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Party seeks to bring women to Western ND Oil Patch

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WILLISTON, N.D. - A Williston-area truck driver has the solution for oil workers with nothing to do and a shortage of women.

He's throwing the "Party in the Patch" over Memorial Day weekend, advertising in Chicago, the Twin Cities and elsewhere to attract women to his weekendlong singles dance.

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Organizer Troy McKinley said his goal is to attract one to two women for every five guys at the event.

"This is not going to be a sausage fest," McKinley said. "I'm trying to avoid that, to put it crudely."

McKinley got the idea from the 2001 movie "Herman U.S.A." about a Minnesota town with 78 bachelors who advertise for wives and are inundated with women.

McKinley, a Minnesota native who has lived in the Williston area for three years, is using that same concept to draw single ladies to the party.

"I'm telling them to come out here and meet the guys out here who are making money working in the oil field," McKinley said.

He said he already has women lined up from Chicago, and he's going to continue advertising.

The event, May 25-26, will be 25 miles south of Williston just north of Alexander on a 110-acre campground that is being developed, McKinley said.

The event's website, partyinthepatch.com, is selling tickets for the event and camp sites. McKinley also is reserving as many Williston hotel rooms as he can.

Tickets cost $150 for the whole weekend for men or $20 for women.

One event planned is a bachelorette auction, with proceeds going to the local sheriff's office and the fire department, McKinley said.

Other confirmed events include speed dating, arm wrestling matches, ultimate fighting and a dance contest.

McKinley said he tried to hold the event at some locations in Williston but was met with resistance.

"They flat out accused me of bringing prostitutes and strippers into town for this thing," McKinley said. "They got downright hostile. I was floored."

The event will not have strippers, McKinley said. He also will provide security and a shuttle service to Williston to prevent drunken driving.

"I want this to be as safe as possible," McKinley said.

Williston Mayor Ward Koeser and representatives from the Williston Chamber of Commerce said Friday they hadn't heard anything about the event.

McKenzie County Auditor Linda Svihovec said the organizers have not come before the county commission and an application for a liquor permit has not been submitted.

McKinley said organizers plan to serve liquor Friday and Saturday and work with the local Eagles Club to obtain a liquor permit. The event is for ages 21 and up.

As he works on the details of the event, McKinley said people are telling him to expect as many as 4,000 to 5,000 attendees.

"I want this to be the biggest party this area's ever seen," McKinley said.

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