Sicamous native Bryson Dick struck gold last year when a job opportunity turned into a chance to be on a Discovery Channel TV show.
Dick ended up on the program, Bering Sea Gold, after having worked with popular prospecting YouTubers Pioneer Pauly and B.C.’s Dan Hurd. Both influencers pan for gold and go on other prospecting adventures on their channels. Dick said he got a lot of experience working with the two, although he gave all credit to the stars and said he was happy being along for the experience.
“Through working and being in their videos, I made a tiny bit of a name for myself in the mining community,” said Dick. “Just getting my name out there with them, I started getting emails from casting directors and producers for film companies trying to see if I was right to be on their show.”
Dick was cast to star in a gold mining show filmed in Greenland. However, as he was getting ready to go, he said he looked up how expensive things were there and decided against going.
“I still had the itch to go and film something and be on TV.”
In 2021, using a phone number he got from a friend in the industry, Dick called Kris Kelly, a gold miner on Discovery Channel’s Bering Sea Gold. The show follows Kelly and his crew as they navigate the ocean and the gold mining industry.
Dick told Kelly who he was and what experience he had, and he was hired to be a full-time night diver on the crew up in Alaska, starting in the summer of that year.
“Diving in the dark full-time is actually scary,” said Dick. “I started at about 10 p.m., diving for up to 10 or 12 hours at the bottom of the ocean by myself. I’m a trained diver with experience, but up there I found out I have to watch out for aggressive walruses, orca whales, salmon sharks, among other things.”
Luckily, soon after Dick arrived, a dredge excavator operator quit and Dick replaced him. He said he was happy to get out of the dangerous night diving job and operate the excavator, scooping up large amounts of dirt from the ocean floor and finding out if gold was hiding within. He also said it was fun operating the famous boat named The Mistress, which is featured in many scenes on the show in previous seasons.
Even when he got out of diving, Dick said the Alaskan landscape was dangerous and something he wasn’t used to.
“Anything that can kill you will kill you,” said Dick. “We’re just 175 kilometres from Siberia, so there’s a lot. Jellyfish can get sucked into the diving suits, and if you’re beach mining if the weather was bad, you’d have a spot and go back the next morning and there would be a 15-foot long-dead rotting walrus in the spot. Twenty minutes later there’s grizzly bears chewing on the walrus. Then there’s a giant muskox in the bush beside you.”
Despite the danger, Dick worked with Kelly and filmed the show for almost two months, returning home in August 2021. He ended up going back to briefly work with Vernon Adkison, another gold miner who has appeared on the show, and was involved in a conflict with Adkison that made it into an episode in season 15 of Bering Sea Gold.
“Getting back in August (of 2021) and then all the way until now, I didn’t know if I was going to be edited into the show or not, if they’d make me look good or stupid or like a villain or whatever,” said Dick. “That’s how TV is, but I’m pretty entertained by it. I’m in a few episodes.”
The fifteenth season of the show just became available in Canada on Monday, Jan. 2, but aired in the U.S. on Discovery Channel on Dec. 6, 2022.
Dick said he’s seen himself on the show, and was amused by how the editors portrayed him.
“They edited me in kind of funny, a clown like person, which is fine because I’m kind of like that. That’s kind of how I appear in the YouTube videos I was in before.”
He has already had offers to go back for ice diving season in the winter, and to do more barge operating in the summer, but said he hasn’t yet decided what he’ll do next.
Dick grew up in Sicamous and moved to Vancouver in 2015. After filming he lived in Kelown and, in September 2021, his house burned down. He currently lives in Vernon.