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The oil boom: Born to be a roughneck

An oil pump jack is seen near Tioga, N.D.

Richard Karpe had his first roughneck job as an 11-year-old in Oklahoma.

CORRECTION: The original text mistated the surname of the roughneck. He is Richard Karpe. The text has been corrected.

The oil boom in North Dakota has attracted all sorts of people looking for work. Some have never seen an oil rig before. Others have spent their careers in the field. And a few -- they were born to the life.

Todd Melby is reporting a yearlong project, Black Gold Boom, from Williston, N.D. Marketplace is airing a series of his vignettes of people and scenes from Williston. Today, we hear from someone who had his first roughneck job when he was 11 years old.

Black Gold Boom is an initiative of Localore and the Association of Independents in Radio.

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.

Richard Karpe had his first roughneck job as an 11-year-old in Oklahoma.

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