In the ‘City of Gold’ with the man of gold! An exclusive interview with Dave Turin!

In the world of gold mining, few names carry as much weight and respect as Dave Turin, or affectionately known as “Dozer Dave.” Renowned for his expertise, passion, and down-to-earth demeanor, Turin has become a household name among fans of Discovery Channel’s hit series “Gold Rush.” Now, he’s embarked on a new adventure with “America’s Backyard Gold,” as a groundbreaking series that brings the excitement of gold mining straight to viewers’ doorsteps.

I recently had the privilege of having a conversation with Dave Turin to discuss this exciting new spin-off series and what viewers can expect from “America’s Backyard Gold.” With his trademark enthusiasm and wealth of knowledge, Turin offered fascinating insights into the series and shared his passion for the thrill of the hunt. In this interview, Dave shares his inspirational stories, insights and behind-the-scenes anecdotes, offering a glimpse into his past experiences and the series.

“This is the kind of show I always wanted doing. I did what’s called “Dave Turin’s Lost Mines”, and part of the thing that I loved about that show, is that I travelled. I was able to go to different mining areas and put my knowledge and experience against how the old-timers mined. It was like being the detective to try figure out and solve a mystery. Why did they quit mining here, or why did they mine here? So, I was constantly looking at what the old-timers did and then went behind to try figure out, with our modern technology and our new equipment, where I could find the gold that they left us. That part kind of trapped us is that show, because what happened was, once I found it, I basically had to mine it. It became Gold Rush, because now we’re just mining the ground. But I always wanted to continue the prospecting, the search and the excitement about finding a new place. I love the history and I love people. Everybody has a story, so as I’m travelling, I meet all these amazing people. Some of them have odd personalities, some of them are so passionate, and some of them don’t know what they’re doing. That’s what we see in this show, is so many different people. We interviewed over 60 people out there, mining and prospecting.”

Out of all of these stories, what is the most inspirational story that you’re learned from some of these people?

“I’ll give you two stories”.

The first that was so inspirational to me. There was this lady that I met. She, with her three children, escaped a difficult marriage, packed her kids up and left the state. So she was somewhat on the run with her husband and brother-in-law trying to find them. She goes to Montana and parks her camper, with her three kids, along a stream. She was scared, but she had to go find a job, so she walked into town. She had a thirteen-year-old son at the time, he goes out by the stream and there’s a couple of miners there. These two miners took the young boy under their wing and taught him how to gold mine. He started figuring out that he could find gold in that stream, and these two guys helped him because they wanted to help the family. So he starts taking up mining. And so, two things; one is it helped that family come together and work towards a purpose, and two, the gold gave him some money to help pay the bills. So while mother was working, the thirteen-year-old and his two siblings were in the stream, panning and finding gold. We meet this family ten years later, and the thirteen-year-old is now twenty-three. He was such an amazing young man and he loves gold. I think he, at some point in his career, will own gold mines and be a professional gold miner.

The other story; I met a guy, as a young man he was in gangs and he was in trouble. He used a lot of drugs. He’s about my age, so he’s many years later now. He takes troubled youth out of the gangs in California, and teaches them how to prospect. A lot of those kids are trapped in alcohol and drugs. He takes them out into the environment, Mother Nature, and teaches them hard work. Hard work can then result in gold, and gold is actually somewhat addictive. Gold fever is real. And so, he’s got these young people getting out of gangs, working. They find gold and then it starts to help them find an alternative way, rather than the drugs, the alcohol, the fighting and the gangs, they’re out there doing something constructive. I was really inspired by that.”

In our interview with Dave Turin, it became very clear that, other than the challenges that comes with mining and prospecting, he is incredibly passionate about people’s stories. Their “why”. When asked about the one question, in all the interviews he’d had over the years, that he wished someone had asked him, but never did, his response was the “why?”.

So why did Dave Turin get into mining and particularly the show, and why does he continue to do it?

“Originally it was because I’m the kind of guy that loves challenges and solving problems. I had worked at our family business for 30 years and it was the same piece of property, the same equipment, the same crew. When I went and helped Todd Hoffman, it was brand new. Also, what was so humbling to me, is I thought I was a good miner, I thought I was confident, and I’ll never forget … I went up there and it was season 2 (of Gold Rush) Todd Hoffman takes me out into Yukon, and we’re looking at this piece of ground and standing there with the cameras right behind us. Todd looks at me and he goes, “There’s our ground, you’re the expert.” And he turns and walks away. The cameras are sitting there, looking at me, and I’m so scared. I’m thinking, “I have no idea what I’m doing, I’m going to look like a complete idiot.” But for me, that’s what I live for, that challenge. I had to figure it out. I had no experience with permafrost, how to get the gold out, how deep the gold was, and so I’m sitting there thinking this could be the dumbest thing I have ever done in my life. But we figured it out, and that’s one of the appeals to the show originally, was that because I didn’t know it, I didn’t know it all, the audience learned with me.”

We go on to discuss the history of mining, as this is another one of Dave’s passions.

“I love history. The American history is so intertwined with the history of gold. I love that part about it. The gold has changed families, it’s changed the history of countries. You mentioned my family, in one of the episodes, my grandson goes along with me. Which was really fun, because he is now fourteen and I have pictures of him since the age of three, the first time he came on some of our claims. It’s been really fun to watch him grow up and help us mine. And he loves it! He goes on trips with us and that’s a lot of fun for me.

In Gold Rush, it was really interesting to see that there’s a different side to mining, but also to see the family come together, and how your teams become your family as well.

“Yeh, we have to work as a team. For me, that was always a big part of what I was trying to accomplish. Was to have a team atmosphere. I felt that if you’re a team and we all have the same goal of finding as much gold as we can, that’s our goal. It’s just like a family. You’ve got a purpose, and if everybody’s working together, it works so much better.”

As the conversation progressed, we turned towards leadership. Dave further explains the importance of trying to lead and keeping everybody together with different personalities clashing and when the team starts to fracture. I asked Dave what nuggets of wisdom he had for our readers who are stiving to be good leaders themselves, especially when it comes to facing challenges and overcoming obstacles.

“It’s communication, and it’s listening. I always like to lead from the top down but also from the bottom up. Especially for safety. You know, when we’re out there, safety is such a big concern because we’ve got big equipment, and then you throw that on top of a bunch of young people that are carrying cameras and sound gear, and taking notes. They’re not experienced in the wilderness and they’re not experienced around big equipment. The safety part of it has always scared me. So, we basically had meetings every morning so we could talk about things, and I always told them that my philosophy was, from the top down, but the bottom up. So if there’s somebody that’s taking notes and they see me do something that they don’t think is safe, they can call me out. So that’s something I’ve always stressed was, if you have a concern, wherever you are on the property, you have to bring it up so that it keeps people safe and it also keeps people communicating so we all know what’s going on. My team was also connected to the camera team, and we all have one purpose of making a good TV show. Their purpose was to get the best shots, our purpose was to get as much gold as we could.”

As our interview with Dave Turin came to a close, it’s clear that his passion for mining and his unwavering determination are at the heart of his success. From his humble beginnings to his current endeavours, Dave’s journey is a testament to the power or perseverance and the pursuit of one’s dreams.

As we join Dave on his adventures of Discovery Channel’s “America’s Backyard Gold,” we can’t help but be inspired by Dave’s stories and insights. With his indominable spirit and infectious enthusiasm, Dave Turin continues to inspire viewers around the world. From basics of prospecting to the thrill of striking gold, Turin’s expertise and passion shine through as he invites viewers to join him on this unforgettable journey of discovery.