Rick Ness is an American musician and reality TV star, whose ticket to fame was his participation in the Discovery Channel TV series “Gold Rush.”
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Early life and family
Richard “Rick” Ness Jr. was born on March 5, 1981 in Escanaba, Michigan, USA to parents Richard “Big Rick” Ness Sr. and Judy Marie Bedard; he has a twin brother, Randy. When his parents divorced in 2003, he accompanied his mother on the move to Rhinelander, Wisconsin. His brother chose to stay in Escanaba and work in the family business.
Paternal grandfather started Roy Ness Contracting & Sales in 1947, formerly called Ness Brothers Contracting when Roy’s other brothers were still involved in the business but as they moved into other interests Rick’s grandfather continued Randy hence the name change. His father, “Big Rick”, is currently the co-owner and vice president of the company, and Rick’s brother is the store manager and chief mechanic.
Shortly after Rick and his mother arrived in Rhinelander, his mother opened a sandwich shop called ‘Subby’s’. She later worked as a secretary and corrections officer with the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department.
Little else is known about Rick’s level of education, other than the fact that he played some college football until he suffered a head injury, which ultimately ended his burgeoning football career.
After recovering from his football injury, Rick then turned to music and played double bass in the underground music scene with 357 String Band, formed with Derek Dunn on guitar/vocals, Billy Cook on mandolin/dobro, Jayke Orvis on mandolin/vocals, and Joseph Huber on Banjo/Fiddle. The band provided a unique sound, using only stringed instruments. They started playing in 2004, touring different cities in the country and even going international.
They released three albums, namely “Ghost Town” (2006), “Fire and Hall” (2008) and “Lighting from the North” (2010). They broke up in 2011 when Joe Huber decided to leave the group due to artistic differences.
While most of his former bandmates continued their music careers as solo artists, Rick became a reality TV star through the TV series “Gold Rush”, formerly titled “Gold Rush: Alaska”, which aired on the Discovery Channel. He joined the cast for the second season after being invited by one of the series’ protagonists, Parker Schnabel. They met while he was still an itinerant musician, at one of their stops at the southeastern Alaska State Fair, nine months prior to the invitation.
Parker, having learned that Rick was familiar with heavy machinery, having worked for the family’s construction company in the past, believed Rick would be a great addition to his gold mining crew.
Parker’s decision turned out to be a smart one, as Rick was able to provide his crew with invaluable resources. Rick started out as an excavator and then became a rock truck operator and his proven diligence allowed him to showcase his loader dozer and grader skills. His hard work paid off as he was promoted to frontman by Parker in the fifth season.
By the ninth season in 2018-19, he was promoted to Mine Boss and given his own mining squad. He encountered several problems, including mutiny from his crew, but later he was able to get the crew going and finish strong.
the 10e season of the series ended before the Covid19 pandemic broke out worldwide. However, filming the 11e season was shut down due to the quarantine restrictions, and even if the miners were considered essential workers, the production crew did not fit into that category. The crew filming the episodes was trapped in Britain due to travel restrictions. Shooting will continue as soon as Canada eases its total lockdown.
Rick is quite private when it comes to his personal life, but he is currently single as there are no reports of him being married or engaged. Many viewers are curious about his dating, but his life as a gold digger kept him from hanging out with other people completely.
His mother battled with brain cancerand most of his time was devoted to taking care of her before she passed away in 2018.
However, fans of “Gold Rush” quickly noticed the great chemistry between him and Karla Ann, one of the gold mining crew in charge of his Gold Room on the show. When she joined the reality show, she belonged to a different mining group, but when she returned for another season, fans wondered why she was suddenly in Rick’s group. It was assumed they were dating, but Rick clarified on another show that Karla is like a sister he never had, and that they treat each other like family.
Interesting fact and rumors
- His father, Big Rick, appeared on his son’s TV show, and went out of his way to help Rick’s group achieve the mining goal of 1,000 ounces of gold, offering his services to his son’s first mining expedition as Mine Boss. Big Rick’s expertise in handling people and heavy machinery has helped significantly.
- While filming season 8 of his TV show, he chose to go home to attend to his mother’s illness.
- One of Rick’s ultimate celebrity crushes way back in high school was Neve Campbell, and he gushed over her when he saw the movie “Skyscraper.”
- It was rumored that part of Rick’s crew was not paid by the Discovery Channel and the reason was political disagreements. It was said that some of them won’t even return for season 11.
Rick is 1.80 m tall and weighs about 69 kg. He is white with an athletic build; he has brown hair and brown eyes, and also wears a beard, and has tattoos on his right arm up to his shoulders.
authoritative sources estimates Rick’s net worth is over $3 million as of June 2020.
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