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.