Commentary – There’s gold in them thar hills!

Chris Clegg

Just how many gold mining shows are there on TV?

Locally, I get to watch about five on the local boob tube: Yukon Gold, Gold Rush, Bering Sea Gold, Gold Rush: White Water, and Gold Rush: Parker’s Trail. I enjoy them all.

I’m the first to admit there is a tad bit of dramatization but I like many of the characters in the shows.

How much pizzazz and flair TV producers add to spice up the show is debatable. I guess one has to be on location to know the truth.

The characters are well-known to many. Bring up the subject at the local coffee shop. You will be surprised just how many people are watching these dreams of striking it rich shows.

Personally, I hope Big Al McGregor hits his jackpot, and I hope Chris and Nika find their Mother Lode.

I even feel bad for Todd Hoffman, who seems to bumble and fumble his way around the mine site. He is hilarious! He has since retired from his dream of being Yosemite Sam, carrying a bag of yellow rocks.

A quick check of the Internet shows there are many other shows around the world. It begs the question, why so many shows? What is the big attraction? Producers wouldn’t be making these shows if people weren’t watching them.

I think the shows taps into everyone’s wish of attaining the American Dream, that is, to strike it rich and attain fame and fortune. Imagine the nine-to-five factory worker dreaming of going to the Yukon for a summer and coming home with millions.

No more digging in the coal dust, or placing a nut and bolt on an assembly line, or stitching a baseball cap. The living is free and easy, after striking it rich.

Isn’t it everyone’s dream? Finding that gigantic gold nugget, similar to winning the lottery?

Many humans are obsessed with get-rich schemes, the dream of hitting that one big pay day. Finding a sluice box full of gold is like watching your stocks rise on the TSE or New York Stock Exchange.

The gold shows do a fairly good job of portraying how tough a life it is. Walking around in the muck, the constant breakdowns of machines, the arguments as tensions rise. Sounds a lot like farming, right!

Wouldn’t we all love to sneak down to the local creek and pan for gold? Imagine the excitement of seeing a few flakes in the bottom of the pan. Not being aware of mining rights, rules and the like, I know it’s not as easy as filling your pan with gold and selling it at the local store. There are claims to be bought, I’m sure, but someone in the know can tell me all about that.

Gold and precious stones seem to have a magic all their own. Not to cast stereotypes on men and women, but men seem to be drawn to gold like women are drawn to diamonds. It’s like a disease. No wonder they call it Gold Fever.

“Gold! Gold! Gold!”

Who doesn’t know that cry?

Most of us will never pack up a pan, ax and supplies and head for the hills to realize our dream. We don’t have to. Thanks to Big Al McGregor, Parker Schnabel, Ken Foy and company, we don’t have to. We can live our dream through them.

Without the gold, of course!


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