Discovery packaged a great one-hour special edition of “Gold Rush” highlighting the heavy machinery that produces the gold for Parker Schnable, Todd Hoffman and Tony Beets. Catch a short look at “Monster Machines” posted below to get the flavor of it all.
There’s only one thing that sends the crews into bouts of anger and frustration and that’s when the equipment fails and operations must grind to a halt. In this season 7, we’ve all watched as hiccups, big and small took down Parker’s Sluicifer, Todd’s Monster Red and Tony Beets’ dredge. Of course, the washplant is not the source of Todd’s real problems this season! For a good look at those “problems”, take a gander at the latest!
These gold entrepreneurs didn’t begin with the best and newest equipment. The money needed for that was yet to be earned, so they began small. In “Monster Machines”, we got a trip down memory lane with much younger versions of the crew members and their machine history, so to speak. It even included a quick look at the departed Fred Hurt.
To say there is a checkered past is an understatement but as Discovery notes, “The washplants featured on “Gold Rush” have trapped more than $18 million worth of gold.” How did it all begin for Parker, Todd and Tony?
Back in the day, Hoffman and crew built their own from second hand parts. The cost? $20,000 for a machine weighing in at 14 tons, running only 50 yards of pay dirt an hour. Trial and error with a jerry-rigged machine was expected. As Hoffman says, “That whole time was just desperate. We were just relying on this plant to keep us going”. As you’d expect, repairs were a regular occurrence.
Parker Schnable’s humble start at the age of 18 was with a machine purchased for $40,000 from Todd Hoffman. A conventional shaker dubbed “Little Blue”. An upgrade from Todd’s first plant, it weighed in at 10 tons and ran 100 yards of paydirt an hour. As Parker said, “It’s not the greatest… but it’s what I could afford. A first washplant is a bit like a first car, I guess.”
Schanble accepted the condition of the machine, which wasn’t good, and spent an additional $10,000 to add a hopper-feeder to increase the amount of pay they could run per hour. Warned by Rick and Gene that working the thing too hard would blow it up, the young and brash Parker gave the orders. Inevitably it happened.
Tony Beets’ gold mining history goes back some 30 years, and he worked with conventional washplants, until 2015 when he made the decision to jump to a dredge. He risked everything to return to the methods used by those that came before him. As with most things, Beets never had buyer’s remorse, and plowed ahead despite skepticism from his crew and family.
He bought a 76 year-old dredge, the most expensive in “Gold Rush” history, coming in at a whopping $1 million. It weighed in at 350 tons to run 100 yards of paydirt an hour, using 2,000 gallons or water a minute to do it. Tony took four months to take it apart, only to haul it to his claim and put it back together.
The very last day of the season it was ready to roll. As we know from this season, Beets’ decision paid dividends and quickly. He made back his money less than half-way into the mining season. It emboldened him to purchase a second dredge, which he’s in the midst of getting up and running.
Discovery airs new episodes of “Gold Rush” Friday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT Image/video credit: Discovery Communications, used with permission