Extracting gold from the depths of the Bering Sea is a work just as hard as it sounds, and that’s something that every viewer of “Bering Sea Gold” knows well. Since the show’s inception in 2012, the series has let us see the reality of what happens in Alaska’s underwater mining business, including the financial and physical struggles that gold miners face on a daily basis, in order to put food on their tables.
However, not everything is bad news. While sea miners aren’t exactly known for their lavish lifestyle, others such as Vernon Adkison have made a good living out of it, thanks to his many years of experience and sixth sense when it comes to the job.
So do you want to know more about Vernon’s finances? Is his gold business doing well, and does he have other investments? Keep with us to discover all!
How Is Vernon’s Business Doing?
For such a knowledgeable and experienced man as Vernon Adkison, it would actually be surprising if he wasn’t well-versed in the money aspect of the sea mining business.
Granted, digging up gold is a risky and dangerous field anywhere, in which sometimes even the experts fail to achieving success, and it only gets more difficult if said gold is underwater.
However, it’s either Vernon’s decades of experience, his sixth sense or just luck, but somehow he’s kept up his business afloat even regardless of adversity. Although it’s unknown how many dredges he owns, those which have appeared in “Bering Sea Gold” so far are the Bering Booty and the Wild Ranger.
The latter is the most popular, given its long-lasting presence in “Bering Sea Gold”, though at times it has needed the help of The Golden Seahorse, a sub-dredge which at times made the work more efficient for all the crew, due to its impressive mechanical suction.
Nonetheless, the Wild Ranger alone is enough to provide Vernon with successful mining seasons, contributing to building him an estimated net worth of over $2 million, and that figure will most-likely keep growing.
His Financial Success Throughout The Years
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to estimate for sure how much Vernon Adkison’s gold profits were prior to him appearing in “Bering Sea Gold”. However, since the show’s premiere through its fourth season, Discovery kept viewers updated with every crew’s Gold Tally, a summary of the cleans-out and gold profits.
Although Vernon’s team had a terrible performance in the first season, and barely collected $1,250, the next season he impressively collected 84 ozs to make $140,515 in profit. The following year he was featured for the first time in “Bering Sea Gold” winter-series “Under The Ice”, in which he was shown to make a profit of $13,888, which was quite low compared to fellow teams.
The third season saw Vernon’s Wild Ranger being placed fourth in the show’s tally, with barely more than $20,000 in profits, but finally surpassed its biggest competitor The Clark in the following show’s winter season, by profiting over $220,000.
The Wild Ranger once again made impressive profits the following year, but fell back in 2015 by making around $50,000 in “Under The Ice”.
Nowadays, the Wild Ranger’s numbers have evidently been more stable than in the show’s first years, but taking into account all the aforementioned data, it’s evident why he’s still in the mining business.
What Happened To Vernon’s Daughter?
Vernon Adkison’s daughters Yvonne and Elaine aren’t unknown to the audience of “Bering Sea Gold”. Although at first the two girls made only casual appearances in the show, as dive tenders in their father’s dredge, each of them became known by the audience for different reasons.
Especially for Yvonne – her media debut wasn’t in very positive conditions. As it happens, in 2014 she was arrested at 22 years old for several drug felonies, including Misconduct Involving a Controlled Substance, after authorities found 10 grams of what was apparently heroin in a Nome house.
They also arrested Kevin Beamish, a man who apparently sold drugs in said property in complicity with Yvonne. Other suspicious artifacts such as scales, cash, packages and vehicles found at the scene only added fuel to the fire.
After three years of deliberation, in 2017 Yvonne was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to the distribution and possession of heroin. She only spent another year behind the bars, given she had already served time in a local correctional center, but still needed to serve three years of probation.
After going through such a pitiful situation, Yvonee turned her life around, and now works as a stylist in her own Fairbanks’ beauty salon. Though making a couple of appearances in “Bering Sea Gold” after her release from prison, it seems that her focus is now away from digging gold.
What About Elaine?
Compared to her sister, Elain Adkison’s life is definitely less turbulent. However, that doesn’t mean she isn’t someone noticed by the audience of “Bering Sea Gold”.
Elaine was introduced to the show’s audience in the first season’s reunion episode “Back to the Dredge”, though her diving skills kept her as a constant presence in the show for the next two seasons until 2015, when her father took some time away from “Bering Sea Gold”. However, she has had her father’s back ever since his return to the show during the 11th season.
While not a lot is known about Elaine’s life off-air, many might remember her on-screen romance with and subsequent break up from fellow diver Flint Collins, resulting in his resignation from the Wild Ranger in 2014.
She later dated the diver Shem Fogelman, with whom she welcomed daughter Penny in late 2015. They eventually broke up, and Elaine then got together with a man named Matt Jones, with whom she welcomed her second daughter Eleanor Olivia Yvonne in 2020. Although her second pregnancy took her away from “Bering Sea Gold”, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to think she’ll eventually return to the series.
Did Vernon Fight A Co-Star?
Any loyal viewer knows that Vernon Adkison’s temper tantrums have been a frequent occurrence since the show’s inception. However, what new fans might not know is that his rough temper once caused one of the most scandalous physical altercations in the show.
Everything goes back to “Bering Sea Gold”s first season, when Vernon’s Wild Ranger was captained by Scott Meisterheim, who was known for his bad temper and proneness to problems. At first, both men gave off the impression of having learned to work together despite their clashing personalities, but everything turned out differently when the final season’s reunion episode “Back to the Dredge” showed Vernon openly bad mouthing and throwing very serious accusations against Scott: ‘he lied, he stole, he cheated’.
Scott, who was sitting in front of Vernon, obviously didn’t like that and after throwing his drink at his former boss, they went straight to punching each other.
The fight didn’t last long, as they were separated and taken to oppositet sides of the room, but the whole incident was caught completely by “Bering Sea Gold” cameras. In the end no charges were filed by eityher, leaving both men with only cuts and bruises to remember their fight. Needless to say, they didn’t work together the next season.
Where’s Scott Now?
Something Scott Meisterheim was known for during his time in “Bering Sea Gold”, was his ability to get into a lot of problems without even trying. His uncaring personality, bad temper and alcoholic habits easily painted him as the show’s bad guy until his exit from the third season.
While many people thought Scott’s life was meant to become more peaceful if he was away from TV cameras, the reality was different. In 2013, Scott accused the New York Times of ‘twisting’ his words in an interview in which it was somehow stated an off-screen agreement existed between him and Discovery, given that his firing from the show was apparently against his contract.
Two years later, Scott faced yet another scandal when an arrest warrant was issued against him for failing to pay child support to his oldest daughter. Although he was apparently working on finding the money to pay his debt, Scott argues his financial situation had taken a turn for the worst, following his firing from “Bering Sea Gold”.
No further news about Scott surfaced until early 2022, when he was charged with sexual assault in Michigan. It’s known his bond was set at $50,000, and the case is still on-going.
Who Else In The Show Is Rich?
While the fate of some “Bering Sea Gold” former stars hasn’t been very bright, others have made good use of their time mining to make themselves a fortune.
Of course, Vernon Adkison is one of those in “Bering Sea Gold” whose fortune has steadily grown in the past decade, but he’s not the only one who’s achieved such a feat.
Reportedly, divers Andy Kelly and George Young have amassed small fortunes through their job, though in the latter’s case his net worth of $150,000 could also be attributed to his income from his partial ownership of the Arctic Gold mining business with his brother Dave.
Other considerable fortunes are that of Kris Kelly, owner of the Reaper who apparently has a net worth of $200,000. For her part, Emily Riedel’s net worth is estimated at $350,000, which mostly comes from her ownership of the Eroica. That being said, other dredge owners with longer careers have amassed bigger fortunes – such is the case of Ken Kerr, who owns not only the Myrtle Irene but also two mining companies in Alaska, resulting in an estimated $2.5 million net worth, closely followed by Brad Kelly’s fortune of $2.2 million.
However, the richest cast member is definitely Shawn Pomrenke, who besides partially owning the Christine Rose dredge, comes from a successful mining family from whom he inherited his uncanny ability to find gold.
Was Someone Stabbed In The Show?
Needless to say, the gold mining business has been financially supporting many people for decades. That being said, the industry is competitive, complicated and sometimes involves people with few to no scruples.
To prove that, we have to go back to 2012 when “Bering Sea Gold” miner star Shawn Pomrenke was injured in a bar brawl which occurred when he and his Christine Rose’s crew and part of the “Bering Sea Gold” staff were visiting a bar in Nome.
Although it’s unknown what caused the fight, one of the show’s directors recorded the whole incident with his cell phone, later letting the audience see how a fight ensued between Shawn and an unnamed man wearing a white shirt. Everything happened in a haze, but the cameras were able to catch the moment in which the man stabbed Shawn in his hand, though they later noticed Shawn had another stab wound in his back.
The captain was taken to emergency right after, and fortunately overcame the situation in good health.
Later in a “Bering Sea Gold” reunion interview, Tom Beers brought up the subject of whether the fight ensued due to the apparent jealousy Shawn’s role in the show causes in local people, to which he answered that despite being a well-appreciated individual by most people in Alaska, some old feuds sometimes came back from the past to make his life harder.
Did A Politician Vernon A Letter?
Although “Bering Sea Gold” is a success when it comes to Discovery channel’s long-list of tough-guy centered TV shows, the truth is that not everyone perceives the show through good eyes.
As proof, we have to go back to 2014, when the then-Nome council city manager Josie Bahnke directed a letter to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, in which she stated that despite the benefits of sea gold mining to local finances, the activity’s caused a deficit for Nome to financially support other industries, besides causing ‘negative social effects’.
While the letter wasn’t directed at the local miners, they felt called out by the mayor’s words. One of the loudest in expressing his disagreement was Vernon Adkison, who told the Peninsula Clarion: When I come to Nome, I’m a citizen of Nome. I got just as many rights as anybody else around here. I’m not taking a backseat to anybody’.
While that specific issue was eventually left in the past, several other complaints against the industry resurfaced later on. In 2016, the US Coast Guard reported the floats dredging gold in the area had increased from five to 100 in less than ten years, causing a rise in competitiveness in the industry along with worrying negative ecological effects, as Arctic Today reported.
Regardless of the criticism, it doesn’t seem that the enthusiasm for gold mining in the Bering Sea is going to end anytime soon.