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Why American Pickers Rarely Travels West For Picks

While most everybody across the United States likely has something valuable stored in their sheds or somewhere on their property, gathering dust, Mike Wolfe believes it's easier finding vintage goods in only certain parts of the country.

The "American Pickers" star has scoured the country to find hidden gems from America's past since 2010. In his experience, finding forgotten valuables becomes increasingly difficult the more south and west one goes.

"I live in Nashville, and it's tough to find stuff down there, and even tougher to find stuff out West," Wolfe told radio station Y94 in Syracuse, New York, ahead of the debut of "American Pickers" Season 5 in November 2011. Alluding to how pioneers traveled west to places like Oregon and California during the Westward Expansion, Wolfe explained, "The farther West people went, the less they brought."

Deeper in the South, Wolfe added, there aren't as many opportunities to pick because of poverty and the insistence of people to hold on to any family heirlooms they do have. "Down South, you hit the backroads and, you know, in Alabama and Mississippi, [and] Tennessee, people didn't have a lot ... the thing is, too, they hold a lot of family history so close to themselves. If they have anything at all, they would never turn it loose. Like, I've come across a piece of really cool primitive furniture that was made by a relative, but they would absolutely never sell it."

Wolfe says 'everything is on the East Coast' when it comes to picks

While picks in the South and West aren't as aplenty as in other regions of the U.S., Mike Wolfe of "American Pickers" said on the flipside that he's had plenty of success in the Northeast. "Everything's out here," Mike Wolfe told Y94. "I mean, the Industrial Age of America — all the ports, all the manufacturing — I mean, everything is on the East Coast. So, I made my own living way before the show."

Wolfe also mentioned a prominent Midwestern city where a friend of his had success making picks of items from decades ago. "There was an old picker in Chicago, [where] they just had an auction, and he was going into areas that were pretty rough and tough back in the '50s. [He] was getting stuff out of garages ... that's how he amassed such a huge collection. So, there's always stuff turning up."

Season 24 of "American Pickers" kicked off on January 4, 2023. The season mainly featured ventures across the Midwest, with the pickers spending a great deal of time in Nebraska and Michigan. The season wrapped up after ten episodes on March 8 with an entry that found Wolfe in Detroit exploring an old and abandoned Packard plant.