WDAY: The News Leader

Published August 16, 2010, 09:11 AM

Running With Oil: Women playing a big role in North Dakota's oil boom

Belfield, ND (WDAY TV) - There is 12-thousand new workers in western North Dakota, all because of the oil boom. You probably picture a rough, gruff man when you think of an oil worker, but women are also playing a role. Forum Communications Multimedia correspondent Teri Finneman continues our series, "Running with Oil." Tonight, we take a look at a trucker who is breaking barriers in Belfield, North Dakota.

By: Teri Finneman, WDAY

Everyday, semis roll through western North Dakota to pick up the day's load. Taking on gravel roads, stray cattle and the weather, being a trucker in oil country isn't for the weak. But for nearly 25 years, this Belfield trucker has loved collecting oil.

“My husband started working out here. Then I thought, well, I could do this too, so I just one day decided to do it and then the money was good.”

By 4:30 a.m., Wagner reports for work and finds out where she's off to for the day. She averages 60 hour workweeks.

“Going and driving and doing my job. It's a good job.”

Wagner works for Missouri Basin Well Service and takes oil from the well sites. She picks up a load, drops it off and then heads out again, putting on three to four hundred miles a day. The road can get bumpy, but she's used to it by now and glad to see more women in the oilfields.

“There are a lot of women out here. A lot of water haulers, oil haulers; there's even women at the drilling rigs nowadays. Years ago, you wouldn't see it much. There'd only be a few of us, but there's getting to be more and more and I hope it continues to be more because women can do it.”

And how do the men respond?

“It's usually been pretty good. There's a few times when someone will pick on you or something, but it is very rare. And most of them will help you if you need help. I think the oil patch is really exceptional for that.”

So the next time you're on Highway 85, give a wave. It just may be LaRae.