(We spoke to Dorothy Hill, daughter of the late C. P. Ross.)
Involvement in the Oil Industry
Clare moved to the Lloydminster district in 1917 at the age of 11. His family homesteaded and farmed four miles south and two miles east of Lloydminster in the Southminster district. He became interested in the oil business when drilling operations were taking place on his farm. Clare and Charlie Mills, who owned the drilling company, became friends. Charlie asked Clare to become his toolpush for service rigs. In 1946, Clare got his start in the oilfield.
In 1948, Ross Servicing was started when Charlie Mills sold his three service rigs to Clare. In 1951 Border Drilling was formed. A drilling rig was purchased and operated in partnership with Art Babb. Clare's nephew, Jack Ross, joined Border Drilling in 1963, followed by Howard Cayford in 1970.
The first pump shop in the area, Ross and Nygren, was started in 1958 by Clare Ross and Carl Nygren. In 1967, Border Trucking was formed in partnership with Joe Gallagher. This operation expanded in 1974 with Bob Kerr as co-owner.
Clare retired as president of the Border Drilling Company in November 1981.
Over the years Clare encouraged and supported people who were interested in starting their own business. He believed in competitive enterprise.
During his years in the oil business in Lloydminster, he was involved in putting the first derrick service rig in the field, building it from an old drilling rig. They built two new drilling rigs, put the first pressure truck in operation and brought in the first foam unit in Canada. He saw business increase to two drilling rigs, six service rigs, 18 trucks, two pump shops and a wire line service. Border Drilling drilled about 1,000 wells, amounting to about two million feet of hole in the Lloydminster area.
Dorothy remembers how conscientious her father was. She recalls how much time he spent with the drilling rigs. He barely left the rig until the well came in.