“Gold Rush” is a reality series that follows various crews mining for gold placer deposits in the Klondike region around Dawson City, Yukon, Canada, and in the US Alaska. In contrast, some of the show’s seasons followed mining efforts in South America and North America. The series premiered in December 2012 on the Discovery channel, and has run for 12 seasons, amassing an enormous fan base. These types of series that feature a treasure hunt with suspense and the promise of unearthing undiscovered riches have been very popular among viewers, and “Gold Rush” has risen as one of the most-watched series in the genre. Besides the exciting content and the involving show’s premise, the series’ cast members and their particular personalities have become an essential element of the series. One of those characteristic members is Tony Beets, who joined the series in the second season. Now, fans are wondering about his business and the wealth he’s accumulated during his career.
“Gold Rush” Cast
The show’s cast has featured numerous members who’ve exited the show for personal reasons, including some very prominent dredgers such as Todd Hoffman and Fred Hurt. The latest cast features Parker Schnabel, Chris Doumitt, Rick Ness, Mitch Blaschke, Brennan Ruautt, and as well as Mike Beets Kevin, Monica and Minnie Beets.
Who is Tony Beets?
Tony is a gold miner who gained fame from appearing in “Gold Rush” and its spin-off series’ such as “Gold Rush: South America” and “Gold Rush: Dirt”. In addition, Tony is the owner of Paradise Hills and Tamarack Mine.
He was born on 15 December 1959, in Wijdenes, the Netherlands, to parents Klaus and Magda Beets. Tony spent most of his childhood and formative years in the small town of Burgwerd in the Friesland Province, an area known for farming and agriculture. His family bought a farm where they all worked, and Tony eventually began helping out his parents. In 1974, his father, Klaus suffered an injury in an accident rendering him disabled, which meant that he could no longer work on the farm; the 15-year-old Tony had to take over the farm and supervise men much older than him. While most people would be disheartened and desperate in this type of situation, Tony saw it as a future-defining moment, a seminal event that turned him into the person he is today. Additionally, he had to develop a new set of skills and build his work ethic to support his family, and continue his father’s legacy. Unfortunately, nothing is known about his educational qualifications, but his practical skills are evident.
Becoming a Gold Miner
Later, Tony married his childhood friend Minnie when he was in his mid-20s, with whom he subsequently welcomed five children. Seeking better options and prospects, Tony and his wife relocated to Canada in 1980, and settled in an area near Salmon Arm, British Columbia, where he found employment at a dairy farm. However, after struggling to make ends meet, Tony switched professions and began working as a construction worker. Displaying his enviable work ethic and determination, he quickly moved up the latter and was promoted to a foreman. While working on construction sites, Tony learned how to use machinery which would later serve him well, as he began working as a machine operator for a company that handled oil pipelines. In addition, his wife worked various jobs in the retail, healthcare, and food industries, to further support the family during his period.
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Tony soon heard some stories about a gold rush in Yukon, where people reportedly could earn up to $1,000 per week by mining gold. Talking to The Outsider, Tony said: ‘So I thought, ‘If they get that, I’ll get a little more. I guess I really like the lifestyle; that attracted me to it most. You do whatever you want, yell at people whenever you feel like it. And then there’s the hunt, the treasure. I like it.’
Acting on the information provided by his friends, he decided to risk it all, and purchased a ticket to the city of Whitehorse in Yukon, even though the mining season hadn’t started yet, so he returned to his usual job at the oil company and waited for the season to commence. He then sold all the equipment he owned, and invested the money into his new job idea.
Rise to Prominence
In 1984 Tony and Minnie relocated to Dawson City, after Tony received a call from a gold mining company. However, given that Tony is a natural-born leader, as he was called by media outlets, he didn’t spend much time working for others, and in 1994 founded his own gold mining company, entitled Tamarac Inc. Over time, his company became one of the most recognized. He eventually bought Tamarac mines and Paradise Hills, however, his journey posed various obstacles, and called for sacrifice and hard work. Tony said: ‘Gold mining is a hands-on operation in an episode. If you’re not out there every day, it’s not going to happen.’ Given that the mining season lasted only seven months, Tony and his crew pulled 12 to 14 hour days, performing in extreme weather conditions, and under a lot of pressure.
He also talked about the dangers and volatility of this particular profession, saying that every season is different, and nothing can guarantee success and a big haul. In addition, he has to manage the finances, hire a very skilled crew, and investing his previous earnings into the new season, which can go one way or the other. Luckily for Tony, most of his family is invested and involved in the business; his wife does bookkeeping and helps with managing finances. If you’ve ever watched the show, you’ll know that there were some instances when they argued about the budgeting, as Minnie is very careful and collected, and avoids making impulsive investments that might go south.
After making a name for himself in the mining industry, some Discovery producers reached out to Tony, and asked him to join the series in 2011. His children, Kelvin, Mike and Monica, also appear with him in the show, as gold mining is their family affair. Initially, the show’s first season was entitled “Gold Rush: Alaska,” changed to “Gold Rush” in the second season, as producers began filming the series in other areas besides Alaska.
What is Tony’s Net Worth?
According to sources, Tony’s net worth is estimated at $15 million as of 2022, which he’s earned largely as a gold-mining company owner and reality TV celebrity; reportedly, Tony earns around $25,000 per episode. Described by fans as humble millionaires, in 2020, Tony and Minnie built a brand new house on Paradise Hill, which you can check out their house tour on YouTube. Tony is the richest miner in “Gold Rush,” with Tony Schiebel in second place with a net worth of $10 million. He’s certainly had some envious success in the series; in 2018, he and his crew managed to dig over 3,600 ounces of gold in Eureka Creek, worth over $4 million.
— Gold Rush (@Gold_Rush) November 22, 2014
Tony’s Legal Troubles
Even though it is seasonal, mining is highly labor-intensive work that calls for physical readiness, top-notch equipment, and time management. Everyone on the mining crew has to be on their A-game to prevent potential injuries and incidents. However, members generally maintain a professional attitude, and invest 100% into the work. Given the type of job and time it consumes, it’s not unheard of that the crew would want to let off some steam and have some fun, right? However, that should not be done at the cost of the environment, and that is something Tony had to learn the hard way.
In one of the show’s episodes, one of Tony’s crew members, Mark Favron, was shown pouring gasoline into a dredge pond after getting Tony’s approval. Then they lit the gas and created a blaze, and the audience could see Tony standing in front of it. While it may have seemed like a great shot for the show, this particular event landed Tony in hot water.
Derived from court documents, Tony and his team in this incident violated the Yukon Water Act for dumping the gasoline and then failing to report it. As a pack leader, Tony received the most criticism and faced scrutiny, while Mark also faced legal repercussions. Mark pleaded guilty to the charges and paid $1,725 in fines for pouring gasoline. Later he disclosed that it was his idea and that he did it because it was his last day on the job. After the court wrapped up, Mark said: ‘I did it, so there was no reason to fight it,”
In addition, Tony also faced legal consequences because, as a team leader, he should have said something and stopped the crew. As a result, Tony and his company had to pay over $30,000 in fines. After the court hearing, Tony said that the incident was blown out of proportion and disclosed: ‘Since I am the man running the show, I guess I should have been a little more and told him not to do it. However, I didn’t do that, so here you are in court, so take the fine. Next time, don’t go there. It’s kind of a joke gone bad, right?”
Will Tony retire from his business or the series?
While most people dream of retiring, Tony, known as the king of Klondike on “Gold Rush,” has a different perception. Talking to a media outlet, the 63-year-old star shared: ‘Oh, for retirement, I don’t think we’ll ever retire. I can’t speak for Minnie, but we work seven months in the year and then we have five months of holiday already.’
At the time of the interview, he and Minnie were in Mexico, and Tony said: ‘I think we have the perfect life. We work seven months and then we are off for five. It’s great. I mean, right now we’re sitting in Mexico on the beach, so we’re not complaining!’
Scandals and Controversy
Since the show premiered, it has been criticized for scripted content, too much editing and fake scenarios, which is not unusual for a reality series. For example, in 2016, one of the members who exited the show, Jimmy Dorsey, after having a physical altercation with another member gave an interview, revealing some juicy information regarding the show’s filming and content. Jimmy said: ‘It’s scripted from the beginning. They knew exactly what they wanted to see out of the program. Even my leaving was scripted. I was assaulted by Greg. That was very real, but it was also in the script for Episode 4, which ended up being Episode 6, that I would end up leaving the show.’
Furthermore, he claimed that the producers had pushed him to announce his exit, and revealed that it was never his intention to leave. Jimmy said: ‘I did not think we had a good show unless we got gold, and I was not making very much money from the show; nothing substantial.’
Too much Drama
If anyone knows the drive and appeal of drama in these series, those are Discovery Channel producers who had already taken a massive hit for another series, “Alaskan Bush People.” Similarly, producers skirted a law to create chaos on the show, according to sources. Gold mining is very elaborate work and sometimes can come at a cost to the environment. It has established practices that must be followed to prevent any potential catastrophe. Since the show aired, the producers had to deal with environmental representatives, but it didn’t transpire as one would expect. Reportedly there was an instance where the producers were informed on how to properly use groundwater, instead of diverting water from a river, to avoid being fined. However, it appeared as if the crew wanted to get a fine, because that would mean more publicity and more commotion surrounding the series. Unfortunately for the team, that didn’t happen, and the matter was resolved civilly.
Other real-life gold miners have also shared their frustration with the series for inviting inexperienced miners to the show, which can be very hazardous. While Tony Beets had experience in the business, some other members on the show did not. In the first season, viewers could see Todd Hoffman selling his possessions and embarking on this new business prospect of gold mining. However, he didn’t know the business, but luckily, perhaps smartly hired people who knew what they were doing.
Even though the show’s premise of having people create a business without much background is certainly interesting to watch, putting inexperienced people in a volatile environment is inherently dangerous. Luckily, the show hasn’t seen any significant incidents or injuries.
If you watched the show, then you must have seen at least one episode in which some of the crew’s machinery stopped working, and everything seemed forfeited for a second. One would think that when investing in a million-dollar business, it’s crucial to acquire high-quality equipment that can withstand the operations; however, that is not the case with some “Gold Rush” members. It appears that they often neglect maintenance of the equipment, leading to some inconveniences on the plants, which is reckless. On the other hand, it does serve as a great stint, building up tension and setting expectations for what may come next.
In addition, there were some rumors that the production team encourages crews to forgo maintenance to allow some drama, explaining why they often have to get new equipment.
Regardless, the series still provides riveting entertainment, as evidence by the continuing audience ratings. The show is unlikely to disappear, while viewing numbers stay this way.