A directional drilling rodeo has never aired on ESPN, but that does not mean it is devoid of the excitement that accompanies most athletic events. The men and women competing at these rodeos may not have the physical prowess of Lebron James or Marshawn Lynch, but theirs is an athletic event nonetheless. These are physically fit people with highly refined skills. They are competing at the highest level in their field--and they are the best. If you are looking for people to run your drilling operations, the best place to look is not at a job fair. Look for them at a directional drilling rodeo.
Directional drilling rodeos take place in the same type of venue as traditional rodeos. Stands surround an oval-shaped field of dirt, in which teams compete. Like most rodeo events, teams are timed, and the best time wins.
Unlike regular rodeos, the directional drilling rodeos' courses are primarily underground. In general, courses require crews to hit two precise depths and maintain a specific grade between these depths. For instance, a course might involve drilling down to 45 ft. and then drilling horizontally at a 2.5 percent grade until the drill reaches 145 ft. After the second depth, crews must bring the drill back to the surface and hit a target placed on the surface.
Specific courses differ according to the type of drilling they are meant to simulate. A course that mimics oil-drilling will be slightly different from one that is patterned after drilling sewer lines. All courses follow this basic structure, though.
Teams are scored according to their time and accuracy. Good times for any specific course will vary, but most courses are designed so that times are between 60 and 90 minutes. Teams that are inaccurate receive penalties, and those that hit all of their targets are awarded bonuses. These penalties and bonuses are added to and subtracted from teams' actual times accordingly, and the finalized times are used to rank the teams.
Most directional drilling rodeos are sponsored by equipment manufacturers and suppliers, in order to promote their products. Drilling manufacturers, drilling fluid suppliers and similar companies may put on a rodeo. Fronting the costs of one is not cheap: First prize at an Ohio rodeo totaled $30,000. Sponsors pay these expenses, though, so they can show off their supplies.
Despite what sponsors might want you to think, it is hardly fair to judge a product's performance at one of these events. Sponsors usually require teams to use their products, preventing any side-by-side testing from being done. While you may be able to connect with a salesperson and find a great deal on equipment at a rodeo, this is not the place to go for unbiased assessments of how equipment performs.
Recruit at Directional Drilling Rodeos
Instead of looking for new equipment, you should be keeping an eye out for prospective employees to recruit at these rodeos. Teams are competing head-to-head against each other in controlled conditions. Thus, this is a fair assessment of teams. If you need a new team for a project, there is no better place to look than at an event where the best teams in the industry are competing directly with one another.
When assessing any one team or individual, keep in mind the scoring system that is used. Some teams may sacrifice accuracy, accepting any penalties that ensue, in favor of quickly completing the course. Other teams may focus on accuracy, hoping that the bonuses will reduce their time. If you successfully recruit a team, the balance between these two factors could be worked out between you and the team.
At your next directional drilling rodeo, pay special attention to how well teams are performing. If you see a team that is far better than the others, see if they would like to work for you. You may just find the best employees you have ever had.