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Frozen hopper and busted belt bedevil Rick Ness in Gold Rush exclusive

Ness is watching his hopper jam up and finds out the problem us worse. Pic credit: Discovery
Ness is watching his hopper jam up and finds out the problem us worse on Gold Rush. Pic credit: Discovery

Good lord, Rick Ness needs a break.

On tonight’s Gold Rush, this crew boss is set back with another equipment calamity, and it’s poorly timed.

Ness is behind in the tally of gold retrieval. Beets and Schnabel are fighting it out for the win. His crew of novice miners is, at times, in over their head too. A lot of this season has been Rick managing his guys’ behaviors.

Rick is on the radio and talking to his crew: “Is this just froze up high?” His man answers, “Yes… big chunks [are] in here. It’s frozen up high.”

“Roger that” says Rick.

He explains what is happening. “The hopper is blocking up because we’re putting big chunks through it.  So I’m trying to see if I can get in here with the excavator bucket and break it up a bit… because I definitely don’t want to go in there with hand shovels.”

Words of encouragement from Rick who says: “Whatever you’re doing it’s working so if we keep moving back and forth like you were, you are doing a great job… All right is the belt visible?”

“What’s up?” says Rick. The crew sees that the belt has a huge hole in the middle of it.

Ness wastes no time. “Shut her down!”

Last year, Parker Schnabel had promoted Rick to a foreman and even took him along on season two of Parker’s Trails, which landed in Guyana. Ness talked to us about that epic adventure and we learned that the jungle was not the most relaxing place on earth.

In our exclusive interview, Ness shared some of the more miserable aspects of the jaunt.

“Oh, every day. It was horrible. It was awful. One morning I woke up and there was a huntsman spider and a tarantula sitting right next to where my hammock was tied up. I reached up to untie my hammock and there were just two spiders bigger than my hand just sitting there.

I mean there’s any number of things down there. The insects, the snakes. The jungle predators, the jaguars and stuff like that. The heat was a constant. You pretty much have to drink 10, 12, 15 liters of water a day to stay hydrated and the water is not good-looking water.

It’s pretty terrible. There are all kinds of sicknesses. There’s like three different types of malaria there. All kinds of fevers and all kinds of stuff and just the jungle itself. I’ve never been in a jungle and there’s really nothing like it. Trying to pound your way through something so dense, I mean it’s a job.

Sadly we found out that Ness is not part of the new Parker’s Trail heading to Papua New Guinea this year.

We are pulling for Rick, he’s one of the saltier more interesting characters on the series and we hope he gets his organization profitable.

Tune in tonight to see how much this will or will not set him back.

Gold Rush airs on Fridays at 9:00 on Discovery and Discovery Go

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