By Jim Urquhart
He stood there with a shotgun over his shoulder and asked me in no uncertain terms, “What do you think about oil drilling?” And in that moment, the seasoned oil man I had come across pheasant hunting with five of his friends in a field west of the oil boom town of Williston, North Dakota, had me stunned like a deer in headlights.
There was never a threat of danger, but there was definitely a bit of suspicion as to what my motives were. Being obviously out of place, having asked these guys where an oil drilling rig was and after telling them I was a member of the media, I had to pause for a moment.
Part of me was thinking, “Whatever you think of oil is what I think too.” But I just explained to him I had no dog in this fight and was there to document the oil boom. It was the truth and it was all I had.
As it turned out, we were able to have a really good conversation and he pointed me in the right direction. As I drove away I looked back in the mirror. They walked to the west to hunt and paid no attention to me.
But the road to this moment began nearly 4,000 miles and three weeks earlier. I had been assigned to cover the Presidential debate in Denver where the issue of oil drilling and domestic energy came up.