Rick Ness is an American musician and reality TV star, whose ticket to fame was his participation in the Discovery Channel’s TV series, “Gold Rush.”
Early Life and Family
Richard “Rick” Ness Jr. was born on 5 March 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 in moving to Rhinelander, Wisconsin. His brother chose to stay in Escanaba, working in the family construction business.
Paternal grandfather started Roy Ness Contracting & Sales in 1947, previously named Ness Brothers Contracting when Roy’s other brothers were still involved with the business, but when they moved on to other interests, Rick’s grandfather continuedRandy , 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 shop manager and lead mechanic.
Shortly after Rick and his mother arrived in Rhinelander, his mother opened a sandwich shop called “Subby’s.” Later on, she worked as a secretary and corrections officer at the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department.
Little else is known about Rick’s educational attainment, except for the fact that he played some college football until he suffered a head injury, which ultimately finished his budding football career.
After recovering from his football injury, Rick then turned to music, and played upright 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, going around several cities in the country and even went international.
They released three albums, namely “Ghost Town” (2006), “Fire and Hall” (2008), and “Lighting from the North” (2010). They disbanded in 2011 when Joe Huber decided to leave the group citing artistic differences.
While most of his former bandmates continued their music career as solo artists, Rick became a reality TV star through the TV series “Gold Rush,” previously entitled “Gold Rush: Alaska”, that aired on the Discovery Channel. He joined the cast for its second season after he was invited by one of the main stars of the series, Parker Schnabel. They met when he was still a touring musician, in one of their stops at the south-east Alaskan State Fair nine months prior to the invitation.
Parker, having learned that Rick was familiar with heavy machinery, as he worked with the family’s construction business in the past, believed that Rick would be a great addition to his gold mining crew.
Parker’s decision proved to be a smart one, as Rick was able to provide invaluable assistance to his crew. Rick started as an excavator then became a rock truck operator, and due to his proven diligence, was able to show his skills as a loader dozer and grader. His hard work paid off, as he was promoted to foreman by Parker in the fifth season.
By the ninth season in 2018-19, he was promoted to Mine Boss and was given his own mining crew. He encountered several problems including mutiny from his crew, but later on he was able to get the crew going, and was able to finish strong.
The 10th season of the series finished before the Covid19 pandemic blew-up globally. However, the filming of the 11th season was halted due to the quarantine restrictions, and even if the miners were regarded as essential workers, the production crew did not fit that category. The crew that handled the filming of the episodes was stuck in Britain due to travel restrictions. The moment Canada eases the total lockdown, the filming will continue.
Rick is quite private when it comes to his personal life, but he is currently single as there have been no reports of him being married or engaged. Many viewers are curious about his dating, but his life as a gold miner prevented him from socializing fully with other people.
His mom battled with brain cancer, and most of his time was devoted to taking care of her before she was passed away in 2018.
However, “Gold Rush” fans were quick to notice the great chemistry between him and Karla Ann, one of the gold mine crew in charge of his Gold Room in the show. When she joined the reality show, she belonged to another mining group, but when she returned for another season, fans wondered why she was suddenly in Rick’s group. It was assumed that they were dating, but Rick clarified in another show that Karla is like a sister that he never had, and that they treat each other as family.
Interesting Fact and Rumors
- His father, Big Rick, appeared in his son’s TV show, and went out of his way to help Rick’s group in reaching the show’s mining goal of 1000 ounces of gold, by offering his services to his son’s first mining expedition as Mine Boss. Big Rick’s expertise in handling people and heavy machineries helped considerably.
- During the filming of 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 about her when he watched the movie “Skyscraper.”
- It was rumored that some of Rick’s crew haven’t been paid by Discovery Channel and the reason was political differences. It was said that some of them are not even returning for Season 11.
Rick is 5ft 11ins (1.80m) tall and weighs around 152lbs (69kgs). He is Caucasian with an athletic build; he has brown hair, and brown eyes, and is also sporting a beard, and has tattoos on his right arm up to his shoulders.
Authoritative sources estimate that Rick’s net worth is over $3 million as of June 2020.