Bakken Rocks Cookfest Comes Full Circle

The Bakken Rocks Cookfest, which is in its 14th year, was held again this year in Killdeer, coming full circle. The Cookfest began in 2009, being held in the towns of Killdeer and Belden that first year. Over the next 12 years there would be two Cookfest's each year in various towns around the western third of North Dakota. The past fests were held at: 2009: Belden and Killdeer; 2010: New Town and Tioga; 2011: Crosby and Watford City; 2012: Belfield and Ray; 2013: Parshall and Powers Lake; 2014: Dunn Center and Kenmare; 2015: Alexander and South Heart; 2016: Mandaree and Stanley; 2017: Medora and Westhope; 2018: Grenora and Twin Buttes; 2019: Bowman and Van Hook; 2020: Canceled due to COVID-19; 2021: Arnegard and Mohall; 2022: Trenton and White Shield.

This year, however, there will be only one and that was in Killdeer Tuesday afternoon and evening, July 18. The event was very well attended.

Starting at 2 p.m. the first two hours were taken up with the educational session of the fest.

Ron Ness, ND Petroleum Council, welcomed the attendees and then former Lt. Governor Brent Sanford spoke. Sanford is Bakken Global Recruitment of Oilfield Workers project manager, or GROW, a new initiative to bring workers to the oil field through immigration, focusing initially on Ukrainians.

Other speakers during the informational session included Martin Stuart, Marathon Oil Vice President of Operations, Lynn Helms, North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources, Justin Kringstad, ND Pipeline Authority, spoke on the transporting of Bakken crude. Finishing up the education segment was Tioga geologist Kathy Neset, owner of NESET. Neset spoke on drilling, geology and the energy of the future. Later she had a booth showcasing pieces of actual oil shale, a jar of crude oil and the jars with crushed rock to show differences in the various shale's making up the different levels of the Bakken Shale zones. It was weird to think that that dark black hard rock, if it were hot, would-be oozing oil from it.

Next came all the fun stuff.

There were around 20 oilfield-related companies in the cookfest and each had their own flavorful menus for people to try. The companies competed to win at being people's favorite. Some of the food featured at the booths were baked beans, barbecued ribs, prime rib pieces, brisket, walleye and pepper tacos, and smoked mac and cheese. For dessert, there were cookies, cakes, popcorn, bars and Crestwood's booth was popular with their handmade root beer floats.

The entire event was free to the public.

Alongside the delicious food were piled hundreds of free swag items, emblazoned with company logos, waiting on the tables for people to acquire. Some of those items included padded backpacks, flashlights, pens, shirts, caps, kitchen utensils, golf balls, bottles, plus items like bubble blowers and squirt guns for the kids as well.

Many booths featured free canvas bags and people stuffed them with free items of every nature as they nibbled on delicious food, while listening to the live band.

The musical entertainment was provided by the Dickinson band "The Band Nova", a five-piece band, who played a great mixture of country and rock tunes.

There were also kids' activities. Those included M.U.L.E.Y Kids pellet gun range which was sponsored by Mule Deer Foundation, a bounce house, A Gateway to Science booth and a ND National Guard fun house.


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