Duke Cannon Good Folks Project: Dawson Willyard

If you’ve read the Internet at any point in the last 10 years, we wouldn’t blame you for thinking that no one under 25 has any semblance of a real job. This is patently false, of course, and Dawson Willyard is but one proof point. At only 19 years old, Dawson may be the youngest honoree of the Duke Cannon Good Folks Project, but he’s no less deserving. Up at 5 AM all seven days of the week, he works on an oil field – a difficult, dangerous, and dirty job that demands focus and physical labor for at least 12 hours a day. All of which he does without complaint, according to his older sister, who nominated Dawson.

She says, “He will help anybody who is in need, and never expects anything in return. He goes out of his way to make his family and friends know they are loved and cared for. He goes to work everyday, and has since he was 15 years old! He loves his country and stands for freedom, honor, respect, and love. He defends the weak and won’t back down from what he believes is right!”

Yes sir, this young man embodies Duke Cannon’s virtues of hard work, patriotism, chivalry, and sincerity. And he gives us great hope that our future is in good hands. We look forward to buying you a beer in a couple years, Dawson.


“I’ve never been one to sit and do nothing.”

A No-BS Interview with Dawson Willyard


DC: Describe a typical day, in a nutshell.

DW: Wake up at 5 am to head to work. I’ll get most stuff done in the morning, from working on our down hole tools to whatever is needed in the shop. I’ll try to go to lunch around 12, but that never works. Usually lunch around 2 or 3, then from there work until about 6 or longer depending on the day.

DC: Why did you choose such a demanding profession when it would have been easier to, say, backpack around Europe for four years to “find yourself?”

DW: Well because I’ve never been one to sit and do nothing. I like to try and keep myself busy, and there’s a lot to learn from the field I am in. My whole family has done it since before I was born and I just kind of followed in their footsteps. I love that it’s usually always something new.

DC: What’s one skill that an oil field professional has about which the general public generally doesn’t know?

DW: A lot of people see people in the oil field as just grunts, but it takes a lot of knowledge and time to learn how things work and how it all comes together to drill just one hole in the ground for oil. There’s a lot of hours, hard days, and long weeks to make sure things get done right.

DC: Since you’re only 19 years old, we assume most of your coworkers are older than you. Do they give you a hard time because of your age?

DW: You would be right; I am the youngest person at work, and you would think they would, but I get to work and bust my ass day in and day out to make something of myself. No one can say anything about me because I get in there and work as if I was the same age as everyone else. I was told one time by my older brother, ‘All you have in this world is your name and your work ethnic and nothing else. In a small world, stuff like that gets around to a lot of people, so make it something you would be proud of.’

DC: When is the last time you’ve decided to take a “me day” by sleeping in ’till 11 and spending the afternoon listening to Spotify in a coffee shop?

DW: Well that’s something I can’t even remember. I usually work 7 days a week, and when I do get a day here and there, I have just enough time to do stuff around the house and get things situated. In a short life like this there isn’t much time to sleep in and waste a day; if you want to be anything in this life you have to get up early and bust your butt. Nothing is ever given to you in life. If you want it, you have to work for it, and that’s what a lot of people my age don’t understand.

DC: What Duke Cannon product should every oilfield professional have?

DW: Heavy Duty Hand Soap to get those dang hands clean because it doesn’t matter how hard you try to keep from getting dirty, your hands get dirty no matter what.