Rick worked under Parker — one of the most successful miners on the Discovery Channel series — for six years, but decided it was time to be his own boss. He broke the news to Parker (and viewers) on the episode "Mining With Monsters."
As expected, Parker was surprised but understood Rick's decision. "I owe you a lot man, like, I owe you a lot," Parker told Rick at the time. "I completely get it. If I were in your shoes, I'd be looking at doing the same exact thing, so it's hard for me to sit here and be mad."
So, why did Rick and Parker go their separate ways?
Parker and Rick met in Haines, Alaska before deciding to work together. However, after nearly seven years of friendship and working together, Rick decided it was time for a change.
"I feel like I’ve learned a lot in the last six or seven years that I’ve been doing this, but I don’t know anything about the business side," Rick said before making the jump. "There’s so much cost there and there’s so much risk there. I do well where I’m at, and you know, it would be a scary thing, quite honestly. It really would. Is it in the cards? I don’t know. Who knows?"
Parker also revealed that some troubles did come up following Rick's exit from his crew. "It was tough and it created quite the power vacuum," Parker told PopCulture. "Everyone has a different idea of how that needs to get filled. It caused a bit of turmoil, but ultimately, we have a very good group. And the crew was bigger than just Rick, it's bigger than just me. It's a solid crew that operates as a unit and we can handle some blows, you know? Rick leaving was a big one, but we can take that on, just another challenge for us to deal with, but that's business right?"
Rick risked losing his home and life savings for his own claim.
The decision to be the boss did not come easy for Rick, who cashed in his life savings to have his own crew. He recruited his Wisconsin buddies — who had no experience mining — to join his crew. Along with starting his own team, Rick was also dealing with the unexpected death of his mom.
"It was a crazy year for me," Rick explained to Channel Guide. "Obviously, I spent the beginning of the year with my mom until she passed, and then I really only had about two and a half weeks to plan for this season, where most of the time you’d want probably a year or more, so it was pretty much a frantic, just throwing stuff together, getting some people together, and just getting up there and then putting in the work and really just rolling with the punches and kind of flying by the seat of my pants all summer."
He continued, "The guys that I picked, I knew would be up for it. In my mind, I also thought that that was a bad idea, honestly, because I did have everything that I own on the line, and so I thought about just trying to put together a crew of people that had lots of experience, but ultimately, I’ve had a lot of success up there with mining, and I did have the confidence that I could hopefully make this work this year. I just didn’t feel like sharing that with strangers. I wanted to try and give that to my friends, as well. That’s ultimately how I made my decision."
It looks like Rick made the right call.
Plus, Parker and Rick are still friends.
As Parker explained on the show, he has no bad feelings toward Rick and they are still friends — despite being each other's competition. "I really respect and appreciate him for letting me know this now," Parker said on the show. "But what really makes me OK with this is that, you know, is that we can walk away as friends, and hopefully, we will be friends for the rest of our lives."
Watch Parker and Rick on Gold Rush on Fridays at 9 p.m. on The Discovery Channel.