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Gold Rush Star Parker Schnabel Compares Gold Mining To Going To Las Vegas

One of the most popular reality television genres right now seems to be shows about professions that make their money for the entire year in just a few months doing a particularly difficult or risky profession. According to a 2016 interview with People, "Deadliest Catch" captains Gary and Kenny Ripka, crab fishing captains don't make typical wages or salaries but rather make money based on what they sell, and captains can make as much as $150,000-175,000, and the deckhands can earn $15,000-50,000. According to alt_driver, the drivers on "Ice Road Truckers" similarly make anywhere from $40,000-100,000 for just a few months' worth of work, freeing them up for the rest of the year.

"Gold Rush" might not be as high stakes as "Deadliest Catch" or "Ice Road Truckers," but mining operations have a similarly small window throughout the year to mine gold, meaning that gold miners have to make all their money for the year in the span of that small window. According to Parker Schnabel on Reddit, he pays his "Gold Rush" crew about a median of $34/hour. Schnabel, for his part, is worth about $10 million, according to Wealthy Persons, so it would seem that the gold business is pretty lucrative for him.

In one interview, Schnabel described gold mining as being similar to going to play in a casino in Las Vegas, and it was a surprisingly apt simile.

Parker Scnable says gold mining's intensity keeps viewers coming back

In a 2018 interview with Rick Ness, Parker Schnabel, and Tony Beets for BUILD Brunch, the trio were asked what keeps viewers coming back to a show like "Gold Rush" and Schnabel pointed to the show's intensity. "It's a very intense business. You have a very short amount of time, we have four months to basically make all the money that we can in the season. So it's a very intense business that there's not a lot of room for error. And you never know what you're going to get. It's like going to Vegas!" However, while gold mining is certainly fraught with risks, actually funding one's budget for the year based on gambling winnings would be even riskier.

According to Bree Harrison, a former member of Parker Schnabel's crew, answering a question in a Reddit thread, mining season generally runs from about April to October, which is slightly more than four months. "A few of the crew usually go up mid March to dewinterize everything and get camp ready. The rest of show up around the end of March/early April. Then we stay until about mid October, later if the weather holds and camp doesn't freeze so we can do more stripping." So apparently once the ground starts to freeze, gold mining season ends, meaning that Schnabel was exaggerating slightly with his figure of four months, but not by much. It's still a very limited amount of time for the miners to make all their money for the year.