OIL: The Biggest Thing Yet?

Rising at dawn one brisk November morning, Joe York, a middle-aged dairy farmer in Scurry County, Tex., shoved aside his patched blue jeans and scuffed working boots and put on his fanciest rancher's garb. Until then, the biggest day in Joe York's life had been a calf-roping contest in which he won $150. Now he was after a far bigger prize.

In a corner of his 286-acre farm, Joe joined a crowd of several hundred oil scouts, brokers, geologists and gawking neighbors around the tin-hatted crew working the rig on a 128-ft. oil...

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