Parker Schnabel From ‘Gold Rush’ Turns 21

Parker Schnabel has been working on a gold mine since he was barely out of diapers. When the young Parker kept begging to come out to the Big Nugget mine that his beloved Grandpa John Schnabel owns, he was told he had to be done with wearing diapers. The next day, Parker showed up at the mine with his mother, and announced he was diaper-free. Since then, Schnabel spent as much time as possible with his grandfather, learning all about what it takes to run and maintain a gold mine. Although Parker Schnabel turned 21 in July, there was a segment during the latest episode that Gold Rush shared on their website where his family and friends gathered together on a paddle boat to celebrate his birthday and reflect on how far he’s come.


Spending all his free time at the mine definitely shaped Parker Schnabel into the young man he is today. When John Schnabel originally bought the mine after he retired, he had the idea that working the mine would keep him busy and the exercise would probably improve his health. Although he still has health issues, John Schnabel is now 95-years-old and still going strong, often visiting Parker at Scribner Creek in the Yukon. When he first set eyes on the Gold Nugget, it’s a good bet that he had no idea how much the mine would impact Parker’s life, too.

When John Schnabel handed over the running of the Gold Nugget to Parker when he was 15, it was the teenager’s chance to put into practice everything he had learned thus far. Almost from the beginning, there were some problems when dealing with the older employees. Parker had no real management style, and was often brash and spontaneous. As time goes on, Parker Schnabel is getting better at leading his crews, but it has been a slow and painful process for him. Losing Gene Cheeseman to Tony Beets this season was a bitter pill to swallow and a wake-up call for Parker. Grandpa John has offered him some very wise counsel several times and to his credit, Parker does listen and tries his best to follow that advice. When he does, the results are immediate and dramatic as crew morale (and productivity) always goes up.


Although Parker’s leadership style has been called into question many times, there is no question about his devotion to Grandpa John. John Schnabel is also affectionately known as “America’s Grandpa,” and fans can’t seem to get enough of him. Parker listens to and respects his grandfather, and the deep bond between the two is undeniable. Parker does seem to realize how fortunate he is to have a grandfather like John Schnabel.

Although he is a young mine boss, Parker Schnabel has a good head on his shoulders and knows more about mining than a lot of men twice his age. During the early Gold Rush years, he even gave Todd Hoffman and his crew a lot of expert advice. There is definitely a rivalry going on between the two crews, and that hasn’t changed since the first season. According to Hidden Remote, during this season, Parker Schnabel opens the biggest cut of his life, hoping to bring in more gold than the Hoffman crew. This year, Todd Hoffman got an early start on mining, and Parker was late getting started. Schnabel didn’t let that bother him, and halfway through the season, he has almost caught up to the Hoffman crew. The Hoffman’s set a goal of bringing in 2,700 ounces of gold this season, and Parker just set a goal of 3,000 ounces. If he makes that goal, he will beat Todd Hoffman again. Only time will tell who will come out ahead on the gold totals.


Parker has a lot of family guidance, love, and support, and it has helped him achieve a lot in only 21 years. Although at times he seems unsure about what to do, he is always able to come up with a plan that usually works well. He just needs to communicate with his crew a little better. If this driven young man continues to improve and evolve, he will be a force to be reckoned with. For Parker Schnabel, right now the sky is the limit, and since he has the proper guidance, he should be able to reap great rewards for all his hard work.

Are you a fan of the show? What do you think of the changes Parker Schnabel has gone through over the years? Leave your comments, opinions, and thoughts below. Gold Rush airs on Friday’s at 9 p.m. ET on Discovery.

[Image of Parker Schnabel from Gold Rush/Twitter, cropped and resized]