‘Gold Rush’: Rick Ness Had Brief Window to Recover from Mother’s Death Before First Season as a Mine Boss

by Thad Mitchell
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Rick Ness, star of the hit Discovery Channel reality show “Gold Rush,” knows all about the sacrifice it takes to strike gold.

The “Gold Rush” centerpiece has dedicated a big part of his life to removing gold from under the surface of the earth. It takes a great deal of commitment to be a gold rusher and you spend much of your time away from loved ones. Striking gold, however, is a lucrative proposition which is why you see many people trying to find the precious metal. Beyond the goal of hitting gold and getting rich, gold rushing is a fun hobby to some.

There is a great deal of thrill that comes along with finding something shiny in your sluicing instrument. Ness knows this as well as anyone as he’s found gold on more than a couple of occasions. Just a few years ago, Ness decided it was time to stake out on his own and put together his own team. The decision was a tough one and it came with a price.

The “Gold Rush” star was close with his mother as well as others back home in Wisconsin. When his mother passed away a few years ago, Ness had to abbreviate the grieving phase. Gold waits for no one and Ness knew it was now or never for him and his young team. That meant cutting the planning phase short in order to get ready for the quickly approaching “Gold Rush” season. In a 2018 interview, he talks about the difficulties he had in working out a plan.

“It was a crazy year for me,” he says. “Obviously, I spent the beginning of the year with my mom until she passed, and then I really only had about two and a half weeks to plan for this season.”

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Gold rushers prefer to have ample time to put together a plan of attack for the upcoming “Gold Rush” season. Ness says that gold diggers would ideally like to have a year to plan things out. With only a week available before go time, the team frantically prepared to search for gold.

“Most of the time you’d want probably a year or more,” he recalls. “So it was pretty much a frantic, just throwing stuff together, getting some people together, and just getting up there and then putting in the work and really just rolling with the punches and kind of flying by the seat of my pants all summer.”

Despite the frantic pass of “Gold Rush,” Ness has seen his fair share of success in locating the valuable metal. The 12th season of the heavily popular show recently got underway, premiering late last month.

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