Three seasons deep into one of Discovery Channel’s hottest shows and Dave Turin can hardly believe he made it here. When season one of Gold Rush (formerly called Gold Rush Alaska) first premiered in December 2010, Turin was brought in as an expert consultant for a group of inexperienced, out-of-luck and economically struggling gold prospectors led by Todd Hoffman and his father, a former gold miner, Jack Hoffman.
Through the episodes all the way up to the third season, which premieres on Discovery Channel tonight, October 26, Turin has become a household favorite personality on the show. Many viewers think he should be a lead figure in the show because of his expertise in operations and moving earth. In an early season episode of season three that aired October 25, it seemed that Turin may even by running his own crew separate of Todd Hoffman.
In an interview with Outdoor Hub’s Colin Anthony, Turin said, “I have learned a lot about gold mining in the last to two years. The key is, 80 percent of your gold is on bedrock so you have to move dirt and I have a lot of experience in moving dirt,” with a chuckle.
That he does. Turin has been an integral part of running his family’s rock quarry business for a quarter of a century, having left the business and his brothers temporarily to pursue an engineering degree. In short, there isn’t a piece of construction equipment Turin can’t operate. He, his three brothers and family are the ideal hard workers chasing the American dream.
First Time on TV
Turin knew Todd Hoffman from church in Sandy, Oregon, where the two men and most of the rest of the Gold Rush crew are from. Todd asked Turin to help set up a wash plant and look over the gold mining operation. As if it were an afterthought, Todd briefly mentioned Turin would be appearing on a TV show. Turin scoffed and thought, “yeah, right.” When he arrived, he realized Todd wasn’t joking when the cameras were aimed at his face.
Over time, Turin developed a passionate personal attachment to the Gold Rush mission and he sees season three as a personal mission to be a leader of the men, as well as their faith and spiritual leader. Dave and his wife cooked the crew breakfast and led morning devotionals every day. Besides being a leader in operations he made it his personal mission to better the crew, who is made up of mostly of men down on their economic luck and running out of options.
Turin made a difficult decisions in the second and third season when he was asked to join the TV show as a full-time member of the excavation. He had difficulty breaking the news to the his family that he would be leaving the business during the filming of the show, but in the end, he feels the television show is a chance for him to spread his message of faith in God, working hard and taking a chance to pursue the American dream. Not to mention, he has always liked taking on a challenge.
When asked if he would still go gold mining if he were not part of the TV show, Turin said, “yes, gold mining is rewarding for me, but because we have the TV show we have a larger platform to spread our message.” He not only wants to help the men straighten out their lives, but wants to share his inspirational message with the entire country. Turin said the plight of the crewmen is true and not a TV gimmick. Some of the crewmen in season one were facing mounting debt, possible foreclosure on a house and so they decided to place all their bets on going mining. The TV show happened to follow them on their adventure.
Turin, the Outdoorsman
Some of you may be asking yourselves whether this man who is an expert at working the earth and who spends lots of time working outdoors takes the time to enjoy the outdoors as well? Undoubtedly, his strong family ties have spilled over into the outdoor world and Turin shares a long history of family hunting trips. “My kids cut their teeth on elk meat,” Turin said. “Every year my father and brothers and I would go into the mountains for 10 days and stay in wall tents hunting elk.” this was the first year he did not participate in the family hunting trip because of gold mining. He still looks fondly on the times simply because he was able to spend time with his family. “Some of my best memories are hunting with my father, brothers and sons.”
Turin did get to go on a hunting trip this year though, albeit by himself. He had just recently come back from a moose hunting trip in British Columbia with Northwest Big Game Outfitters, also a family business which takes Boone and Crockett record moose most years. He didn’t get a moose this time, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t see any. Per day, Turin spotted 10 to 20 moose, but none which suited his size to harvest.
Recently, Turin joined the crew on an excavation trip to Guyana in South America. Todd used his “magical” convincing skills to get the crew to go there, promising them gold and to see if it was worth establishing an operation there. When asked if he would go back there again, Turin said he would not go back, unless their journey was more meaningful than the last expedition.
“If we go, we have to have a higher purpose than just to pull gold out of the ground,” Turin said. “We would have to educate and train people there about reclaiming the ground. The miner there just wants to feed his family but these mining operations there are just pulling gold out of the ground and destroying rain forest.”
Gold Rush has become so much more to Turin than just a TV show and has evolved greatly since he first joined the crew in Alaska. In season one, Turin claims the group didn’t know what they were doing. Season two’s greatest problem was that the group was underfunded, but this year some fresh faces on the show will beg the question of whether the group finally has what it takes to be successful. They have the equipment, the experience and the funding. “There are no excuses…we have to find out how we do!”
Gold Rush season three premieres on Discovery Channel tonight, October 26 at 9 p.m. Eastern/ 8 p.m. Central. Find more bios, a TV schedule and more at Discovery.com. Outdoor Hub wants to thank Dave Turin for the opportunity to speak about season three.
Image courtesy of Discovery Channel