Tag Archives: Watford City

Something Good About Watford City, KMHA 91.3 FM

My regular readers know that I am working in Watford City, North Dakota.  I was just getting ready to write another post about bad things in Watford City, a follow up to my previous post.  Last night a very upset woman in her thirties was asking me if I knew where her aunt was, (her aunt is a co-worker of mine), her truck is here, she’s not here, she’s not answering her phone, “I think something has happened to her.”  See, see, I told you!  All the women in Watford City don’t expect to last long, it’s not a matter of “if”, but “when”, they will get abducted by the oil field workers.  I’m just mad that they don’t have pavement markings, street signs, street lights, road shoulders, very primitive conditions here.  Anyway, her aunt had gone to the movies in Dickinson, and had turned her phone off, she wasn’t kidnapped, yet.

I drove my truck as close as I could get, to a building with a wireless router in order to connect to the internet.  I can’t get out of my truck because of a bunch of fanged monkeys, another problem with Watford City, and I am listening to KMHA 91.3 FM, broadcast from Four Bears, a.k.a. Newtown, North Dakota.  This is absolutely the best radio station that I have heard in my life.  I have been listening to it for more than a week now.

This radio station is so good, because they play anything they want, Anything.  It’s like the radio station is run by a bunch of wild Indians, because, it is.  It is “The Voice for the Mandan, Hidasta, and Arikara Nation”.  I am thinking about becoming a member of their tribe.

On KMHA 91.3 FM, this morning they played the First Baptist Church of Watford City service with the Reverend John Lane, a 60 year old Tennessean. Then some spiritual music by Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Patsy Kline, and Elvis.  Later today, KMHA will broadcast some Catholic crap, that some tribal members got roped into a long time ago.  Later, after the Catholic service, they play two hours of Pow Wow.  The Pow Wow is good, some of it is in English.  I like to sing and chant with the Pow Wow.  Hey, ey, ey, ey, Hey, ey, ey, ey, Hey, ey, ey, ey, Heyyyy Wup!

Nobody is mandating that KMHA be diverse, or provide equal time, though they are, and they do.  It seems like these Native Americans understand that spirituality might mean something different, and be expressed differently, by different people.  They are not trying to be diverse, they just are, like,”Why wouldn’t we want to have a wide range, why wouldn’t we want to be able to play anything we want, as long as it doesn’t suck?”

KMHA does not go looking for obscure music to impress people, somehow, maybe through oral tribal history that is passed on, they know all music from radio, cassette tapes, eight-track tapes, and records, from the past one hundred years.  “Hey, have you ever heard that song… Play that funky music white boy, play that funky music right…?”.  “Oh yeah, that’s got to be forty years ago now… I had a Dodge Charger, I hit this van that was parked on the side of the road so hard, it sent the van into a tree, that van is still sitting there in that same yard to this day, I see it when I drive by there.”

I was so excited about this radio station, it’s amazing, it’s incredible, I never ever heard anything like it before.  I looked it up on the internet, Oh man!, this can’t be, the people around here don’t even know there is anything unusual about it!  Oh my God, I think that the people around here must think that this local station can’t afford to play what all the other stations in Bismarck play.  There is not one review on Yelp, no one has reviewed KMHA yet.  Even on websites associated with KMHA, no one is making any positive comments whatsoever.

To me, KMHA is like a barn find, like when you find a 1967 911s, in an old barn in Watford City, and they just want it hauled away, nobody knows what it is. In bad, bad, condition there are at least one hundred Porsche restorers that would overnight you a cashiers check for $40,000, for that piece of shit car no one in Watford City would give you $100 for.

Watford City, North Dakota

I have been in Watford City, North Dakota for two weeks.  Watford City is approximately seventy miles north of Dickinson.  I am here for work.  Watford City is more of a boom town than Dickinson.  It seems like about eighty percent of the people in Watford City are out-of-state workers.  Most of the license plates in Watford City are Idaho license plates, many license plates from Texas, Minnesota, Washington, and California.  There appears to be a much greater shortage of housing in Watford City than in Dickinson.  There is no mistaking that the people in Watford City are here to work, there is absolutely no other reason to be in Watford City.

I am pretty sure that there is no movie theater in Watford City, there is no shopping mall, and no recreation center.  I do not think that there is any car dealer or taxi service.  There is a Tractor Supply hardware store and a Cash Wise grocery store.  There is a pizza restaurant, a Subway, a Chinese restaurant, a Japanese steakhouse, and I hear that there is a Taco Johns.  There are several bars.  There is an Anytime Fitness, next to the Subway, which is right next to Teddy’s Hotel and the Little Missouri Hotel where I am staying.  Too bad I quit my membership with Anytime Fitness in Dickinson about six months ago.

I have heard that the true oil-field jobs in North Dakota are primarily centered in Williston, and I have believed that.  Watford City is approximately forty-five miles south of Williston, and the work here seems to be a lot more focused on oil-field work than in Dickinson.  The workers here that have steady employment all have new $40K plus trucks.  The workers who just got here have old ratty cars with out-of-state license plates and all of their clothes piled up to the windows in the back seat.

Because of the amount of money involved in the oil-field project that I am working on, the company that I am working for has each of us in our own hotel room, each room is $1,300 per week.  I worked 84 hours my first week, and 84 hours my second week.  With the overtime and per-diem pay, this will be the most money I have ever made per week.  I have spoken to some of the electricians on this project, and some of them are making $4,000 per week with overtime and per-diem pay.  This work may last eight more months.

At first, I thought that the women working in Watford City were the wives and girlfriends of out-of-state oil-field workers.  This is partly true.  It also appears to be the case, that young women from places like Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, Oklahoma, etc., have come to Watford City to work in restaurant and hospitality jobs.  I think that these young women came here because they could get a job right away, and these service, restaurant, and hospitality jobs pay much better than in the states where they came from.  Unlike Dickinson, these women seem to like men.  At first, I incorrectly assumed that in a boom town, there are a lot more men than women, and the women are tired of getting hit-on and asked out.  In Watford City, there are so many young unattached women that have come here to work, that these women actually want to meet men.  I think that another reason why these young unattached women are interested in men in Watford City is because they found out that a lot of these men are making $4,000 per week.

I think that it might be easier right now to get a higher paying oil-field job in Watford City than in Dickinson, but I think that it is much harder to find a place to live, you might have to stay in a hotel, and the hotels are expensive.  The kinds of jobs that appear to be available in Watford City are truck driving, heavy equipment operating, welding, electrician, heavy-equipment mechanic, metal fabricator.