‘Gold Rush’ Star Dustin Hurt Talks Being His Own Boss This Season

by Amy Myers

After years of following his father’s lead, Gold Rush star Dustin Hurt is finally the big man on the mine this season. Hurt and his father, Fred, have always been an iconic team in the White Water spinoff, dredging for specks of gold among powerful and many times dangerous rapids.

Throughout their years working side-by-side, the two have created a respectable reputation in Alaska. But now, the dynamic has changed. Rather than taking the reins on the new operations, Fred has decided to take a backseat while his son guides the way.

While Hurt had no issue being second in command, he does seem to be excited about the promotion.

“Yeah, Fred didn’t want to run a crew this year,” the Gold Rush star told Looper. “And it was a good benefit for me to have two groups out there. I think I made the right choice on that. We had some good people, and I don’t know how much I can tell you about that. But we did get some good people. And I think it worked out just fine, the way we made it happen.”

According to Hurt, the reason behind Fred’s decision to step down as the head of the operation has to do with his age. Now that he’s “getting up there in age,” the almost 80-year-old miner has decided to transition from full-time to part-time. Understanding his father’s decision, Hurt is more than ready to step up to the plate and take over the larger responsibilities that fell into Fred’s hands. But with one less full-time member on the team, Hurt knew he had to recruit some new faces to the Gold Rush team.

‘Gold Rush’ Star Recruits Old Friend to Join Mining Efforts

When Dustin Hurt first began prepping to run two teams at separate operations, he knew he needed some miners with experience by his side. Oftentimes, the Gold Rush stars will recruit newcomers to the trade and train them on the job, but Hurt had other ideas in mind. Instead, he called up an old friend that he knew would help speed up productivity and make a great addition to the team.

Thankfully, Kayla Johanson was available and agreed to join the crew. A miner since her teen years, Johanson came from a line of miners that worked independently and never stopped digging. Her determination, innovation and motivation were all apparent from the moment fans met the new Gold Rush star.

However, unlike most of Hurt’s team, Johanson had only ever worked alone. She expressed that she was nervous about fitting in with the rest of the gang and how her experience would play into the group’s dynamic. Still, Johanson didn’t shy away from the challenge, already making her a valuable member of Hurt’s operation.