Rick Ness is a gold miner, former musician, and reality TV star who rose to fame on the Discovery Channel’s hit show Gold Rush. He started his mining career as a rookie on Parker Schnabel’s crew, but soon proved himself as a skilled and reliable operator. After six seasons with Parker, he decided to branch out on his own and lead his own team of miners in the Klondike. Rick is known for his adventurous spirit, his loyalty to his friends and his passion for music. He played bass guitar in a band called .357 String Band. Rick is always looking for new challenges and opportunities to strike it rich in the gold fields.
Rick was born on March 5, 1981, in Michigan, where he grew up in a family that owned a construction company. He learned how to operate heavy machinery from a young age, alongside his twin brother Randy. Rick was also passionate about football and music, and he excelled at both in high school. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1999 and went on to play college football until a head injury ended his career.
After his sports career ended, Rick turned to music as his new outlet. He moved to Milwaukee with his mother Judy in 2003 and became a band member of .357 String Band, which was officially formed in 2004. On how Rick came to join the music band, he said,
” I must have been 22 or 23 years old. I went to a concert to see a different band. But this other band was opening up. Their bass was terrible…I mean absolutely awful. So I approached them after the show. And asked them to give me a shot. And that’s how I ended up in the band. That was around 2003.”
He played upright bass and toured around the world with the band. The band released three albums – 2006’s Ghost Town, 2008’s Fire & Hail and 2010’s Lightning From The North – before splitting up in 2011. Rick then decided to try something completely different: mining for gold in Alaska.
Rick met Parker Schnabel, the star of Gold Rush, at a music festival in 2006. He was with his band at the Southeast Alaskan State Fair. Although no previous experience in mining Rick expressed interest in working with Parker. The only thing that could relate him to mining was his experience of running heavy machinery in his family-owned construction company while in Escanaba.
Surprisingly Parker called him nine months later. Rick accepted the offer and flew to Alaska with only 12 days’ notice. He started as a rookie but soon proved himself to be a valuable member of Parker’s team. He operated various machines such as rock trucks, excavators, loaders, and graders.
With the ability to handle crew and work under pressure, let alone his skills with heavy equipment, Rick was ambitious to go further than just a mere crew. No surprise, he became Parker’s right-hand man and foreman.
Gold Rush Journey
Rick Ness joined Gold Rush as a member of Parker Schnabel’s crew in season 3. He was a rock truck driver and an excavator operator for Parker. He proved himself to be a loyal and hardworking miner, who often took risks and pushed himself to the limit. He also became friends with Parker and his grandfather John Schnabel. Rick Ness was promoted to Parker Schnabel’s foreman in Season 5 of Gold Rush. He worked as Parker’s foreman until the end of Season 8, when he decided to start his own mining operation.
Setting on his won
Rick Ness was ready for a change. After working for six years as Parker Schnabel’s right-hand man, he decided to branch out on his own and start his own mining operation. He had learned a lot from Parker, but he also wanted to prove himself as a mine boss and leader.
He gathered a crew of greenhorns, some of whom were his friends from his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He also recruited a Gold Rush veteran and former member of team Hoffman, Freddy Dodge, to help him set up his wash plant and find the best pay dirt. Rick had a lot of confidence in his crew, but he also knew they had a steep learning curve ahead of them.
Rick leased a claim at Duncan Creek, a historic mining area in the Yukon. He hoped to find enough gold there to pay off his debts and make a profit. He also wanted to honor his mother, who had passed away from brain cancer. Rick had inherited her house, but he hadn’t been there since her funeral. He felt guilty for leaving it behind, but he also felt that mining was his way of coping with his grief.
Rick faced many challenges and setbacks in his first season as a mine boss. He had to deal with mechanical breakdowns, bad weather, low morale, and personal issues. He also had to compete with Parker and Tony Beets, who were mining on nearby claims. Rick often felt overwhelmed and stressed out by the pressure of running his own operation.
But Rick also had some successes and discoveries along the way. He opened a new cut called the Shamrock Cut with the help of his father, Rick Senior, who came to visit him. He found some big nuggets and coarse gold that made him excited. He also bonded with his crew and learned to trust them more. He realized that he was not alone in his journey, and that he had people who cared about him and supported him.
Rick’s other TV appearances
Besides Gold Rush, Rick has also appeared on other TV shows related to mining or adventure. He participated in Gold Rush: Parker’s Trail fro 2017-2018, a spin-off series that followed Parker Schnabel and his crew as they explored mining sites around the world. Rick joined Parker in Papua New Guinea and Guyana for two seasons.
Rick appeared on Gold Rush: The Dirt from 2013-2022, a talk show that featured interviews and behind-the-scenes footage from Gold Rush. Rick shared his stories and opinions on various topics related to mining and the show.
In 2021, Rick was featured in Gold Rush: Winter’s Fortune, another spin-off series that followed some of the Gold Rush miners as they prepared for the next mining season during winter. Rick showed how he repaired his equipment and planned his strategy for the upcoming season.
As of 2023, Rick Ness has an estimated net worth of $3 million, which he earned mostly from his gold mining ventures and his TV appearances.
Rick Ness Family: Father, Mother died of cancer and twin brother
Rick Ness is the son of Richard Ness Sr. and Judy Marie Bedard. He shares his birthday March 5, 1981, with his twin brother Randy Ness. Randy is a mechanic and works in the family construction company. His grandfather Roy Ness formed Roy Ness Contracting and Sales Inc in Michigan, Escanaba.
Rick’s father and mother divorced years ago. Judy moved to the Rhinelander area, Michigan in 2003. Thereafter Rick also made his home in Michigan with his mother. She ran a sandwich shop named “Subby’s” on Brown Street. In 2006 she joined the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department as a secretary and for a short time as a corrections officer.
Rick’s mother, Judy suffered from cancer and eventually lost the battle. She died at the untimely age of 55, on March 20, 2018. Rick was with her during the time of passing.
Is Rick Ness married or dating a girlfriend?
Rick Ness is currently unmarried however his brother of the same age Randy is married to Jen Ness and extends the family line with children. Even though Rick is not married that does not mean he is leading a single life. Let’s take a dive into his relationship to find out about his girlfriend.
Rick Ness and Leese Marie: A Rocky Romance
Rick Ness is also known for his love life, which has been featured on the show and on social media. His girlfriend is Leese Marie, a former nurse from Wisconsin who currently lives in Arizona. She also joined him on Gold Rush in 2021. However, their relationship has been anything but smooth, as they have gone through several breakups and reconciliations.
How did they meet?
Rick Ness and Leese Marie met through social media in 2019. Rick was impressed by Leese’s photos and videos on Instagram and TikTok. He reached out to her and they started chatting online. They soon developed a connection and decided to meet in person.
Leese flew to Alaska to visit Rick, who was filming for Gold Rush at the time. They hit it off and became a couple. They also got engaged shortly after, as Leese showed off a ring on her finger in some of her posts.
What happened to their relationship?
Rick Ness and Leese Marie seemed to be happy together, as they shared their love and adventures on social media. They also appeared on Gold Rush together in 2021, where Leese helped Rick with his mining operation.
However, things took a turn for the worse when Leese accused Rick of cheating on her multiple times. In November 2022, she announced their breakup on TikTok, where she posted a video of herself crying and wrote that she was dead inside.
Rick did not comment on the allegations, but he did post a cryptic message on his Instagram story, saying that he was going through a tough time and asking for privacy.
Are they back together?
Despite their bitter split, Rick Ness and Leese Marie seemed to have reconciled in 2023. In January 2023, Rick posted a photo of them together on his Facebook page, wishing his fans a happy new year. He also wrote that they were leaving 2022 behind them in the dust, carrying nothing from it with them except for lessons learned. According to a Reddit user who follows her, she said that she was giving Rick one last chance.
Do they have any kids?
Rick Ness and Leese Marie do not have any kids together, but Leese has a son from a previous relationship. His name is Jaxson. Leese often posts about him on her social media pages, calling him her pride and joy.
Rick seems to have a good relationship with Jaxson as well. He has visited them in Arizona and spent time with them. He also wished Jaxson a happy birthday on his Facebook page in February 2023.
More about Rick Ness
Other than gold mining, Rick lives his life like a normal person seeking pleasure in the smallest things. He likes to live an adventurous life and enjoys motorbike riding. He is also “Tattoo Headed” and has inked different places in his body.
Date of birth
March 5, 1981
42 years old
Place of birth
6 feet 1 inch
Escanaba Area High School, college degree (unknown)
Gold miner, Reality TV star, Former Musician
Started in 2011, worked with Parker Schnabel for six years, and became a mine boss in 2018
.357 String Band
Bass guitar, vocals
Ghost Town (2006), Fire & Hail (2008), Lightning From The North (2010)
Americana, bluegrass, country punk
Started in 2011, worked with Parker Schnabel for six years, became a mine boss in 2018
His friends from Milwaukee and his father Big Rick