Earn $2,000 a night as a boomtown stripper
By Blake Ellis October 25, 2011: 2:52 PM ET
WILLISTON, N.D. (CNNMoney) — Forget Vegas. Strippers are discovering they can make ten times as much dancing in the oil boomtown of Williston, N.D.
Thousands of men have come here seeking high-paying jobs working for the oil companies. And, at the end of the day (or four or five days when they’re working on a rig), many of them are looking for some female companionship at one of the town’s two strip club’s, Whispers or Heartbreakers.
Word has gotten out about just how much money can be made dancing in Williston’s strip clubs. The money is phenomenal, but the competition is stiff.
Whispers has received applications from exotic dancers in Hawaii, Alaska, even the Czech Republic and Germany, said Melissa Slapnicka, the co-owner of the club. She’s been bombarded with so many applications that she only gives each dancer a week to try out. If they don’t work out, they don’t come back, she said.
“We used to have to beg people to come, and now we have to turn them away because we don’t have room for all the people who want to dance,” she said. “My best girls would rather dance here than in Vegas, because they make more money here.”
Double your salary in the middle of nowhere, North Dakota
Kit, a 36-year old stripper who has been dancing for 10 years in places like Las Vegas, Texas and California, first started coming to Williston a few years ago in between higher-paying jobs, because she had friends who danced in the town who were able to hook her up with gigs.
At first, the nightly tips were nothing special, but over the past year — thanks to the thousands of men who have flocked here and landed high-paying jobs — she has been making $2,000 to $3,000 a night, about the same amount she would have earned in an entire week in Vegas.
“We make more than doctors,” she said. “Back in the day, it was hard to make $200 a night. It was like pulling teeth. Now you can pull in $2,000 a night.”
According to Slapnicka, most of her strippers make that much in a night. Even when it’s slow, they still take home about $1,500.
But even those slow nights are few and far between. Unlike Vegas, where Kit said you have to time your jobs around special events to make the best money, Williston is busy every day of the week, all year round.
“Other places, [the men] wait until Friday because it’s payday, but here they don’t wait — it’s payday every day,” she said.
And the dancers aren’t the only ones in the club profiting from the oil boom.
Slapnicka, who bartends, said she used to make $50 in tips a night if she was lucky. Now it’s more like $200. “They just throw their money at you,” she said.
Kit said most of her customers are married men who have moved to North Dakota without their families.
“They’re just here for a little company, because they’re lonely,” said Kit. “They work like four days on, four days off, 24 hours, with no break, no alcohol. So when they have days off they’re gonna’ drink, and when they drink they want to play.”
Since the club is always filled with oilfield workers, it has become a popular spot for new arrivals to find jobs on the rigs or as truck drivers.
“Guys who get off the train will come here and say they don’t have a job, and I say sit here for three hours — and they have a job when they leave,” said Slapnicka.