On “Gold Rush,” Parker Schnabel is one of the most popular cast members. He is only 23 years old but has already been running his late grandfather’s mining business for seven years. Over that time, he has proven to his rivals and the many viewers of Gold Rush that youthful inexperience can’t keep someone who is properly motivated by doing a great job. Through his work ethic and determination, he continues to lead a successful company and all in front of TV cameras. How does he deal with the pressure of running a company and being on TV? Is there anything else he can see himself doing one day? Learn the answers to these and other questions as we discuss the most surprising facts about Parker.
Choosing His Path
As many people know, Parker Schnabel’s grandfather ran the Big Nugget mine for decades, so mining was a big part of Parker’s life. When he was 16 years old, Parker knew he wanted to be a miner for the rest of his life, and he used his college savings to kickstart his own operation instead of hitting the books.
That’s A Large Nugget
His close proximity to the mining business meant that Parker was an expert in the business at a pretty young age. Therefore, he has already seen a lot of crazy things. One time, he told fans that the largest nugget he has found was about a quarter-ounce, which would be worth $400 to $500 all by itself.
Young And Rich
Like many skilled, hard workers, Parker has been able to make a decent amount of money in his career. His skills and instincts regarding reading the land, as well as his mining strategies, have made him a pretty penny. His reality show has also bolstered his income, helping contribute to his $8 million net worth.
No Time To Socialize
Parker is always open about how much he loves his work. However, his busy life comes at the expense of his social life, which is often nearly non-existent. “All the guys I used to hang out with, they’ve moved on, and I’ve moved on and don’t really have time to keep up,” Parker once said about his old buddies from high school.
Not Willing To Slow Down
On the show Gold Rush, camera crews are quite busy, with each group following mines for five months to build the footage necessary for a season. Out of all the miners, the crew members cited Parker as the hardest to work with, with one crew member noting that Parker had “the least regard for the camera crew.”
Making A Friendly Wager
Parker likes to liven things up from time to time with a friendly wager. For instance, he once bet rival miner Todd Hoffman 100 ounces of gold that his team would outperform Todd’s during the summer. To ensure his team would perform at its best, he told them his goal was to collect 5,000 ounces of gold during the season.
Grandpa’s Final Advice
Parker’s grandfather, John, was not just a mentor in the mining business for Parker, but also someone he was very close to personally. John’s last words for Parker before he died at 96 years old were not about the business, however. “I do want you to have a wonderful feeling for someone who becomes a part of your life,” he said. “That’s all that’s important.”
Looking For Love
Parker may seem like he’s all business, but he tries to make time for fun. He met girlfriend Ashley Youle during a trip to Australia, and they are now an item. He also likes to spend time traveling around and visiting other gold mines around the world. Time will tell how long Parker and Ashley last, but they seem off to a good start.
Two Peas In A Pod
Parker may have taken his time finally meeting someone, but he seems to have found a real catch with Ashley. Parker said that she is always willing to help out wherever needed, from driving trucks to handling fuel or even cleaning gold throughout the summer.
Still Friends With Gene?
When you run a business, you will occasionally have an unexpected departure, which Parker had when his top guy, Gene, left the team a couple of years ago. Parker said that he still sees Gene a couple of times per year and he thinks that things are fine between them, despite Gene’s decision to leave the company.
Grateful For The Knowledge
In addition to his friendship with Gene, Parker said he also benefited greatly from the professional lessons he learned from him. “I learned a hell of a lot from Gene, and I’ll always owe him for that,” Parker said. “Gene was a very good guy and a very good teacher.”
You’d think there’s a lot of trust involved in the world of mining, as Parker and leaders of other teams often store gold in glass jars until the end of the season. However, Parker said that security has never been an issue and that his security process includes a “big safe and a big shotgun.”
Filling Gene’s Shoes
Parker had to think on his feet to fill Gene’s shoes after he left the company. Fortunately, he had a man he could trust in Rick Ness, who had worked with him for several years and wanted a bigger role in the company. Parker said that Gene’s departure was a blessing in disguise as it required the company to “try new things and change things up.”
As a young man in his 20s, Parker does not ask for an Xbox One, clothes, or money for his birthday. Instead, he remains focused on business and asks his parents for new equipment, instead. His father runs a construction company and often gives Parker’s team his old equipment, saving Parker money in the process.
While most teenagers were excited just to get their drivers’ licenses or attend their senior proms, Parker was already running his own mine as a teen. Although a lot of other miners thought he would not succeed, he showed that he could get results with a 1,029-ounce total his first season.
Being Young Can Help
Parker is pretty frank when it comes to the advantages and disadvantages of youth. He knows that he has more energy and openness to new techniques than some veterans, but is also aware that he lacks the experience of some who have been in the business for decades. However, he has many experienced people on his team that he consults with.
As a dedication to his late grandfather and mentor, John, Parker decided to do a special show called Gold Rush: Parker’s Trail. During the show, he and some friends went along the Klondike Gold Rush trail, which was infamous for being the trail along which many pioneers died during the late 19th century.
Taking A Chance
As many fans of Gold Rush know, Parker is certainly willing to take chances and think outside the box. As such, he chose his friend Rick to join the team when he filmed Parker’s Trail, despite Rick’s concerns that he wasn’t in shape for the trip. Parker said that he wanted to see how Rick would respond to the considerable challenge.
Poor Working Relationship
Just like any other type of road trip, Parker’s Trail would unveil a lot of hard truths for a small group working together. In particular, Parker found out that he didn’t like working with cameraman James Lavelle, who he said he argued with a lot. “I just don’t really like the guy,” Parker said later. Ouch!
Indeed, Parker found out that the hardest thing about Parker’s Trail wasn’t the physical demands, but the mental stress of being around the same people for 18 hours per day. “It’s easy to forget about some hunger or the cold because I didn’t lose any toes or fingers, but the one [obstacle] that sticks out is the psychological warfare,” he said.
Parker And Karla Ann
Another person who Parker asked to come along for Parker’s Trail was Karla Ann. She was chosen mainly because of her talents related to first aid and the wilderness in general. “She spends tons of time out in the woods, hunting and fishing and all that kind of stuff,” Parker explained.
It’s important for most young men and women to have their mother’s blessing when they choose a career, but Parker’s mom actually encouraged him not to get into the mining business. Although she supports Parker, she wanted him to choose a different path “because there’s a whole world out there to see,” Parker said.
A Little Old-Fashioned
At 23 years old, Parker is rather normal for his age in a lot of ways. His favorite music artists include D.R.A.M., and he enjoys rap music. However, he is also sort of an old soul, as he really enjoys Johnny Cash. Behind Cash, Parker’s second favorite singer is the legendary Willie Nelson.
During an interview with fans on Facebook Live, Parker was asked about the biggest highlight of his young mining career. Parker’s answer did not have to do with earning money, surprisingly enough. Instead, he said the biggest highlight was learning from his grandfather.
A Little Bit Of Advice
Parker has been hugely successful already in his career, so you’d expect him to have some advice for aspiring miners. Here’s what Parker has to say on the subject. “My advice is that you need to start small. Start off with a gold pan and a tiny sluice box,” Parker advises.
Like many hard-working individuals, Parker values his time off and likes to spend it doing things that he enjoys. In particular, he likes to travel – he met girlfriend Ashley during a trip to Australia. He also makes a point of going hunting with his dad every November.
When asked about the most demanding and difficult challenge that mining presents, Parker admitted that safety can be a challenge. This is because as a seasonal pursuit, miners are forced to make all of their money in basically four months. Everyone works long hours, which can lead to accidents if workers aren’t careful.
It’s no surprise that starting out with a mining operation can be very expensive. Parker had an advantage as his business was handed down from his grandfather, but he still generated a lot of debt by replacing much of the company’s equipment. “I have probably a lot more debt than the normal 20-year-old,” he said a few years ago.
Millions In Earnings
In just a few years while running his own company, Parker has already mined quite a bit of gold. Not long ago, Maxim reported that Parker’s total had already eclipsed $13 million in total. The magazine credited his wisdom and determination for his success in the business.
Although Parker is in no hurry to start his own family, he does have a responsibility in the form of his dog, Dozer. In one interview with fans, he even said that he would soon “be a grandfather,” as he figured that his dog’s extracurricular activities were going to lead to a litter of puppies.
Loves To Eat
Parker is pretty protective of his time, so he isn’t always enthusiastic about sitting down with the crew of Gold Rush for additional interviews or filming. However, the crew has figured out the way to get him to do what they want: food. Like many young men his age, Parker has quite the appetite.
A Famous Fan
One strange thing about being on TV is that sometimes, famous people will mention that they’re actually a fan of yours. In Parker’s case, Richard Madden, who played Robb Stark on Game of Thrones, said he loves watching Gold Rush. “He’s the young guy going out and doing it by himself, and that’s what I can relate most to,” Richard said.
Out In Nature
Parker is open about the fact that he really enjoys carrying on his grandfather’s legacy, but that’s not the only perk of his job. “I love being in the Yukon; I love it up here,” he said. He said the area represents “some of the most beautiful country in the world.”
Pressure And Motivation
Most miners don’t have to worry about dealing with cameras all the time as Parker does. But Parker doesn’t mind the extra attention. He said that although the cameras add a lot of pressure, they also motivate him because he doesn’t want to lose out to his competitors on television.
Parker’s Dream Destination
Parker is very much into mining in the Yukon area, but that doesn’t mean there’s nowhere else that he’d like to mine one day. In particular, he singles out South America as having areas that have never been mined. Mining in South America is a “bucket list” item for Parker.
A People Person
Although Parker has not always been great at dealing with people on the job, he says that he’s working on it. He also admits that he needs to work on his ability to keep his team motivated. However, he expects that he will improve on that skill with further experience.
Feeling The Tension
Parker is the first one to admit that during the intense mining season, a lot of tension can build up among the workers as well as the crew. It gets even worse when alcohol is involved, which happens on occasion. “A few weeks ago, I had a party, and some of the guys started body slamming each other and started throwing potatoes at each other,” Parker told Maxim.
The secret to Gold Rush and its success is that it focuses on not just Parker, but two other entrepreneurs with different ways of doing things. “Well, all three of us are very big personalities, and all three of us have — are completely opposite in the sense of how we conduct ourselves and how we run a business and how we prioritize things,” Parker explained.
Middle Of Nowhere
Entertainment options are pretty limited at mining camps, which are separated from the rest of civilization. Parker said that much of the conversation often revolves around which of the workers is supposedly hogging all of the limited bandwidth from the team’s one satellite internet dish.
At his age, Parker isn’t one to take possibilities off the table when it comes to his future. He said he wouldn’t mind doing more spin-off shows such as Parker’s Trail, and he’d be happy to take Rick and Karla along for another such expedition, should the opportunity arise.
Adam Driver Lookalike
One of the first things many people think when they see Parker is that he looks just like Adam Driver, the actor most known for playing Kylo Ren in the recent Star Wars films. Although they definitely have more than a passing resemblance, the two are not related.
All I Do Is Win
Parker is first and foremost focused on the production of his team, but he can’t help but keep an eye and ear out for results from his rivals, too. His entire family has always been competitive, and that desire to win definitely extends to the mining business.
Future Career Change?
With his $8 million in net worth and a successful reality show on his resume, many people have asked Parker whether he plans to keep mining forever. He said that for now, he’s very happy with the challenges his job offers, and he doesn’t see himself doing something else for the time being. He does want to get his helicopter license, however.
Earlier, we talked about how Parker’s girlfriend Ashley likes to help out with Parker’s business. Some people have raised a bit of a stink in the Yukon area about that since she has a tourist visa from Australia but is not technically supposed to be working a job.
While Parker is a successful miner, he also makes quite a bit of money from his show, with rumors persisting that he earns $25,000 per episode. His team also gets paid according to their number of appearances, leading many to believe that workers act out specifically to get more time in front of the camera.
Not Getting Along
Although Parker thought he could be friends with rival Todd, that has not turned out to be the case, and Todd really seems to dislike Parker. When asked, Parker said he didn’t know why that would be the case, but he brushed off the animosity, saying “to each his own.”
Grumpy Old Man
Todd’s feud with Parker makes him seem like a grumpy old man. He always preached to Parker about how Parker’s team doesn’t “have enough heart to find the gold,” for instance. However, Parker has no problem not emulating his rival’s style. “The one thing I saw from Todd early on is that I never want to run the colt-style management like he does,” Parker said.