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Story Of The Roughneck

Updated on May 2, 2012

The Last 20 Years

I titled this hub Story Of The Roughneck because in my opinion and many others the roughneck is probably the most important person in the oilpatch.

This is my first hub on the oilpatch. I will try and keep these hubs away from the technical side as much as I can and keep the hubs funny and interesting. At some point I may have to use some technical terms but for the most part will try and stay away.

This month is my 20th anniversary working in the oilpatch. I have always wanted to chronicle what I learned but really never found the outlet for it. Well I am glad to say I now believe I have found the outlet I was looking for with HubPages.

Im not even going to give a history of the oilpatch but rather just try and hub from my last 20 years.

My favorite saying of all time in the oilpatch is "Every rig needs a roughneck."

How I Got My Start On Drilling Rigs

20 years ago this month I started on a drilling rig very similiar to the one in the picture. I got my start because of desire. I was in a dead end job making dead end money and saw a very bleak picture of the future.

My wife new I wasnt happy and one day she told me to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Little did either one of us know how much that statement would change our lives.

I live in Alberta, Canada and as many of you know the oil and gas industry drives this province. Working on the rigs is a way of life out here. So I decided I wanted to work on a drilling rig.

I got a contact through someone I was working with and gave him a call. He told me that unfortunately all the rigs were full. Well I wasnt taking no for an answer and I called this guy four times a day everyday for a week. Finally, I think because he was sick of me he gave me a job. I quit my deadend job that very moment and headed to the rig that afternoon.

So here I was, 20 some years old. Dressed in jeans, tshirt, hard hat and a pair of rubber boots. I was officially a righand. My title was leasehand. (In a future hub I will define all the main titles on a rig.)

My First Day On The Drilling Rig

My first day on the drilling rig I thought I was going to give it up to the grim reaper. I couldnt believe what I had gotten myself into.

It was one of the hottest days of the summer, everything was hot, oily and muddy. Nothing that you lifted was light and to make matters worse I had people all around me screaming orders at me. I quickly realized the oil patch was a different world.

I put my head down, feeling like a beat dog. I was almost certain that I had made a mistake and wondered if I would be able to get my dead end job back. I finished out the day and had no clue what the next would bring. The Tool Push (boss) asked me if I would be back in the morning. I told him yes but honestly I had my doubts.

I got home that evening and went straight to the shower. At the supper table my wife could see the distress in my face. I told her about everything. Her being my soul support throughout my life told me she would stand by me no matter what my decision was. I knew right there I couldnt give up just yet.

First Month On The Drilling Rig Was Hell

I couldnt believe a body could with stand so much torture.  Let me explain something.  On a drilling rig you work 12 hours a day.  It doesnt matter what the weather is doing.  Rain, snow, sleet, hail, lightning, heat, it just doesnt matter you work in it all.  You work everyday until someone tells you that you can have a day off.  My first hitch was 30 days long and there was no quitting after that.

My first 30 day hitch I lost 40 pounds, every bone in my body ached but I knew I was here to stay.  I loved the new world I had found.  All I did at first was keep my head down, ass up and did everything that was asked of me.  I learned quickly that on a rig there is a pecking order and it is taken very seriously.  So when I was told that I got paid from the neck down I became clear on my stance on the pecking order.

The guys started to accept me because they could see that I was doing what it took to be one of the team.  Let me tell you a well oiled rig crew isnt only a team but they are a family.  Some days you rely on each other just to stay alive.

The final reason I knew I wouldnt be going anywhere was that first paycheck.  Holy crap I couldnt believe how much money I was making.  That made up for a lot of the bumps and bruises.

The Long Road Of My Career In The Oil Patch

So where will this hub go from here? Well as you can imagine in 20 years I have a lot of stories. Some are trials, some are tribulations. Some are sad and some are happy.

I dont believe in 20 years I could write everything. I am however hopeing to give everyone a better understanding of what the oil patch is about.

I know we are in the day of the green environment and I know I will see many people judging me on my career choice. I guess that is up to you but I can guarantee you there is nothing that can sway me from my love for the oilpatch.

I just want this to be an outlet for my stories and descriptions but if need be I am willing to defend my career to the fullest. A true righand never backs down from a fight.

One last thing. Some of the stories in hear may be a little controversial so I will never be using real names out of respect for my oilpatch family.

"Every Rig Needs A Roughneck."

Oil Patch Clothing With An Attitude

Take a look at the Hub below to find out about some of the best clothes you will ever wear.

Oilfield Clothing With an Attitude


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Well u could allways tell the dog house stories lots off late nights talking

    • Ohma profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice Hub. I read all the posts and am surprised that no one mentioned it but when I saw the title That old John Wayne movie popped into my head. LOL now I will have to go and find it just to get it gone.

    • Dale Mazurek profile imageAUTHOR

      Dale Mazurek 

      8 years ago from Canada

      I really need to write more on this subject. Being that this is my 20th year in the patch.

      I just dont want it to be boring to the readers. I will put some thought into it and se if I can write a few humurous rig stories.

    • glendoncaba profile image


      8 years ago from Somewhere in the hubverse

      Oh I wanna hear more about the rig. Guess I'll just check your other hub titles.

    • Dale Mazurek profile imageAUTHOR

      Dale Mazurek 

      8 years ago from Canada

      Thanks The Rope. I know I have to get back into writing about my oil patch carreer. I just dont know where to start. After 20 years there is so much to write.

    • The Rope profile image

      The Rope 

      9 years ago from SE US

      It's a really interesting subject and I'm always interested in professions that are unusual or underwritten about. Please let us hear more!

    • Dale Mazurek profile imageAUTHOR

      Dale Mazurek 

      9 years ago from Canada

      You said it all. Is definetly one of the hardest jobs in the world. Of course eventually you learn to work smart and not as hard.

      Thanks for coming by.

    • Lissie profile image

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 

      9 years ago from New Zealand

      Ah a story that might have been. 25 years ago I was a geology student with a holiday job at Esso (Exon) - at the end of the summer they offered me a graduate job - but said, in passing, of course you couldn't go off-shore (all their rigs were off shore in Australia at the time) as a normal well-site geo- you're have to be in the lab. I wasn't even offended - it just seemed normal - but I never got back to them and instead went into hard rock underground mining because there I could do the same job as the boys !

      In retrospect it was a shame - I probably would have lasted longer in the indusrty if I could have lived in a city a flown in/out. As it was a couple of years of living in remote mine sites was enough and I retrained into computing.

      To this day I have no patience for white-collared execs who claim stress - try working on a rig you pansies!

    • Dale Mazurek profile imageAUTHOR

      Dale Mazurek 

      9 years ago from Canada

      @k@ri, I hope to be getting more stories out soon. Sometimes time is an issue but I promise they are on their way.

      @ralwus, never heard of the worm, out here its the leasehand. But yes if you are there for six months there is a good chance you are there as a lifer. 20 years for me this month.

      Thanks for the comments.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Dale, my oil field days, the worm was the greenhorn, lowest of low. Never heard that one? Once you are broke in and after about six months you would likely stay around and become oil filed trash for life. Upgrade

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      9 years ago from Ohio

      This is a great hub! I cannot wait to read more about a roughneck. In ways it reminds me of an OR nurse! Labor intensive and having to be there 110% all of the time. I can't wait to read more! :D

    • Dale Mazurek profile imageAUTHOR

      Dale Mazurek 

      9 years ago from Canada

      Great song huh? I hope you enjoy the read

    • Ivorwen profile image


      9 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      I love Corb Lund's music!  Okay, now to read...  :)

    • Dale Mazurek profile imageAUTHOR

      Dale Mazurek 

      9 years ago from Canada

      Lol, Im speechless at that. Anyways thanks for stopping buy


    • goldentoad profile image


      9 years ago from Free and running....

      I'm too lazy to be a roughneck but I know about long hours and too many days in a row and the guys at work start to look cute.

    • Dale Mazurek profile imageAUTHOR

      Dale Mazurek 

      9 years ago from Canada

      Thanks Army. Trust me after a while you learn to work smart and not hard.

      Hopefully soon I can start expanding on the hubs.


    • Army Infantry Mom profile image

      Army Infantry Mom 

      9 years ago

      Hi Dale, first off I really liked the song at the top of the hub,...Wow what a job you have, Holly smokes, I don't know to many men that could handle that job,..I like your inner spirt to fight and conquer !!!! You kick Ass !!!! LOL

    • Dale Mazurek profile imageAUTHOR

      Dale Mazurek 

      9 years ago from Canada

      Hmmm ralwus. not even sure what you mean by that but I am almost positive you will tell me and thanks for stopping by

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      20 years in oil patch=oil field trash. right? =worm upgraded

    • Dale Mazurek profile imageAUTHOR

      Dale Mazurek 

      9 years ago from Canada

      Thank you alexhouse, obviously 20 years in any industry is going to provide some good stories but 20 years in the oil patch result in some incredible tales.

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      9 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Dale, Good hub...very interesting and well-written. Thanks for sharing.

    • Dale Mazurek profile imageAUTHOR

      Dale Mazurek 

      9 years ago from Canada

      Thanks Dame Scribe. Just hang on and stay posted. You will see that working and living the oilpatch is an entirely different world.


    • Dame Scribe profile image

      Dame Scribe 

      9 years ago from Canada

      Great to write about a experience that others may be interested in. :) great Hub!

    • Candie V profile image

      Candie V 

      9 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

      I have a dear friend who works in the fields in Prudhome Bay, but in the computer department. He's told me a few tales. I look forward to hearing yours!

    • profile image

      Useful Knowledge 

      9 years ago

      Thank you for sharing such a personal part of your life. I am sure you are a hard worker. I know that 30 day straight was tough. The only thing I know about oil rigs is from that movie Bruce Willis was in (can't remember the name). Anyway, this is a good hub. I thought it was very insightful and original. Again, thanks for sharing:)

    • Jen's Solitude profile image

      Jen's Solitude 

      9 years ago from Delaware

      Well now I know a little about oil rigs. One that it is hot, two that you work non stop and three that it is dangerous. I'll be looking forward to reading of your experiences as an insider. I have already learned from this hub, so thanks for a good article.



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