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Gold Rush: White Water exclusive, ‘MacGyver’ Wes Richardson is a boulder basket making genius

Wes Richardson explains his welding technique and the end game of the baskets. Pic credit: Discovery

On tonight’s Gold Rush: White Water it’s American ingenuity on display. Wes Richardson is a welding can-do Texan who makes some equipment for Dakota Fred Hurt and Dustin Hurt out of what looks to be salvage scrap metal.

He is a blowtorch-wielding wizard as he fires up and solders pieces of metal and heavy-duty screening together, in a bid to design two baskets that look like sleds or toboggans.

These rudimentary baskets are meant to capture and hold enormous boulders that are pulled out of the gold-rich plunge pools. Big rocks are a problem for these divers underwater.

Wearing protective goggles, Richardson says: “I’m the MacGyver of the group, uh… I can take anything and make anything out of it. so I went an scrounged up as much heavy steel as I could. These two sleds…I want them strong I don’t want them to tear up.”

The divers were struggling with one rock basket. Now, Wes is constructing a pair of oversized sleds.

Standing inside the baskets he says: “We are going to pull out tons of rocks with two of them. This will probably hold a four or five hundred pound rock..if they can roll it into this thing, we can pull it out.”

“These are really crucial to our operation everything we can’t pull out of the dredge we are going to rely on this thing we are just gonna fill them up and then pull them out, and we will just find more gold.”

Diving into the cold, raging Alaskan creek Fred Hurt and his crew mine for gold. His son Dustin Hurt is a major head butting obstacle but in the end, they have the same goal, only Fred knows better.

Read our exclusive interview with Dakota Fred Hurt!

Discovery Channel White Water is a spin-off of the hit series Gold Rush that once also featured the duo’s gold mining efforts in Alaska.

McKinley Creek, where the Hurts also mined in their Gold Rush heydays, flows into Porcupine Creek which is also where they mined filming White Water.

Brothers Paul and Wes Richardson have been mining with the Hurts for the last few years. Fred’s background is in commercial deep sea diving which means he can handle the intensely heated scuba gear, special helmets with radio communications and life-saving oxygen hoses that keep them from being whooshed down the creek.

The Hurts suction dredge the bottom of the river like a vacuum sucks up a rug.

The mixture of dirt and hopefully gold from the river bottom comes up the tube to be sifted and sorted wit the result being gold settling away from the underwater soil and debris. It’s quite exciting to see it happen.

Make sure to tune in tonight to see how valuable Wes Richardson is as Fred Hurt’s MVP of the week and see too if his baskets can hold the big boulders they encounter below.

Gold Rush: White Water airs on Fridays at 10/9c on Discovery.

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April is an accredited entertainment writer, interviewer and television critic. She is a current member of the Television Critics Association (TCA), Gay and Lesbian Entertainment... read more
April Neale
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