The Barnett Shale Fields Make People Rich and Happy. Just Ask Cabela’s Customers.

The Barnett Shale’s impact is being felt in some surprising ways.

If the economy is slouching toward recession, a lot of good ol’ boys (and girls) in Fort Worth aren’t feeling it. A new study commissioned by the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce shows that the natural gas from the Barnett Shale fields created more than 83,000 jobs and pumped more than $8.2 billion into the local economy. Because of numbers like those, developer Ross Perot Jr. is optimistic about how well D-FW will weather the coming months. But numbers aren’t as important as what he heard while perusing the shelves of goodies at Cabela’s in Cowtown.

One of the store’s employees, Perot says, buttonholed the Hillwood headman and told him that there are “a staggering number of ranchers walking in here with wads of hundred-dollar bills,” buying up high-end shotguns and other outdoor toys.

Cabela’s folks say Perot wasn’t exaggerating. While the company is tight-lipped about specific sales figures, Pete Marshall, the store’s public relations manager, says sales were up dramatically in 2007. Sources couldn’t confirm whether this will only serve to strengthen the rest of the country’s belief that we’re nothing more than a bunch of gun-toting hillbillies.

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