‘Gold Rush’: Rick Ness Explains Why Timing of COVID-19 Pandemic was Brutal for Him

by Joe Rutland

“Gold Rush” mine captain Rick Ness remembers that when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, well, its timing was brutal for him.

Ness, who started out as a member of Parker Schnabel’s team before going off on his own, talked about it with Movieguide.

“This spring was one of the most frustrating parts of my life,” Ness said. “I mean, I was at home, here in Brookfield, Wisconsin. I haven’t been home in April in nine years since I started doing this and it was just bizarre.

“And the gold prices were going up and fuel prices were just way down,” he said. “That’s like the magic formula for my business. And so, to say it was frustrating is putting it mildly.” 

“Gold Rush” remains one of the Discovery Channel’s most popular shows. Besides Ness and Schnabel, other mining captains include Tony Beets and Fred Lewis. It is in its 12th season on TV.

‘Gold Rush’ Captain Reveals Part of Process That Can Lead Miners to ‘Lose Focus’

Sometimes, the work of a “Gold Rush” mining team can actually become rather monotonous and boring. That’s not a good combination when really looking to score big gold numbers in the mines.

Ness, during a 2018 interview with Channel Guide Magazine, spoke on this topic.

He said his team got a bit of a late start “and we had a lot of ground to move and a lot of stripping to do this spring.”

Ness also mentions that is’ rather easy for “everybody to lose focus and forget what they’re there for and what they’re doing. I was seeing that in everybody.”

The mine captain absolutely says that the work can get monotonous after a while.

Ness also said, “But as soon as we started sluicing, and as soon as that first gold showed up in the sluice box, I brought my friends in there who had never seen it before.”

Ness Makes Sure His Team Spends Time In Other Locales While Driving Up

It is important for everyone to focus on the job at hand. Ness knows this and keeps his team both focused and relaxed, too.

He talked about the team’s movement in an interview with Hollywood Soapbox.

“For me and my guys in general, we start off in Wisconsin, and we road trip all the way out to Colorado,” Ness said. “We stop at places in Colorado, Nevada, Arizona — some of it business, some of it [for] pleasure. The cameras catch it all, and I think people are really going to enjoy it. We all had a lot of fun doing it, and we all got a lot of work done, too.”

That’s quite a trip for all of them to make.