Patch Tour.

— Todd Melby, Black Gold Boom lead produer

Cramped, Crammed, Crowded: Life in a Skid House with Four Kids

Cramped, Crammed, Crowded

North Dakota’s oil boom has forced many families to make tough decisions. Shannon Atwell is living proof. Shannon recently moved her four young boys from their farm in Missouri to a cramped trailer near Williston, North Dakota. The boys’ father moved there two years ago to work in the oil fields and the family finally decided join him. This is Shannon’s story. Click to listen.

Ride along in a oil patch school bus

Not too long ago, reporter Diane Richard and photographer Todd Melby rode a school bus to Alexander, N.D. with a state trooper, a driver and lots of children. We shared that audio story with you in an earlier post. Now we’re sharing the photos. Click and watch full screen.