The South Atlantic Well Drillers know how to do it up.

Neither a slowing economy, nor soggy summer weather nor some very early school openings dampened the spirits of the drilling contractors, exhibitors and family members who turned out to enjoy this year’s South Atlantic Well Drillers Jubilee. In fact, according to Jane Cain, the Jubilee’s executive director, the show’s success exceeded expectations in all regards.

In the 48 years since the event’s beginning as an industry “outing” at Carolina Beach, N.C., the show has managed to keep its atmosphere of family fun. Over the years, however, the Jubilee has expanded to become one of the most prestigious trade shows in the industry.

“The total attendance this year was slightly more than 4,000, with a gain of 41 in the number of contractors,” says Cain. “That’s a great turn out, especially when you consider fact that many drilling contractors are experiencing a slower late spring and summer job season than expected.” Attendees came from 38 states as well as from Canada, China, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Guatemala and Africa.

All attendees were invited to attend breakfast on Monday, hosted by Amtrol Inc., and breakfast on Tuesday, hosted by Noland Co. The pre-trade show breakfasts are a great way to get attendees started on a busy day of viewing the exhibits and learning about new products and special trade show offers.

The 211 exhibitors, who displayed thousands of products and whose booths filled the trade show floor to overflowing, also expressed satisfaction with the crowd. “It’s a great crowd,” notes Robert Ubraico of Goulds/ITT, “one of the best I’ve seen.” Ubriaco also mentioned that he particularly liked the new booth layout. “It really opens things up for the exhibitors and the attendees,” he says.

Drillers who wanted continuing education credits could choose from 27 different classes covering topics from operating and trouble shooting rig compressors to fleet safety, water treatment and federal DOT regulations.

A special workshop on ground water laws, water rights and what drillers should know about them, called “Who Owns the Water,” was presented by attorney Jesse Richardson. Richardson is a nationally known expert on water rights law and is on retainer to the Jubilee. Kathleen Stanley, executive director of the Water Systems Council, joined Richardson in the seminar. Stanley spoke about a state-by-state survey of ground water laws that was recently released by the Council.

The Worth Pickard All Jubilee Family Dinner was attended by more than 1,000 people who enjoyed a down-home pig-picking. Before the dinner, Pickard was honored at the Carolina Reunion, a reception for people who attended the first Jubilee in Carolina Beach, N.C. Following the dinner, Pickard, who is retiring from the Jubilee’s board of directors, was honored for his 40 years of service to the Jubilee. He is a past president of the Jubilee and a winner of the Jubilee’s prestigious George McCall award for outstanding service to the drilling industry. Jubilee president Loyd Watson presented him with the Jubilee’s “special star” trophy as Pickard received a standing ovation from the crowd.

The 2003 George McCall Award was presented by Worth Pickard to Dottie Mixon-Roberts, Mixon Foundation and Drilling, San Antonio, Fla. Roberts is a past president of the Florida Ground Water Association, a long time editor of the association’s newsletter and has been an active association member for 20 years. She is a recipient of its Member of the Year Award. Currently, she chairs the association’s convention committee and serves on the Florida continuing education planning committee.

Mixon-Roberts is the first woman to serve on the Jubilee board of directors. She is a past president of the Jubilee and chairs the Jubilee’s 50th Anniversary Committee. She also is a member of the services committee.

Jubilee scholarship winners were announced following the awards ceremony. Sixteen awards of $1,000 per student were given out to Ellen Rose Alderson, Amy Andrews, Courtney Brooke Ballinger, Kevin Duane Beck, Keri Camille Burkett, Rebecca Anne Creasy, William Grant Floyd, James Lucas Frame, Sarah Mae Gary, Randa Christine Givens, Christine Brannen Green, Jared Doyle Lane, April Melissa McNeil, Becky Bissette Strickland, Katherine Lea Anne Watson and Lindsay Dawn Willis.

The 49th annual South Atlantic Well Drillers Jubilee takes place at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center July 31-August 3, 2004.