The sometimes lucrative art of gold mining had lured Tony Beets into enduring the harsh terrains of the Klondike region of Yukon in Canada, and his skills led him to be included in Discovery Channel’s reality-television show, “Gold Rush.” His name and face enjoyed a certain level of prominence, as millions of viewers made the show one of the most-watched series on cable television. His journey from humble beginnings as a machine operator to one of the successful owners of a multi-million gold mining business has inspired and enthralled many viewers.

Tony Beets’ life before “Gold Rush”

Early life and marriage

Anton ‘Tony’ Beets was born on 15 December 1959, in the small Dutch village of Wijdenes, in the province of North Holland in the Netherlands. He came from humble beginnings, as he was raised by his parents on a farm, and when he was growing up, spent each morning milking cows. During his early teens, his father had a debilitating accident that left Tony in charge of the family farm, including supervising men way older than himself so that the farm could continue operating.

Tony had so much determination in dealing with the situation; he worked overtime so he could be equal or better than those people who worked for him.

Later on, Tony married Minnie, a childhood friend from the next-door farm. They met when he was seven and she’d just turned six. When Minnie reached the age of 20, Tony started asking her out on dates, and it only took them a few years of dating before they married.

Immigrated to Canada

When the farm wasn’t doing great anymore, Tony and Minnie migrated to Canada in 1980 to seek greener pasture. His first job was on a dairy farm in Salmon Arm, British Columbia, but to improve his monthly earnings, he resigned and became a construction worker. Due to his perseverance and quick wit, he was promoted to foreman within a week, then as he gained more experience, Tony challenged himself and learned to handle a machinery, and then went to work as a machine operator for a company that handled oil pipelines.

His wife also helped in putting money into the family coffers, by working in retail, health care, and food industries over the years.

Started his gold mining journey

Tony learned from friends that people working in the gold mines in Yukon were earning more than $1000 in a week, which was quite huge at that time. He set out for Dawson City, located in the heart of the Canadian territory of Yukon, to check if the rumors were true. However, when he got there, he found out that he’d come too early for the gold mining season, so no jobs were available. With nothing to do, Tony went back to B.C. and continued working on the oil pipelines, but in 1984 he got a call from a gold mining company, and was lured back to the Yukon.

Tamarack, Inc. and his legendary gold mining adventures

Tony eventually established his own gold mining company called Tamarack, Inc. in the Dawson district. Through hard work, perseverance and luck, his company has become one of the biggest privately held placer gold mines in the Yukon Territory.

With only seven months a year to acquire gold, his crew worked non-stop for 12 to 14 hours every day, notwithstanding erratic weather conditions and machinery breakdowns. He was determined to get out of bed every single day, as success was never guaranteed. He said, ‘Gold mining is a hands-on operation. If you’re not out there every day, it’s not going to happen.’

Tony said that there were times when even hard work wasn’t enough, because a miner can never really be assured of good ground or location each season. He learned from experience that if one day he made a million out of good ground, one had to manage the finances or hire the best people, because the next season might be different. He’s quite lucky that he has his competent family to back him up. Minnie was responsible for bookkeeping and she’s good at finances; they would argue when it comes to budgeting, as she held on to the purse strings quite tightly to avoid making impulsive investments that might turn out to be disastrous.

Tony Beets

Three of their children also worked in his company, but he made sure that he instilled the importance of diligence and determination in them. He expected so much from his children and was harder on them than to any other employee, but he proudly shared that he paid all of them quite fairly.

It was interesting to note that despite the grueling schedule that Tony insisted they keep, his kids would always come back to work with him each season. He said that whatever their reason for sticking it out with him, whether they love him or for money, he’s just happy that they were there. He also revealed in an interview that even during the off-season his children oftentimes joined him and his wife whenever they go on vacations, in which he can just be Dad and not the Boss.

One of the greatest decisions Tony made was to reopen a 75-year-old gold mining dredge which was last used in the 1980’s.

Some people discouraged him as it could be a risky investment, most especially after buying it for a cool $1 million. He followed his gut instinct that the dredge would give them around $7.5 million worth of gold in the future.

The ups and downs of Tony as a gold miner in “Gold Rush”

“Gold Rush” was already in its second season when Tony first appeared in it. While it was just a guest appearance in the fifth episode entitled “Drill or Die,” it had been significant, because he advised the TV show’s main star and creator Todd Hoffman. He told him that the secret to a successful gold mining season was to drill test holes. During this time, Todd’s crew was rebelling against his decisions, so Todd was forced to dig test holes. Many gold miners asked for his advice, since he was known to be one of the most successful gold miners in the Klondike.

The guest appearance turned regular cast

Many viewers thought it was just a one-time appearance, but then he was seen several times in “Gold Rush” as the mentor of one of the regular gold miners, Parker Schnabel, especially during his rookie year as an independent miner. During the fourth season in August 2013, he leased out his Scribner Creek claim to Parker, which led his mentee to recover a total of 1029 ounces of gold, which broke Todd Hoffman’s record at that time, which was 803 ounces. While Tony had been an experienced gold miner with successful mining history before he joined the TV show as part of the regular cast, he had trouble in mining enough gold to be considered competitive.

His lowest and biggest gold take as of yet

In the sixth season, Tony was only able to finish with 737 ounces of gold. It was ironic that the other two mining crews to whom he gave plenty of tips, both had more than 3,000 ounces of gold recovered by season’s end.

Tony’s perseverance was legendary in the local mining industry, and it showed in the seventh season when he finally acquired over 2,000 ounces of gold worth more than $2 million, and landed in second place to his former mentee, Parker, who had 4,300 ounces of gold valued at around $5 million at that time.

Tony vowed that he would get more gold the following season even if he had to work more hours in a day, and he did. He was so competitive that he had a bet with Parker as to who would end up with more gold at end of the season. Amidst medical emergencies, a $200,000 mistake made by his wife Minnie, the accusation of sabotage by Parker, and the struggle to get his dredge to Dawson before the river froze because of the changing of the season, he managed to end up with close to 4,000 ounces of gold at his Eureka Creek claim, valued at about $4.5 million. However, he still lost the bet since it was no way near the $7.5 million worth of gold that Parker had, but his crew was ecstatic as it was their biggest take since they joined the TV show.

Highest employee turnover rate

Not all of his seasons in the TV show were great, and there were times he finished with mediocre results, but he always bounced back from disappointments and failures. It was also unfortunate that he had the highest employee turnover rate; while it was great that he continued hiring local laborers to be part of the show, some of them couldn’t tolerate his heavy use of expletives, and found him a very hard taskmaster. He could be quite difficult and stubborn most of the time, but even his children weren’t spared his attitude. Some fans thought that it was one of the reasons why he just couldn’t win against Parker each season.

Controversial Viking Baptism Scene – Joke Gone Bad

Tony landed in hot water when one of his contract welders, Marc Favron, poured one to one-and-a-half gallons of gasoline in the dredge pond located at one of Tony’s claims somewhere in the Indian River, and set it on fire just to create a Viking baptism scene.

In the video clip, it seemed that he approved of the whole stunt, as he was there looking at it when it happened. They all believed that the Viking Baptism could help change their luck, as they underwent too many obstacles in mining gold.

While it was only aired in 2015, the scene was filmed in October 2014. Two charges were filed against him, his company, and his employees, the first for depositing waste in a water management area, and the second charge for failing to report it to an inspector – they violated the Yukon Water Act and Marc pleaded guilty, paying the fines which were a little over $1000 that the local government imposed. However, the lawyers of Tamarack Inc. appealed that the company wasn’t responsible for what happened, as the court was asking for them to pay more than $30,000 as part of the penalty. Tony said in an interview that he should have stopped it from happening, since he was responsible for his crew.

Tony Beets

He also said, ‘Next time, don’t go there. It’s kind of a joke gone bad, right?’

Generally, the fans of “Gold Rush” initially thought that it was just some special effects to make the show more interesting, most not knowing that it was for real. They only found out about the lawsuit when it was reported in the news that they were found guilty of violating the Yukon Water Act.

Interesting facts and rumors about Tony Beets

Allegations of being scripted were levelled against “Gold Rush”, due to overdramatized scenes in some of the episodes, and sometimes fans felt that the narrative of the struggles along with the fights was too contrived. However, the stories surrounding Tony on and off-season were quite real, and here are just some of them:

  • Back in the Netherlands, he earned the nickname “Tony Peep”, not because he was a Peeping Tom but because he was often bleeped out in the TV show. It was a play on words, as the editors had a hard time editing him. Most of his lines ended up on the chopping board, so they resorted to bleeping him out to make the conversations more natural.
  • Fans of “Gold Rush” were surprised to learn that Tony and his family weren’t permanently living in Dawson City; they stayed in Arizona during the off-season.
  • Tony never liked to mince words regardless of time and place, so fans thought he just announced that his daughter was pregnant in one of the episodes aired back in August 2021. Monica’s part of his crew in “Gold Rush”, and had been mining since she was a child. She met her husband, Taylor Miles, while mining for her father. Taylor was already working for Tony when she started dating him, and they were married in 2018.
  • Tony was rumored to have uttered the words, ‘Be careful of my granddaughter,’ when Monica was shown operating one of the heavy pieces of machinery. While the TV show never expounded on the subject, viewers were quick to notice the subtle reminder, and on Twitter it was debated if she’s pregnant or not. Some of them said that it was nice to see the other side of Tony, while others said that Tony and Monica wouldn’t expose the child to danger if she was really pregnant. There’s no official announcement about it, and some fans just shrugged it off as it wasn’t the first time she was rumored to be ‘on the way’.
  • The only person who could get through to Tony when he was in a foul mood was his wife; people turned to her if they wanted to make the veteran gold miner listen to them. She admitted in an interview that her husband could be quite intimidating, and would often spew curses especially when frustrated or pressured. Tony didn’t take shit excuses from anyone, and would expect so much from his employees since he had high expectations of himself.

How much is Tony Beets’ net worth?

Authoritative sources estimated Tony to have a net worth estimated at $15 million as of October 2021. He was said to have been a multi-millionaire before he became a reality-TV star, and was one of the most successful gold miners in Yukon. He bought a dredge just to expand his options in mining for more gold. Due to his interesting personality, he was hired by Discovery Channel to star in several “Gold Rush” spin-off series, including “Gold Rush: South America,” “Gold Rush: Pay Dirt,” “Gold Fever,” and “Gold Rush: Legends.”

Where is Tony Beets now?

The 12th season of “Gold Rush” was back on TV in September 2021, and during the press junket, Tony said that his new goal for the latest season was to mine 9,000 ounces of gold. To help him achieve this goal, he reopened his Indian River operation using $5 million worth of new heavy machinery. He would also continue working on his Paradise Hill claim, but this time he planned to do it 24/7 non-stop. However, his main problem was that he has no water license on the Indian River, and he didn’t want to risk the ire of the government just like as happened in the Viking Baptism issue.

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