The tumultuous tale of Parker Schnabel and Todd Hoffman began with the airing of one of today’s most popular reality TV series worldwide – “Gold Rush.” Entitled “Gold Rush: Alaska” in its first season only, the show focused on multiple mining families who traveled across the US and Canada in search of gold, usually following up on reports of massive deposits, hoping to hit the jackpot.
Todd Hoffman instantly stood out as one of the most experienced gold seekers, having been in the business through his father Jack’s involvement for multiple decades. He was a fan favorite from the get-go, with pretty much no one standing in his way to the top among the rest of the cast. Parker Schnabel’s grandfather John started the season alongside Todd, but he wasn’t much competition at all.
Instead, push would come to shove in the second season, when John stepped down in favor of his grandson. Having a very keen nose for business, and of course gold, Parker was really good at getting high yields regardless of where he went. The same fortune didn’t follow Todd, who evidently had to work much harder to end up with the same haul.
This wasn’t an issue initially, as both of the miners focused on their own gig. However, throughout the few interactions that Schnabel and Hoffman had early on, it was clear that they wouldn’t get along further down the line. One such example was apparent when Parker approached Todd about buying new equipment, as his operation was expanding and they didn’t have the machinery to back it up, while Todd’s was ostensibly getting worse by the day.
In the video uploaded by the Discovery Channel on 21 August 2013, Parker can be seen heading over to Todd’s HQ in an attempt to strike a deal that would greatly boost his enterprise. Todd, on the other hand, doesn’t seem too eager to engage in this interaction, starting out with a conceited ‘Parker Schnabel.’ and a troubled look at the younger competitor.
Parker simply approached with ‘Hey Todd, how’s it going?’ They immediately got down to business, as Parker said ‘I actually came down hoping to talk to you about some of the equipment you have up north. You know, I need a wash plant.’ Todd simply replied with ‘All’s I have is Little Blue.’
Hoffman was referring to a barely functional wash plant that he used earlier in the season, with which he barely saw any gold at all. Disappointed with how poorly the machine performed, he pretty much left it unattended under the elements, hoping to some day put it to any kind of use, if at least as scrap metal.
He was thus pretty lucky to have Parker come asking for exactly that, at which point he asked ‘What’s your offer? I’m not gonna shoot a number, it’s up to you.’ While this may seem like a kind and friendly gesture, it’s actually a well-known strategy in sales, which the salesman will use to gauge the initial offer of the buyer and immediately ask for a higher price.
However, Parker’s offer appeared so generous that Todd just outright accepted. The younger miner said ‘I brought 25 ounces (700 grams) of gold. That’s more than what it’s worth, I think.’ With an offer equaling $46,000 in real value, Hoffman didn’t think twice about agreeing. He just said ‘You know what, I’ll take your 25 ounces.’
With the wash plant secured and profitable business conducted, Parker still had yet another offer to make, though this time he’d offer almost no value for it. He said ‘Now I’d like to talk about a dozer,’ to which Hoffman immediately said ‘the D-10. You know there’s nobody in the world that’s 18 years old that owns a D-10, you know that.’
As Parker begins work in the Yukon, check out this video playlist that we put together of young Schnabel on the job. [Watch] – http://bit.ly/17f0Uwn
Parker explained that he doesn’t currently have the funds required for this purchase, but tried to strike a bargain in a different way. Hoffman wouldn’t budge, saying ‘There’s no way in hell that I will grant or lease that machine.’ Desperate to boost his business, Schnabel asked ‘What do I have to do to get it? I mean, give me a shot.’
Hoffman kept his stern disposition, stating that ‘A 110 freakin’ ounces’ was the only price he’d be satisfied with. Still undeterred by this steep offer, Schnabel said ‘I’ll give you 100 ounces, give me six weeks to sluice. That’s July first.’
Hoffman paused for a good few seconds, thinking the offer over, ultimately agreeing with ‘You got a deal.’ It would’ve made for a nice and peaceful deal, but Todd just had to assert more dominance, stating ‘But on midnight on July first, I’m gonna hit you with a hefty bill, you understand?’ Parker still agreed anyway, and the two went their separate ways after a firm handshake.
Freshly 18 years old as stated by Hoffman, Schnabel didn’t appear very promising to the viewers at first, most of whom considered his age and lack of experience in the field as a vital handicap that would leave him leagues behind the competition. They couldn’t have been more wrong, though, as both of the investments from that video paid off for him – the wash plant worked a lot better after some much-needed repairs, and the dozer proved invaluable in Schnabel’s mining efforts in The Klondike.
After a while it became apparent that the Parker crew was constantly making bank and hitting massive deposits, while Todd’s was struggling to stay afloat. Many viewers and even production team members began commenting on this, which over time caused even greater rifts between the two mining bosses.
A stage was eventually reached where they would both seek to annoy one another with snide remarks and dismissive looks, each assuming a condescending position in the conversation. At no point was this rivalry more apparent than when the two met up for a customary visit, showing up to check each other’s progress and compare yields.
Finally my Pit Vipers showed up! pic.twitter.com/cQT6HDT9UH
— HoffmanFamilyGold (@goldrushtodd) May 3, 2021
In the meantime, Todd was also selling various items of equipment and a number of other useful items that he no longer had a use for, so told Parker ‘I got a hell of a yard sale going on, you need anything?’ The younger miner came there for a reason, so, of course he was interested in buying something, thus asking ‘What do you want for that excavator?’
As per usual, Todd went ahead with ‘Welp, make me an offer.’ Parker was wiser this time, and, rather than just throwing gold at Hoffman, he decided to have one of his associates determine a realistic price for the equipment, saying ‘Let me have Mitch take a look at it, and he’ll put a value on it, and we’ll just go back and forth from there, but we do need a bigger hole like that for a project we’re working on.’
With Todd’s ‘It’s all yours, buddy,’ it appeared as just another smooth deal and no further drama, but then Parker remarked ‘I heard you’re going for 5,000 ounces. That’s a lot of gold.’ Hoffman said ‘Yeah, what are you going for?’ Parker said a humble ‘Three. Just doesn’t make sense with our royalty rates, you know?’
Hoffman saw an opportunity for a jab and immediately took it, replying ‘You’re 21 years old, man, I thought you’d go for like 10,000 ounces.’ Schnabel picked up on this and returned the poke with sarcasm, stating ‘I’m a real under-achieving 21-year old, that’s for sure Todd.’
Almost as though concluding a very basic fact, Hoffman said ‘Yeah, there you go.’ But that wasn’t enough, so he took it even further, asking ‘What do you think, you’ve achieved everything ‘cause you got a little gold in your pocket?’
Parker immediately asked ‘Did I say that?’ ‘Sure sounded like it,’ Todd punched right back. He then upped the sarcasm to another level, asking ‘You tell me man, I’m only 47 years old, what do I know?’ And, just like that, the atmosphere turned grim, and all of the viewers were reminded that these two would never be friends.
This also proved to be too much for Parker, who then said ‘I just got finished burying my grandpa, you don’t need to tell me s**t like that.’ Hoffman didn’t know what to say to that, but also didn’t want to back away, so he simply gave an ‘I don’t know.’ Parker said ‘I don’t need that s**t’ and went back into his truck, leaving with his day definitely worsened.
Schnabel and Hoffman regarding each other
Since their supposed rivalry was already a well-known fact among all of the viewers of “Gold Rush” in 2016, Parker was interviewed by Channel Guide Magazine that year regarding his stance on the matter. He actually mentioned Todd first, without even being asked by the interviewer.
Parker was simply asked about the first episode that season in which he got together with Todd, and with Tony, who is another miner boss. He explained that ‘It was interesting. For me, I thought it was just a friendly competition between Todd and I. But the one thing for me, personally, that I took away from sitting down with Todd and Tony on “The Dirt” is that Todd really doesn’t like me, which I’m not sure if that means I’ve done something right or done something wrong.’
From looking at what Parker really had to say, the audience was able to conclude that he wasn’t really the source of this rivalry, especially after he stated ‘He has a very personal dislike for me. I don’t know if I should go so far as to say hatred, but it borderlines on that.’
When asked about what he thinks the reason might be for all that seemingly unwarranted animosity, Schnabel replied ‘I didn’t ask him but it seems like a pretty extreme stance on his part but that’s fine – to each his own, right?’ Parker was also asked about the way he’d react upon learning that the Hoffmans would stay in the series for more seasons, potentially indefinitely, and he simply said ‘They can do whatever they want.’
From talking to Parker further, it was apparent that his focus rested way more on how his crew was faring than any other potential rivalry. He took the opportunity of the interview to talk about his current and former colleagues, stating ‘Gene leaving was a bit of an interesting thing. This time last year I was kind of a mess. I didn’t know what was going to happen. I didn’t know what to try and do without him.’
It looks like most of Parker’s risks throughout the running of “Gold Rush” were very smart gambles, as almost every single one of them paid off. He explained ‘I was looking at just bringing in someone else who had a lot of experience and I started thinking about it, and then I thought, ‘Well no, I’ve got myself and Rick Ness.’ Rick is an amazing foreman. He’s a great guy and he wanted more responsibility, and I decided why not trust somebody I’ve worked with for several years — it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.’
Further on, he had nothing but praise for his crew, stating ‘He did a great job. Rick’s a great guy – very good worker, very smart and dedicated. The thing about Gene leaving, is that it gave us kind of our imagination back – to be able to try new things and change things up, bringing those conveyors onboard and Goldzilla and the way we got set up was very unique.’
Finally, he revealed how team work made the dream work, and ended the interview on a very positive note, saying ‘It’s combining a lot of different ideas that people have to move dirt and sluice different ground. Once we got that established, we saved and made a pile of money.’
Todd, on the other hand, didn’t show the same type of team spirit and benign focus, taking the time out of his interview to mention Parker when he wasn’t even asked about any competitors. He was asked about where he stood on the plan that his father entered the business with in 2011, meaning to become a millionaire along with his son.
To this question, Hoffman replied ‘Well, sorry I can’t say but I’ll tell you this, my team, my guys get more gold and are paid the best probably than any of the workers in the Klondike. They might show Parker giving a little bit of gold here and there, I give out as much as I can to my guys. We just live.’
In conclusion, even though it appears as though Todd is to blame for most of the beef that ever took place between himself and Parker, the audience has long since forgotten about all that, since the Hoffmans left the series in 2008, and haven’t returned. They are still involved in the various “Gold Rush” spin-offs, but it looks like they’re just not coming into contact with Schnabel anymore.