While mining for gold seems like a profession relegated to the 1800s, it’s still alive and well, as evidenced by Discovery Channel’s hit series, Gold Rush. The series follows various gold mining efforts around the country, although it mostly focuses its attention on operations within Dawson City, Yukon, Canada. There have been plenty of ups and downs throughout the series, and from the start, viewers have had the chance to watch the likes of Parker Schnabel try to find riches.
Schnabel has been on the series since it first debuted in 2010. He was only in a handful of episodes during the first season, but he quickly became a fan favorite. He’s a young miner (no pun intended), but he means business when it comes to digging for gold. He’s known for his hot-tempered, abrasive attitude, and despite him appearing on the show at a young age, there’s still quite a lot fans don’t know about his personal life.
From getting shot at to encountering wild animals, you never know what may happen next on the show, and there’s little doubt Parker Schnabel will find himself in plenty of drama when season 11 premieres on the Discovery Channel on October 23, 2020. Here are some surprising facts about him.
Parker Schnabel’s net worth is estimated to be around $10 million
Fans of the show know that Parker Schnabel has had plenty of success in the mines. All that has translated into a great deal of financial success, particularly for someone only in their 20s. While an exact figure isn’t known, most estimates place his net worth in 2020 to be around $10 million (via Distractify).
While many people would try to live off that money for the rest of their lives, Schnabel’s putting it back into the ground. In an interview with Maxim, he said, "We are buying new equipment to improve our operation. I don’t own a boat or any fancy cars or a fancy house. I have a big expensive sand box instead." While Schnabel makes millions of dollars every season, it’s important to point out that he doesn’t take home every cent. He has a sizable crew with him, and while their exact salaries are unknown, it’s safe to say they make a decent living when the team finds millions of dollars’ worth of gold in a single season.
Parker Schnabel appeared more often on Gold Rush after his grandfather stepped down
Parker Schnabel was just a kid when Gold Rush first aired. He appeared in several episodes, but the main focus of the show at this time was on his grandfather, John. He was the owner of Big Nugget Mine when the show was based out of Porcupine Creek, Alaska. He stepped down during the show’s second season, giving the company to his grandson Parker, who has, as a result, played a more prominent role on the series ever since.
Sadly, John Schnabel passed away in 2016 at the age of 96, via Legacy.com. He died in his sleep, and his grandson took to Twitter to thank fans of the show for their support during this trying time by writing, "John lived a great life and was one of a kind. I am glad the world got to see an amazing man." Before his death, John has been an active miner from 1984 to 2014.
Parker Schnabel used his college fund to start his mining expeditions
John Schnabel’s career was incredibly successful, so it’s safe to say that the family did not struggle a lot. When Parker was born in 1994, he had a college fund set up in his name, allowing him to attend pretty much any university he landed without financial hardship. However, after John stepped down from the family business and handed it to Parker, he used that money for college to fund his own mining operation (via Story Baar). Instead of hitting the books, Parker delved deep into the earth, hoping to find not just hidden treasure, but an entire way of le.
It turned out to be a fruitful endeavor. During season 2 of Gold Rush, Parker — along with the rest of the crew of Big Nugget Mine — recovered 34 ounces of gold, which came out to $55,000. That kind of find proved to be a turning point for Parker, who has continued on with the series (and with mining) ever since.
The largest individual nugget Parker Schnabel has ever found was priced at $400-$500
In 2017, Parker Schnabel engaged in a Facebook Live Q&A event, as reported by Starcasm. Fans got the chance to ask the miner an array of questions. His answers included revealing that his favorite musical artist is Johnny Cash, and whether he planned on proposing to his girlfriend at the time, Ashley Youse. However, one of the most interesting tidbits came when he was asked what the largest nugget he ever found was.
Schnabel responded, "Maybe a quarter ounce? $400-$500." He went on to say how rare it is to find gold nuggets that size, and how much the industry has changed since his grandfather got started back in the 1980s. According to Schnabel, "My grandpa would find 3-4 ounce nuggets back in the day in Haines." While nuggets are smaller than they used to be, Schnabel nonetheless appears to be quite good at finding large quantities of them during each individual mining session.
Parker Schnabel got into a beef with a long-time Gold Rush cameraman
Parker Schnabel was a breakout star of Gold Rush, so it made sense for producers of the show to branch him out into other projects. One idea for a show involved having Schnabel, along with Rick Ness, Karla Ann, and cameraman James Levelle, to venture out into the Klondike Trail. The footage eventually became the limited series, Gold Rush: Parker’s Trail.
However, Schnabel likely remembers the experience for something different than the ratings. According to an interview Schnabel did, via Inquisitr, he had a falling out with long-time Gold Rush cameraman James Levelle. As he puts it, "James and I got into it quite a bit. I just don’t really like the guy. I thought I did before this all really started. I haven’t spoken to him almost since it ended."
The exact reasoning behind the feud is unknown, but Schnabel claims it was due to a difference in personalities, "Our personalities just didn’t quite jive. It comes out a little bit on the show, but with something like this, it’s hard to get it on camera and that’s not my priority. But James and I had quite a few issues. I had a real problem with some of the things that he did." Anyone who watched Gold Rush knows Parker can have a short fuse sometimes, so it’s certainly not a stretch of the imagination to envision someone in close quarters getting on his nerves fairly easily.
Parker Schnabel’s favorite memory involves being mentored by his late grandfather
With 11 seasons of Gold Rush in the can, as well as some spin-off shows thrown in the mix, Parker Schnabel certainly has plenty of fond memories of his time digging for gold. However, when he was asked during the aforementioned Facebook Live Q&A about what his favorite memory was, he responded that it was being mentored by his grandfather. Indeed, from the first couple of seasons the two were on Gold Rush together, it was evident that Parker and John shared a close bond.
That bond is probably even more cherished by him today, considering how he has stated in interviews how difficult it is to maintain friendships and relationships. According to Distractify, Parker once stated, "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."
Basically, the digging keeps him busy, and we’re sure that his grandfather would be proud of all he has accomplished so far.