Joe’s broad nose, square chin, and large wide-set eyes might not be your vision of what a roughneck looks like, but this guy is a Texas symbol of the “highest ideals of the oil and natural gas industry.”
You say you never heard of him? Well neither have I, and I’ve lived in Texas for 34 years, and even worked in the oil industry in the 1980′s. And, if that isn’t bad enough, one of his “busts” is located just ten miles from my home, at Candy Cane Park, in Conroe, Texas, and proudly marks one of only four Joe Roughneck oilfield monuments in Texas.
As a Texan, I hung my head low at my ignorance, and knew it was time to educate myself. My teacher, the American Oil & Gas Historical Society, whose website filled me in on all the details.
It appears Joe started out in the advertising industry in the 1950′s, after being created by Torg Thompson to appear in ads for the Lone Star Steel company. He soon became a symbol for the “Chief Redneck Award” given to those being honored for their achievement and character in the industry.
To learn more about the history of Joe, visit AOGHS.org.