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'Fight Night' in an oil-boom town


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    Fight Night in Crude Country: Blood, Beer and Bikinis in Williston, N.D.

    - Ben Garvin

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    A fighter awaits his match at Fight Night in Williston, North Dakota.

    - Ben Garvin

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    Two contenders grapple in a Fight Night match.

    - Ben Garvin

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    Fight Night fans stand for the Star Spangled Banner before a match.

    - Ben Garvin

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    A bikini girl getting ready to enter the Fight Night ring.

    - Ben Garvin

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    A Fight Night contender.

    - Ben Garvin

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    A young fan stacks beer cans at a Fight Night event.

    - Ben Garvin

A fighter awaits his match at Fight Night in Williston, North Dakota.

North Dakota's oil boom has drawn thousands of workers to the rural state, clogging its highways with trucks and overwhelming its small towns with new residents. Rents are sky high. Workers live in sprawling temporary barracks called mancamps. And there's not much to do except work.

Todd Melby is chronicling the oil boom from Williston, N.D., in a year-long project, Black Gold Boom, an initiative of Localore and the Association of Independents in Radio. Marketplace is airing a series of his vignettes of people and scenes from the boom region.

In this first piece, Todd takes in a rare live performance in Williston, a martial-arts fight night, the Williston Basin Blowout.

About the author

Todd Melby is a North Dakota-based reporter covering the oil boom for public media project Black Gold Boom: How Oil Changed North Dakota.

A fighter awaits his match at Fight Night in Williston, North Dakota.

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