The high school track and field team of Wheeler, Texas was hard at work as I drove through town the other day. 
Let me tell you a bit more about Wheeler. The town consists of the Wheeler County Courthouse, the Wheeler County Museum, the Wheeler County Jail, the Wheeler County fire department and several well-kept houses. Oh, and one stop sign. 
Wheeler does not have a Walmart, and it does not have a McDonald's, but it does have a Baymont Hotel at the edge of town close to the smallest Chevrolet dealership in America, I do believe. The Chevy dealership is right across the road from the barbershop.
I have driven through Wheeler, Texas every year in February for the last 20 years. Perhaps 25 years. I drive through Wheeler on my way to Pampa, Texas to see some friends in that town, have dinner, and talk about the oil business. If the Texas Panhandle has an iconic town, I think it’s Wheeler. The white Ford pickup is the most popular car in town. The white Chevy pickup is the second most popular. The horse is the third.
Over the years the town has remained constant; it’s the activities surrounding the town that change. 20 years ago, gas wells were drilled by the hundreds within five miles of the city limits. Ten years ago wind farms began to appear. Five years ago oil was rediscovered. And cattle. There are always cattle.
I love the Texas Panhandle, but not everybody shares that affection. It is bleak, and it is harsh during the winter and summer. The horizon is uninterrupted by mountains or hills. But it is surprisingly clean. It is not polluted by oil wells. It does not suffer from oil field trash despite having the industry everywhere around it for the last several generations.
If people who hated the oil industry were to visit Wheeler, Texas I think they might just soften their attitude toward this industry. It is beautiful, safe, environmentally friendly and open. You see wind energy alongside oil and gas. You see Chevy owners living alongside Ford owners. You see people of every shape, size and color who simply want to do a fair day's work for a fair wage.
Will there be an oil industry in 20 years? Some people say no. Most of us know better than that. Here is what I do know: the oil industry will ebb and flow, will rise and fall, and the sons and daughters of Wheeler, Texas will be there to do the work when it needs done.