Fred Hurt - Gold Rush Alaska - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Fred Hurt - Gold Rush Alaska

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Panning for gold in Alaska seems like an unlikely storyline for a reality TV show, but for one North Dakotan, that's exactly what it has become.

Emily Medalen has the story of Dakota Fred and his rush to fame on cable TV.

"Gold Rush: Alaska" has been a hit reality TV series on Discovery Channel since it began 4 seasons ago - and one of the main personalities lives right here in Minot.

10 years ago, Fred Hurt decided to quit his job as a construction worker, sell everything, and mine for gold in Alaska.

He had little knowledge in the area, but he says that construction is similar so he picked up on it quickly.

(Fred Hurt, Gold Rush: Alaska) "I was fairly experienced. I learned it from listening and watching other people do it, and actually, working and going from the construction business into the mining business was just the easiest step in the world."

Fred didn't plan to do reality TV when he took off, but he ended up working with a crew that was being filmed, and it just stuck.

At 70 years old, Fred says that the process is a lot more difficult than it seems when watching it on TV.

(Fred Hurt, Gold Rush: Alaska) "It's hard work. If you ever wanted to go gold mining, if you're lazy, forget it. You will not succeed. It is a difficult, hard job. It's repetitive, it's difficult; more than probably most jobs you would ever do."

So what goes into gold mining?

There's speculation that any kind of job like this tears up the earth.

But according to Hurt, this isn't the case.

(Fred Hurt, Gold Rush: Alaska) "I dig it up, I take the minerals out of the earth - usable minerals - and I put the earth back the way it was."

A co-worker outside of the mining business says that reality TV can sometimes get into peoples' heads, but that Fred is the same down to earth person she's always known.

(Jo Khalifa, Co-Worker in North Dakota) "It's a TV show. And he is a real person. And he's not mean. He's just a humble, very nice, genuine individual."

Spending 6 months of the year away from your family mining gold probably doesn't sound like the ideal situation for most people, especially Fred's age, but he say's it's all about the adventure.

(Fred Hurt, Gold Rush: Alaska) "More importantly than getting the gold actually, was the incredible fun adventure time that we had doing that."

And it doesn't look like these adventures will be ending any time soon for the crew.

Emily Medalen, KX News.

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