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Red Dirt Black Gold Festival

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William Clark Green to perform for the first time in Artesia. (Submitted Photo)

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This year’s Red Dirt Black Gold Festival takes place on Aug. 25, starting at Artesia’s Eagle Draw with the fourth annual Oilfield Olympics and continuing at the Heritage Plaza with vendors, live music and the Red Dirt Black Gold cook-off competition.

This year, the event is going to be even bigger than last year with four live bands.

In the early morning hours, a public favorite is the Oilfield Olympics, where teams can test if they have what it takes to work in the oilfields. The event was included to incorporate the oilfield and have them be recognized. Last year’s Oilfield Olympics ended with a surprise. A latecomer, the Buffalo team, surprised the crowd and the judges. They claimed the first prize for the Oilfield Olympics 2017, beating the reigning champions of two years — Fat Fit — by only 15 seconds.

There are several stations where agility, strength and speed is required. A favorite for the teams is the cast-iron drill bit toss where each team member has to cover a certain distance as fast as possible. There is still time to sign up for this year’s competition. In the afternoon, the events continue at the Heritage Plaza with the judging of the Red Dirt Black Gold Oilfield Cook-Off. The best of the best oilfield cooks offer ribs and sausages, while others compete with southwest dishes and it’s not only for the judges. The public can vote to give the best dish the People’s Choice Award.

But what would be a fest without music? Headliners this year are William Clark Green, who will perform from 7:45  to 9:15 p.m. at the stage near Heritage Plaza.

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Green had been to Roswell several times, but it is his first time performing in Artesia. His new album “Hebert Island” is going to be released on Aug. 10 and he is planning to perform a mix between his new songs and fan favorites. “I think every album is a chapter in my life,” Green said. “We work very hard at following our hearts through music and trying to advance our style. This album is no different. I think I figured out on this album that love trumps everything.”

Asked how Green finds his inspiration and style, he said, “It is my upbringing in music. My dad was listening to everything. I think that’s why my records are so scattered across the board because I grew up listening to different genres. It was never just one. I like playing rock ‘n’ roll, folk and country. ‘Wings’ is my favorite song on the new record.

“It was never a first career (for me), it just happened and started,” Green said. “I started writing in eighth grade playing guitar and it just morphed into a career eventually. It just was a very natural process. I hadn’t any dream, I just was doing it. I thought it would be something that I could pursue professionally and I felt that I could do it and here we are. It was like little leaps of faith.”

Green never had a classic education. “I never learned to play guitar to become a musician,” he said. “I play guitar because I wanted to learn how to play guitar. I just started writing songs. It is kind of weird how it happened. Maybe it is a natural calling, maybe it’s not. I feel like I am better in song writing than I am in anything else in my life.

“The ultimate for me is just continuing the music and having a tour scheduled. That’s all I ask for and that’s all we are expecting. Hopefully this record will continue our career for a few more years until the next record. That’s the goal for me,” Green said.

At 9:30 p.m., award-winning country singer Roger Creager takes the stage. Creager is hard to catch for an interview because — next to being a musician — he spends his time as an adventurer. He does not like to sit still while the world passes by. Whether it’s climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, jumping off his boat to snorkel with wild dolphins, snow skiing in the Rockies, catching tuna 100 miles from shore, piloting his airplane to far-off concerts, spear-fishing around oil rigs, SCUBA diving coral reefs, surfing in Costa Rica, or playing music through the Italian countryside, he tries to get the most out of what the world has to offer. His new EP “Gulf Coast Time” is certainly a slice out of Creager’s life and his love for the ocean. Also performing are JD and the Badlands Band and The Yarbrough Band The schedule was not set at time of publication. For more information and updates, visit artesiaacd.com/reddirt- black-gold or call 575-746-1117.

Christina Stock may be contacted at 622-7710, ext. 309, or at vision@rdrnews.com.