Still Watching: Gold Rush

Somehow this show has been on the air for nine seasons.  I would like to advocate for this stupid show.  Unlike most reality shows, the majority of it has to be real.  I have picked up a few “controversies” that were obviously manufactured, but they’ve had less and less of them as the seasons have gone on.  It’s mostly real because of the sheer dollars involved in running a mining operation, literally tens of thousands of dollars a day running equipment.  While I’m sure the participants are all being paid and they’re thankful for the extra money, the show can’t possibly be funding more than a few percentage points extra profit margin.  There are also some really fantastic lessons that you can learn from this show.  The main characters over the years have been Todd Hoffman and his crew of possibly Mormons out of eastern Oregon, Tony Beets and his family operation in the Yukon Territory of Canada (where the show has shifted it’s focus after the first three season or so, having started in the Haynes Alaska area) and Parker Schnabel  who we met in Season 1 as a 15 year old working in the summers on his Grandfather’s Gold Mine.

With Todd and his crew, we saw a group of people that were really treasure hunters not gold miners, at no point did Todd ever really understand how to run a business, how to plan for the long term and ultimately it cost him.  He never was successful, put too much faith in getting help from god, but not helping himself and left the show with the same delusions of grandeur he came to the show with.  I hope if there’s another season his son somehow ends up working for one of the other crews, because that kid actually learned from his father’s mistakes.  With Tony, we see a guy who is kind of an asshole – except to his own family who he would do anything for, and the reason he’s an asshole is because he’s trying to build a sustainable gold mining operation that can fund his three children and their families after he’s too old to work anymore.  He’s also an immigrant success story – he came to Canada (not the U.S.) from Holland as a young man, with no money or skills beyond a work ethic (and a very smart wife) and built a multi-million dollar business.  The best arc has been Parker, a kid who started his own mining operation when he was 19, he is the ultimate contrast to Todd.  He built a real business, thought about long-term costs and benefits, invested back into the operation and slowly developed into a better boss and better leader.  He’s also still a 23 or 24 year old kid and still makes stupid mistakes which is also interesting to watch.

Yes I know most episodes over play routine mechanical failures like life or death issues – but if your still a 4 year old boy at heart and like trucks, that’s fun too.  Anybody still watching?