Tonight’s episode of "Gold Rush" was an extra episode of “Gold Rush – The Dirt.” This episode brought back memories of the brave souls who went before the modern-day gold miners. Those who had to work with primitive tools and the sweat of their brow to find the gold. In a tribute to the new drama on Discovery called “Klondike,” that begins on Monday, January 20, the miners of today experience what it was like back in 1898 in the Klondike.
On this episode, there are three teams: Team Parker, Team Tony Beets and Team Production. These teams will compete in turn-of-the-century tasks to see if they are rugged enough to withstand the rigors of the guys who led the way for them.
Two guys who helped set up this competition were Guy Favron and Neil Loveless, whose families have been mining the Yukon for over a century. They agreed to help control the chaos, judge the events, and determine which team would have made the best turn of the century gold miners. They also invited the San Francisco 49ers Cheerleaders to come to liven up the set. Dressed in clothing from back then; the teams and judges had fun messing up each other’s clothes to add to the authenticity. However, what Guy and Neil disclosed, was just how hard it was for the miners to reach Dawson City. A set of stairs carved in the snow was the only way for the miners traveling on foot to reach Dawson. This feat separated many miners from hopefuls who just could not complete this treacherous climb that had to be done several times to haul equipment. One hundred thousand people attempted this, and about 30,000 actually made it.
The team captains are: Parker Schnabel, new to the Klondike this season, is 19, 6’ 2” tall, weighs 155 lbs. and has an athletic background in basketball, who will lead the “Orange” team with Rick Ness, Gene Cheeseman and his 16-year-old son Cole Cheeseman.
Tony “The F-Bombing Dutchman” Beets, is 57, 6 feet and weigh 200 lbs. With no background in athletics, but has been mining the Klondike for over 30 years. Team Purple is Tony, his son Kevin Beets, and two guys from his claim, Joe Macintyre and Derek Peters.
Captain of the production crew; Simon “Dr. Love” D-Amours is 30, 5’ 8” tall, 150 lbs, and his athletic background states he is a certified troublemaker. He has been shooting "Gold Rush" so long that he actually thinks he is a gold miner, and he will lead his team.
The first challenge is to build a shelter to keep the miner safe from the elements. Each team had a set amount of wood and materials and had to build the shelter as per the requirements. Parker’s team won the first challenge.
The second challenge was to stake your claim. Using rocks and posts, the miners had to set up stakes one hundred feet apart. The post had to contain the Post #, Claim Name, Distance to Post #2 (100’), today’s date, the team name (printed) and the signature of the captain. The fastest to do this would stake their claim. Parker won the second challenge too.
Tony was shown using mining maps from 1916 and took viewers on the scene where they used pulleys and buckets to remove soil from the ground. Scenes of tunnels that were dug, and still remain, were shown in pictures of the miners hovering underground in the tunnels. Tony stated that he went into one of the old shafts about 15 years ago and because of the permafrost, the place was immaculate, like someone swept it.
The third challenge was crib building. They must construct a 5’ x 5’ crib using the materials provided, dig down to paydirt by hand and install the crib over the hole. It must fit into the shaft and sit just below ground level. Tony’s team won this one and took the lead.
The fourth challenge was to assemble three lengths of pipe over a creek and secure them with clamps. Tony’s team won again and holds on to the lead.
The fifth challenge was panning. One member from each team had to find all ten gold flakes in a yard of dirt before the other teams. Because the production crew was totally out of the running, they decided to give Parker a few curve balls. As he was panning his gold, Simon tried to sabotage him, but Gene Cheeseman ran interference, and tore up his knee. Then Simon and Parker were wrestling over the pipe they installed, just like kids. In the end, Tony found six flakes; Parker only found one, and the production crew found four flakes on this fun-filled episode of "Gold Rush." The veteran won the competition, and would probably given those old miners a run for their money.
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