Dave Turin made a name for himself as a knowledgeable and dedicated gold miner during his six years on Discovery’s Gold Rush, the hit reality show that follows a cast of eager gold hunters who are hoping to strike big. Dave, also known as “Dozer Dave” due to his skills using a bulldozer, appeared on Gold Rush for the last time during its seventh season — a season that was emotionally tumultuous for him. He told People in October 2016 before the season aired that his work family basically fell apart. “You’ll see some difficult things … You’ll see some apologies and I’m one of the guys that’s involved in that and I had to examine my own self. I had to question my own motives and thoughts.” It turns out his self-reflection led him to leave the show, but he didn’t stay off of television screens for long.
In 2019, Dave premiered his own Discovery show called Gold Rush: Dave Turin’s Lost Mine, in which he leads expeditions and helps to revive abandoned mines with the hope of finding some left over gold. While we know Dave lives and breathes all things gold, there’s still a lot to learn about the Oregon native. Keep scrolling to learn about the untold truth of Gold Rush‘s Dave Turin.
Mining gold was not always in Dave Turin's career plan
Dave Turin wasn’t always a gold miner, but he had been in the mining business for quite some time before he found himself on reality television. His father, Jim Turin, bought an asphalt company in the 1980s and then purchased its neighboring quarry business a few years later, per a 2018 interview with Volvo. Since then, the business, named Mt. Hood Rock, has grown into a large supplier of “high-quality construction materials” and is still run by the Turin family in Brightwood, Ore.
While Dave was well-educated in the quarry business, he actually left home to study to become an engineer at Portland State University, per the Democrat-Herald. However, he had some poor luck landing a job after college and decided to return home. “That’s when the rock quarry we had an asphalt plant set up in came up for sale. I told my family I would manage it. That’s how I got my start in mining,” he told Hollywood Soapbox in 2016. Plus, he admitted to Volvo that he wasn’t sure if he could “sit in an office and design things” after being so used to working outside with his hands.
While mining and digging for gold is clearly his passion, Dave’s reality television fame has allowed him to make a living in other ways as well.
Dave Turin doesn't just mine for a living
Since appearing on Gold Rush in 2011, Dave Turin’s career has become multi-faceted. He’s not only a quarry manager and miner, but Dave is a reality television star and public speaker in his own right. In 2012, while he was still a fairly fresh-faced reality star, he appeared as himself in a movie documentary for television called Do or Die, per IMDb. Dave also appeared in four episodes of a television miniseries documentary called Gold Fever in 2013 and a television documentary movie named Gold Rush: The Legend of Porcupine Creek in 2020. Plus, he appeared in Gold Rush spin-offs Gold Rush: South America and Gold Rush: The Dirt, among other things.
On top of being a seasoned reality star, Dave has taken a swing at public speaking. According to his official site, he has received rave reviews following his speaking jobs. According to Bill Rosener, executive vice president at the Asphalt Paving Association of Iowa, Dave’s “popularity as a Gold Rush TV Star was overshadowed by his genuine, caring nature and his willingness to talk to the men and women of our industry as an equal.” Even if Dave has troubles finding gold, it looks like he at least got a gold star with his public speaking endeavors.
Dave Turin does not mess around during mining season
Dave Turin knows what is on the line when he goes on the hunt for gold, so prior to every mining season, Dave makes sure he is well prepared. “Before the new mining season I’m thinking about logistics, how will we get all of our equipment, people, and fuel to the mine site. It does take a lot of energy, and we have team meetings to get everyone excited about the new mining season,” he told Hollywood Soapbox in 2016. He added that it’s best to be optimistic as a gold miner because “there is so many things that go wrong.”
Despite the optimism, Dave admitted that his industry is super stressful. “With such large machines and the tremendous amount of pressure, it makes for a stressful workplace.” Plus, he said his job is super competitive because “all the placer gold miners are trying to find the best ground and lock it up.” Go for the gold or go home, right?
Mining is not for the weak, according to Dave Turin
Dave Turin has been very upfront about how difficult his job is. In a 2013 interview with Discovery Netherlands, the mining star detailed just what it takes to be a hardcore gold miner like himself. “To be a gold miner anywhere, it’s a tough job. You have to have thick skin, you have to be resilient, you have to persevere because you overcome so many obstacles. There’s things you cannot foresee and they jump up and they hit you like a two-by-four alongside the head,” he warned. “So you have to be able to adjust, you have to be flexible. It’s not an easy job. I wouldn’t advise people to do it unless they’ve got a lot of money and a lot of heart.”
However, the spontaneity and stress of mining isn’t what’s most difficult for Dave — it’s being away from his family.
Family is important to Dave Turin
According to Dave Turin, being away from his family for work is extremely taxing. “All the easy gold on this planet has been discovered and recovered. The only profitable gold is in harsh, difficult places to live, so that’s where we have to go. And it’s hard on family life,” he admitted to Hollywood Soapbox.
Dave married his high school sweetheart, Shelly, per Heavy. Together, they share three kids and two grandchildren. With one glance at Dave’s Instagram, one can understand that he is a huge family man, as his page is dotted with sweet pictures of his wife, kids, and grandkids. In January 2021, the pro gold miner posted a photo of himself and his wife posing with another couple on a golf course. The caption shows that he definitely does not take life too seriously when he is not on the hunt for gold and enjoys loosening up with his loved ones. “Golfing in January doesn’t get any better than this. Gold and golf are both four letter words, I love and hate them both,” he joked.
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