Posts Tagged ‘new town’

Past and Present

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Al Newman, Sr., a retired carpenter, traded in his hammer for a paintbrush. The artist has painted on buffalo hides and metal, but his most recent work is a straightforward oil on canvas. It shows three Native men on horseback pointing at an oil derrick. He’s titled the painting, which hangs in the Three Affiliated Tribes council chambers, “Past and Present.” Newman lives near Mandaree, North Dakota.

Made possible by a grant from the North Dakota Humanities Council

Past Present by Al Newman Sr

Gotta Be An Eight [audio + video]

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

Jayce Mitchell and Logan Bice are stepbrothers who like to spend their free time roping steers. They’ve moved to North Dakota to clean tankers. Reporter Todd Melby bumped into the pair at a truck stop in New Town. They were practicing their roping skills on a dummy steer, a plastic replica with horns. “Gotta be in an eight” refers to the length of time in seconds they’d like to rope a particular steer. Eight seconds is a very good time.

Meet Bobcat John. He Sells Knives To Oil Workers.

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

What’s not to love about Bobcat John? He’s a burly bear of a man who sells knives to oil workers. On the day I met him, he was setting up shop in New Town, North Dakota. He got the name Bobcat because he once owned a pet bobcat, declawed and now deceased. These days he owns a pet lynx named Jinx who sleeps with him when he’s back home in Idaho. Jinx, also declawed, joined Bobcat on a previous trip to North Dakota. The game warden, not mollified by Jinx’s lack of blades, booted them both. “I got escorted to the county line,” he says. “I had to go all the way back home.”

After looking at dozens and dozens of knives and watching Bobcat’s customers examine his wares — one man bought a small set of three throwing knives for $20 — I got to see photos of his pets. “Here’s one of my babies,” he said, reaching for a photo of the lynx. “That’s my new one, Jinx the lynx.”

Bobcat says he once worked as a bricklayer, but is now too worn out to do that work. So he hooks a trailer full of knives to the back of his pickup and travels around hawking spring-assisted knives, pocket knives, throwing knives, skinning knives — all kinds of knives. He came to the oil patch for one simple reason: People here have money. Back home in Idaho, they don’t. “Nobody’s got any money over there,” he says. “The economic conditions in Idaho are horrible.”

In addition to selling knives, Bobcats also makes knives. “It’s better than catching cabin fever. I live up in the mountains. Sometimes I work on them in the winter time when I’m not hunting or fishing.”

— Todd Melby

Photos by James Reeves (top) and Todd Melby

Bobcat's Pet Lynx

Bobcat's Sign

Guys Looking At Knives

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