Are we going to see another heroic rescue of a boat in danger on this upcoming season of Bering Sea Gold? According to the Nome Nugget, the longest running newspaper in Nome, Alaska, we might see one of our favorite miners lend a hand to a ship in serious trouble.
This past summer a skiff flipped over while trying to pull a gold mining excavator barge (not the Christine Rose) into the safety of harbor after the wind kicked up the surf, creating dangerous conditions on the Bering Sea. The barge had spuds that would have allowed it to raise the platform up higher than the waves, but due to the severity of the waves and wind,, the owners of the barge, NOGC, decided to bring it into the harbor where it would be safer. Unfortunately, the skiff War Pony that was towing the barge overturned when their tow line recoiled, sending the only person onboard into the Bering Sea. Thankfully, a nearby secondary support boat rescued the captain from the treacherous waters quickly. Cold and wet, and a little shaken, he was physically unharmed.
The beach was crowded with spectators watching the action happening out in the water. A second boat came rushing out of the small boat harbor to lend a hand captained by none other than Shawn Pomrenke.
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Back at harbor, the rescued crew was reported safe. Ultimately, the barge owners lowered their spuds to raise the deck out of the waves, leaving it on the Bering Sea and praying it survived the storm.
Despite Shawn’s and others’ valiant efforts to right the overturned skiff and return it to harbor, the rough seas proved too dangerous to complete the task.
This begs the question - is Shawn Pomrenke actually a superhero?
Rough Beginnings for Shawn
Shawn has been a fan favorite from the very beginning of Bering Sea Gold and has come a long way since we first met him way back in 2012 on the hit show. Like many superheroes, Shawn is a flawed human with a less than perfect past.
According to Shawn, he has been gold mining since he was 14 years old, when his dad, Steve Pomrenke, moved their family from Minnesota to Nome, Alaska. Shawn has stated in interviews that he caught the gold bug as soon as he saw his first flake and never wanted to do anything else. He spent his summers mining with his dad at Triple Creek and learning how to be a mechanic. In the 90s, Steve was the only mechanic in Nome who worked on the diesel engines and mining equipment, so Shawn shadowed him to learn everything he could.
Viewers often wondered why there was so much animosity between Shawn and Steve, especially in earlier seasons. In reality, there was a lot going on behind the scenes that was never directly mentioned or shown on the show. Viewers only saw the aftermath of family drama and hard feelings between the two.
In season one, Shawn was stabbed in the back during a bar fight and taken to the hospital for a few days. Offscreen, and never openly discussed on the show was the fact that Shawn had been cited for multiple DUIs, all within a few years of each other. Shawn last found himself on the wrong side of the law in 2013.
In season three, when Steve screamed at Shawn for being a screw up, many fans felt confused because they only saw Shawn working hard to support his family and gain the respect of his father. There was always an undercurrent of anger from Steve towards Shawn that was never really explained. The legal issues that Shawn was facing from his past indiscretions might explain why Steve struggled to trust his son to run the family business.
The Pomrenke Dynasty
Long before the show, Steve Pomrenke was already a well respected miner and mechanic in Nome. Going to Alaska as a mechanic for a friend of his in 1986, Steve panned his first gold in Anvil Creek. And like his son would 4 years later, Steve was hit hard with Gold Fever. He started mining full-time in 1992 with Shawn by his side. Steve built up a solid reputation as a good businessman and a great miner, with strong morals and a clean record. In 2003, he was recognized by the Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys for outstanding reclamation of six years of placer operations on Triple Creek. Steve left big shoes to fill, and with his run-ins with the law, Shawn was not living up to his father’s expectations. In the first few seasons of Bering Sea Gold, it was clear to viewers that Shawn was struggling hard to gain his fathers approval and acceptance. A struggle that has lessened as the years passed but is not entirely gone.
Like any good superhero origin story, we watched as Shawn became more confident in his abilities and what he brought to the family business. He even rescued his father when Steve kept the Christine Rose out during rough weather, causing a winch to break free of the deck and leaving the spud stuck in a down-position.. He was consistently on the gold and pulling in amounts that were astounding to watch. This was when Mr. Gold was born.
Through the years, there has been a subtle shift in Shawn:from a rowdy guy who liked to party to a serious miner, business owner and family man. There have been numerous times in the past 14 seasons where Shawn has made it a point to spend time with his kids, even bringing them to work with him on occasion.
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It still hasn’t always been an easy road for Shawn, particularly when it comes to his relationship with his father. Their relationship seemed to be getting better as Shawn took on more responsibility on the Christine Rose while Steve went back to his first love, inland mining. Shawn even helped raise the money for the inland mining operation with record breaking hauls. But their relationship progress came to a screeching halt when Shawn trusted the wrong business partners and almost lost everything.
Shawn Almost Loses it All
Despite reservations from his father, Shawn took on new business partners to fund the Mega Dredge. The business partnership went south and all their assets, including the Christine Rose, were in legal limbo, waiting to be sold. After some legal maneuvering, Shawn was able to buy back the Christine Rose and his equipment under a new business name Northwest Gold Diggers.
Yet another tick in the superhero column, a great redemption story while overcoming great adversity.
Is it possible that Mr. Gold is really a superhero? Let’s recap:
He is often at the right place at the right time, swooping in to save the day or fill the box with color. He has near-super human ability to find the gold and stay on it, and he pulls in an extraordinary amount of gold each season. Even without superpowers, he sure has become one hell of a good guy and an amazing miner. We cannot wait to see what he does next season.
But on the off chance that he is a superhero…don’t worry, Mr. Gold; your secret is safe with us!