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Forum editorial board, Published February 27 2012

Forum editorial: ‘Party in the Patch’ looks iffy

The Standard English translation of lines from Robert Burns’ 1785 poem “To a Mouse,” goes like this:

The best-laid plans of mice and men/Often go awry.

So what does one do with the worst-laid plans?

That should be the question Troy McKinley is asking himself this week after his plans for a Memorial Day weekend “Party in the Patch” were, at best, put on hold, at worst, scrapped. McKinley, a truck driver and self-styled event promoter, made somewhat of a splash last week when he announced plans for an ambitious singles party on a tract of land south of Williston, N.D., in the heart of the state’s booming Bakken oil play. Taking note of the imbalance between the population of young male oil workers and young women in the Oil Patch, McKinley said he was advertising in Chicago, Minneapolis and far and wide for women to come to the North Dakota gala, which he described as a weekend-long singles dance. (Singles? Will he require proof at the gate that the ticket-holders indeed are single?)

Problem is the owner of the land where event promoter/truck driver McKinley said the party would be held is having nothing to do with it or him. The landowner told Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple that he and McKinley had discussed the idea but there was no agreement to host it. Indeed, the landowner apparently is so put off by the party that he refused to give his name to the media because he does not want to be associated with McKinley’s plan.

Plan? What plan? First, the site the promoter was promoting is off limits. Second, McKinley had not (as of today) secured permit(s) and other clearances he would need from local governments and law enforcement. Third, he has not obtained some sort of permit to sell beer at the party site, wherever it might be. It probably will be difficult to secure all those site-specific OKs for a site that does not exist.

On that score, McKinley said he has an as yet unspecified backup location. And he is continuing to sell tickets online at $150 for the weekend for men, $20 for women. His aim is to attract one or two women for every five men. No word on how many takers. No word on how many Chicago or Twin Cities single women are desperate enough to travel to western North Dakota to party in the spring dust (or mud) at a yet-to-be-decided location with Oil Patch guys.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.