“We go out there and try to find abandoned mines that have been lost for dead,” says Nathan Clark, of Almo, who for the second season is starring on the Discovery Channel’s Gold Rush: Dave Turin’s Lost Mine.
Clark says the show is a lot about the history of gold mining. Turin looks at the land to see what the old timers did, to determine if they didn’t have the right equipment and to figure out what happened with the abandoned mines.
“He prospects these grounds to see if there is good value, to make him money and to make us money,” he says.
Originally from Texas, Clark moved to Wyoming to work in coal mines and oil fields as a field mechanic. After meeting wife, Kim, and having son, Jesse, who is now 10, they moved to Kentucky to be near her parents. They are all members of West Kentucky RECC.
Clark says the show’s star, Dave Turin, found him through word of mouth from his work in the mining industry.
After interviewing for season one in 2018, Clark says things moved fast. “After we decided I was all in, Turin told me, ‘I need you in here in five days. A film crew will be coming to your house in two days. We want to film you packing and saying bye to your family.’”
He says, “I was like, my wife’s gonna kill me.” When he told his wife and son about the offer, he says they were all in and very supportive, although, he adds, it has been hard on his son.
Clark says he quit his job with Brandeis Machinery & Supply Corporation on split notice, where he worked in management with the service branch in Paducah.
“I had to walk in and give it up to go on a crazy adventure,” says Clark. “I made good money and gave it all up for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
The first location for season one fell through as Turin, the show’s leader, scrambled to find a new mining location in Arizona. “I had quit my job and I was in limbo. It was a stressful time.”
Dave Turin came up with another location in Prescott Valley, Arizona, in Lynx Creek, which allowed his crew of six to film five weeks, or episodes, for season one of Gold Rush.
“We ended up getting 80 ounces of gold in the five-week period after setting up a complete operation.” He says it was long hours and lots of hard work dealing with desert elements where during the winter it was 80 in the day and 15 degrees at night. That amounted to $200,000 says Clark. They were given an hourly wage on season one.
Clark says while it wasn’t a long time, part of the purpose was to get the team together to see how they could work together. “All the misfits meshed together well. It was an interesting thing. Dave wanted to get a team together that he liked and that respected him.”
Season two Montana
Clark says, “I have always been a fan of the gold rush shows and have seen these guys put everything on the line to do better. It inspired me to do better. I have become very good at what I do.”
Clark, who goes by Nate or “Gearhead Nathan,” and the same other guys then filmed season two at the end of 2019 in the mountains of Montana over four months.
Finding gold pays their way. Clark explains it like this: “It’s a gamble. You’re gold mining. It’s a tricky operation. You can go bust or make some money or just float by.”
He says, “That’s why I continue to work always. You can’t solely rely on gold mining. You have to work before the season and after the season.”
Clark says he continues working while home in Kentucky, out of his truck, by repairing heavy equipment.
“You might hit some good gold. You’ve got a family to take care of. You can’t risk it all. You have to play it smart,” says Clark. “You might get nothing. If you don’t prepare for it, you can really lose your butt.”
During season two, Dave Turin invited all the guys to become partners to share what they make from finding gold.
Clark says, “When you’re gold mining, you learn a lesson each day, and you learn not to do that again. If you ain’t learning, you ain’t mining.” He says it’s a nontraditional job where you’re always having to adapt to the environment to get gold, to make changes and work to get gold out of the ground.
He says being on Gold Rush is beginning to change his life. He doesn’t like being called a celebrity. “I don’t want to think about those words. I’m just a country boy. It’s really weird to be put on that pedestal.”
He says his wife and son got to be on TV and that was really cool for them. “It’s so weird having a camera in your face and microphones.” After being out there for four months for season two, he says he’s finally used to it.
Being away from his family has been the hardest part for Clark. He says his son is very modest, and doesn’t really talk about it with his classmates. “During production time, it’s hard on him. That’s probably the hardest thing, missing your family.”
Clark says last year during season two for four months was the longest he has been away from my family. “It was really hard on me,” he says.
“I’m a big teddy bear, I wear my heart on my sleeve. … Production knows this, they know what’s going on. So they poke and prod to get reactions from me on camera,” says Clark.
“I missed all of my son’s football games this last season. They knew it. Every Saturday they would bring it up. It got to me a couple of times.”
Clark says is is so real when you are gone for four months, but when he looks back now, it’s like a blur. “You are out there six or seven 15-hour days, then all of a sudden you come back home and it’s Thanksgiving and Christmas. You’re like, what the heck happened. It was mind boggling.”
He says, “You come back to civilization from being out in the middle of nowhere, where you stay in campsites where you are only dealing with a certain amount of people. Then you are back home dealing with homework, and your wife is asking this or that. It feels like you skipped part of your life.”
Still, Clark says it’s fun. “The other guys are like brothers now.”
He says, “I have always been a fan of the gold rush shows and have seen these guys put everything on the line to do better. It inspired me to do better. I have become very good at what I do.”
Turin, who is known as “Dozer Dave,” says, “I have really enjoyed working with Nate the last two years. Nate is a hard-working family man. He keeps our equipment running and he knows how to make us all laugh. I love this guy.”
Gold Rush attracts a lot of men viewers in their 40s, but women and families watch too. Clark says there is some cussing on the show. “We are mining, and cussing goes hand in hand.”
“We try to inspire people to get out there and work, to better yourself. We pray on television,” Clark says. “There are a lot of very rewarding things you can’t buy with money.”
Even after the show has wrapped, Clark says Turin has a Monday morning call with the team to talk about where the show goes next and mine leads; he also reads Bible verses and prays with them.
Clark says, “There’s always going to be a future with us, with or without TV. What we have is something special.”
Gold Rush season two began airing in February with the final episode set to air Friday, April 10, on Discovery Channel and DiscoveryGo online.
Nathan Clark’s Gold Rush Facebook
Dozer Dave’s Gold Rush Facebook