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Cowboying from the Oilfield


Cowboying from the Oilfield
Member Post by Tim Wilson
Edited by Stevie McHugh
Oilfield Families of America

Working in the oilfield, most of us seem to find hobbies and lifestyles that end up being passions. Mine is showing quarter horses. I aspire to be a really competitive non-pro and amateur in the horse show arena in cutting, working cow horses, and reining. In order to do this cowboying, some cash flow is required, which is why I especially appreciate getting to work in the oilfield.

Oilfield work has taken me offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, in West Africa, and, as of now, on the Alaskan North Slope.

When home, thanks to oilfield pay checks, I get to travel to many places in my role as a competitive cowboy. The horses are trailered in a nice rig. Entry fees and other assorted fees are paid, and I always hope to win or place well enough to cash a check or get points needed in certain classes to be invited to a world show of some type.

down the fence


But, there are drawbacks to being passionate about this hobby while balancing an oilfield career. For instance, work schedules often get in the way of going to a show. I also may not get enough days and hours of practice in. Sometimes one of my horses is injured and needs more tweaking in training and I’m just flat not ready to go show. Even worse, bad weather sometimes delays my getting home, which doesn’t leave the time needed to train.

The way I figure it, having a 40-hour  work week at home might make things a lot easier because the frustrations with being away so much can be tough to deal with.

Because of the challenges of working away from home when not competitive cowboying, I can get really frustrated. However, one result is that I am pressured by my circumstances to be really dedicated to the task of training my horses.

When I’m home, the horses come first daily. I get up when the rooster crows, have some coffee, head to the barn, and start riding. That is, if the weather is cooperating.

When I’m at work, the horses come first there, too, in a way. I do everything in my power while I am on the job to work safely so that I can get home to ride and spend time with those I love to do the cowboy stuff with. Safety is always on my mind, no matter if it is at work or on a horse or doing things around the barn.

My advice to other oilfield workers is to keep safety in the front of your mind, too. If you slip up, you could face a setback that you aren’t prepared for.

Cowboying is tough enough for sure but following my passion while holding down a career in the oilfield has even more challenges. But this is not meant to be a complaint. I realize that many have lost their jobs in the oilfield industry. Things sure aren’t getting any easier, with the low oil prices and job cuts. So, my advice is to keep safety in front and work hard to achieve what it is you love the most as best you can.

What are your favorite off work lifestyles and hobbies?


  1. I’m not as young as some of you on this site. I used to enjoy hunting, but when the kids came along I sold most of my guns and leases became to expensive to obtain for a guy that gets to go about twice a season if he’s lucky and besides, there’s always one of the kids in trouble and asking for help. Something that wasn’t available for me when I was their age was asking for help. It wasn’t because they didn’t want to help, they just weren’t able. My passion became family time. My Dad (God rest his soul) was an over the road trucker. Sometimes we didn’t see him for three or four months. When my kids came along (and grandchildren later on), I knew that sacrifices were going to be made for their benefit. It wasn’t their fault ol’ dad had to travel and stay gone to make a living, so I put all the things I wanted to do on the back burner so they (and me)could have time together. Oh, I’ve bitched about the money that was spent, and sometimes when someone’s talking about dove or deer hunting I think back some, but all in all it really wasn’t much of a sacrifice giving up what I thought I wanted to do when you hear the laughter, wipe away a few tears, and hear on a Father’s day 20 to 30 years later the comment “I’ve always been glad that your my daddy”. You just look up through misty eyes and thank God he made it all possible. Good luck, God bless, and be safe.


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