Gold Rush’s Parker Schnabel: “It was the best thing I ever did”

Gold Rush Parker Schanbel Discovery Channel

Gold Rush’s Parker Schnabel has a lot to celebrate this season. As we grab our Miller Lites and prepare to park ourselves on the couch for the three-hour season finale event of Gold Rush (beginning tonight at 8pmET/7pmCT), there are a few things we tried to get answers on from the 21-year-old mining master himself. We got 10 minutes with Gold Rush’s Parker Schnabel who gave us the real dirt on things like his relationship with Todd Hoffman, his respect for Rick Ness and how he enjoyed the offseason (yeah, we’re jealous!).

The evening begins with The Dirt at 8pmET/7pmCT. The filming of that episode was actually the first time Parker, Todd and Tony Beets got together all season.

“It was interesting,” Schnabel says. “For me, I thought it was just a friendly competition between Todd and I. But the one thing for me, personally, that I took away from sitting down with Todd and Tony on The Dirt is that Todd really doesn’t like me, which I’m not sure if that means I’ve done something right or done something wrong. He has a very personal dislike for me. I don’t know if I should go so far as to say hatred but it borderlines on that.”

So what exactly is Hoffman’s beef? Parker doesn’t know and doesn’t really care. “I didn’t ask him but it seems like a pretty extreme stance on his part but that’s fine — to each his own, right?” This could be the end of their rivalry, however, if the Hoffmans decide not to return to the Klondike next year. For Parker, whatever they decide, it doesn’t bother him a bit. “They can do whatever they want.”


But Parker’s story really isn’t about this inflated rivalry with Todd — his story is rising from the ashes with no team and no foreman and finding success. “Gene [Cheeseman] leaving was a bit of an interesting thing. This time last year I was kind of a mess. I didn’t know what was going to happen. I didn’t know what to try and do without him,” Schnabel tells. “I was looking at just bringing in someone else who had a lot of experience and I started thinking about it, and then I thought, ‘Well no, I’ve got myself and Rick Ness.’ Rick is an amazing foreman. He’s a great guy and he wanted more responsibility, and I decided why not trust somebody I’ve worked with for several years — it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. He did a great job. Rick’s a great guy —very good worker, very smart and dedicated. The thing about Gene leaving, is that it gave us kind of our imagination back — to be able to try new things and change things up, bringing those conveyors onboard and Goldzilla and the way we got set up was a very unique setup. It’s combining a lot of different ideas that people have to move dirt and sluice different ground. Once we got that established, we saved and made a pile of money.”

Speaking of piles of money, we tried to get some insight on just how much these guys net in this profession but didn’t get too far. “Well, you’re not going to get a straight answer from any gold miner to that question,” Schnabel says. “Up to this point, I’m working on building some new equipment, and all the money we made has been put back into equipment and looking for ground and put it back in the company, in those ways.”

Our remaining few minutes were focused on getting answers for fans:

Question from fan John Kranich:
Everyone knows where you are and that you are storing jars of gold, so how does security play into all of that? Is that in the back of your mind?

No, it doesn’t worry me at all. I have a big safe and a big shotgun.

Question from fan WillieO:
What do you do when you’re not mining?

This winter I spent a month and a half — well not quite, about five weeks — between Australia and New Zealand.
Awesome! Doing what?
In Australia, pretty much lying on a beach drinking Corona. In New Zealand I went to look at a bunch of gold mines, actually.
Would you ever consider that?
I’d consider it in the wintertime — our winter is their summer so I’d consider going over there, but that wasn’t the purpose of the mission. It was really to see how they do things and how they move dirt.

Question from fan AnnieL:
What did Grandpa John have to say about your season?
He was stoked. Actually, we were just down for his birthday on Feb. 13; we had a great time. He’s 96 now.

Question from fan Jimmy:
When you are mining, what do you pack for your lunch every day?
It depends on the day. Bailey our cook usually makes me a lunch. Probably the best is when we have prime rib leftovers, we’ll have prime rib sandwiches. … There used to be a lot of real unhealthy things that I’d eat, but I tried to get away from that because it’s not very good for you — sugary stuff. I try to eat a little more healthy. A banana, a good roast beef or prime rib sandwich. I’m not a picky eater — if anything, it’s just a pain in the ass.

Are you committed to coming back next year?
Well officially Gold Rush hasn’t been picked up for Season 7 [yet], but the show is doing well so hopefully if the powers that be think that we’re adding something, the show will get picked back up and we’ll be back at it. I’ll be mining either way.

If you got to cherry pick anybody to be on your team and money was not an object, who are five people you would pick?
I’d pick the group of guys I got right now. If they would stick with me.

 Gold Rush's Parker Schanbel on the Season 6 finale

Question from fan John Kranich:
Do you get a lot of comments that you look like Kylo Ren, the villain in Star Wars: The Force Awakens [played by Adam Driver]?
I get a lot of people who will send me a message on Facebook or Twitter, “Oh I look like you.” and it’s like a white guy with brown hair and a big nose, and it’s not that hard to replicate. There’s a lot of us around.




  1. Parker love to watch your show. I’m a business owner my self, and have a crew of people working for me. As you know so well it is hard at times to keep things running smooth. You take charge and bull right ahead. My repair shop is for heavy equipment from small truck to big trucks, cranes, and all types of construction equipment. My dad starter the business 58 years ago and I have been it 43 years. Love to work and no plans of retiring. I love to run equipment also. Hope you do real well again the year, best of luck. Sorry about you loss of your grandfather. He seemed like a great man.

  2. Good luck Parker the two old fools don’t know how to work and drive a team . Give them a run for their money young man keep it up keep your head down and everything will work

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