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 Nuggets of News Blog 

Tuesday, March 26 2019

For nearly a decade, those of us who admit to watching TV reality shows related to gold mining have been gold rushenlightened and entertained by Gold Rush, White Water, Bering Sea Gold, Under the Ice, Jungle Gold, and others. And the once-ordinary people we’ve gotten to know from these shows— Todd Hoffman, Parker Schnabel, Rick Ness, Tony Beets, Dakota Fred, Emily Riedel, Shawn Pomrenke to name just a few — became celebrities practically over night. In fact, Gold Rush remains the most-watched Friday night program in all of US television among males aged 18 to 49 and women aged 25 to 54! 

With so much scenic footage of places like Scribner Creek, Eureka Creek, and the Bering Sea, it can almost feel like you’ve been there even though the probability of going to Yukon or Nome is as remote as the actual locations. Reality television is a compelling and very influential form of entertainment. It shows real people, real experiences (with some “Hollywood” thrown in) and we somehow relate to them, especially to the “stars” you either love or love to hate. The challenges of inter-miner-relationships that unfold in front of the viewing public can remind you of your own family dynamics, too. But do you actually LEARN anything VALUABLE about gold mining by tuning in?

Beyond the entertainment value, the answer is yes! Whether gold mining is the way you make your living or more of a hobby, there are many similarities between small scale and large scale operations. Let’s say you go prospecting every Saturday during the summer and have a few nice pieces of equipment and accessories that you haul in your truck. Whether you head for public land or a private claim, you know there are no guarantees. You do some research, set up your sluice, shovel the dirt, put in the hours, but some days you just don’t find gold, or perhaps not enough to pay for your gas and other expenses. Parker and Tony and Rick and other reality show stars are pretty much doing the same, except on a larger scale. Instead of a shovel, they use a D10 dozer. We see their big machines constantly breaking down and the bush-fixes they come up with (who knew eggs could help plug a radiator leak!). In comparison, you’ve probably struggled with the pitch on your highbanker, and had to rely on duct tape a time or two! Instead of a Gold Cube or spiral panner, these TV mine bosses use huge shaker tables to recover their gold. Instead of several hours, they wait several days to do a clean-up and are often still disappointed in the results. In other episodes they're elated and cheering at their success, just like we all do when we find a gold nugget!  

Perhaps one important lesson we can take away from these TV shows is about pivoting. If the ground or stream you’re working doesn’t produce, despite the time and trouble you’ve already invested, re-think your strategy. Maybe you’ll have 10 different ideas or locations, but only one of them will really work. That’s OK. Be willing to change your technique or the matting in the bottom of the sluice or try a different piece of equipment than what you’d normally use. Gold mining is a challenge, but as long as you’re reasonable with your expenditures and your expectations, it’s a heck of a lot of fun in the great outdoors. And it also gets you off the couch… just remember to record those reality shows so you can watch them at a later date when you’re not out in the gold fields "making it happening" as Tony Beets likes to say!  Good luck!

Posted by: Denise AT 06:34 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email