Fatherhood According to the Cast of Bering Sea Gold

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Written By Monica

Bering Sea Gold is more than a show about adventurous people taking risks to mine for gold under the Bering Sea in dangerous conditions. At its very heart, it’s about families, legacies and the bonds that hold them together, even when it comes to gold. Most of the miners on the show have their families working them or helping out time to time. This Fathers Day we wanted to take a look at fatherhood according to the cast of Bering Sea Gold. We found a lot of dysfunction along with some fatherly love mixed in, at times. 


Steve Pomrenke and Shawn Pomrenke

It’s no secret to anyone who has watched Bering Sea Gold that Steve Pomrenke and his son, Shawn have a rocky relationship. From the very first season these two have been butting heads. The only seasons they don’t lock horns in when Steve retired for a few years and wasn’t in Nome. 

It’s obvious that Shawn wants Steve’s approval which is hard to come by, especially in the earlier seasons. Shawn has grown a lot over the years and worked his butt off to prove to his dad he can handle the family business. 

Steve Pomrenke Shawn Pomrenke Gold Divers
Shawn Pomrenke and Steve Pomrenke from Bering Sea Gold


When Steve’s own father, Wally Pomrenke, comes to visit for father’s day, Steve talks about how he and his own father couldn’t work together. The realization downs on him that maybe he’s not so different from his dad in the way he treats Shawn. Does this mean Steve is going to ease up on Shawn now? 

Nope, even though he might have made the realization that he’d been hard on Shawn his whole life it still didn’t change things much, especially, when he wanted to cut Shawn out of the inland mining operation that Shawn had mostly funded.

Shawn had every reason to be hurt and Steve knew it, giving Shawn the closest thing to an apology Shawn would get out of his gruff old man.

Steve Pomrenke is definitely a tough love kind of father, though he does tell Shawn he’s proud of him and loves him at times, particularly when Shawn brings him big piles of gold. 

Steve Pomrenke genuinely wants his son to succeed and despite their blow outs with each other, there is a genuine sense of caring there. Steve might not be the most compassionate father but you can tell he’s doing the best he can and is proud of Shawn. His anger appears to be more frustration than anything. Steve has never gotten into any trouble with the law, unlike his son. His anger stems from the fact that Shawn isn’t more like him in that regard. Steve shows a much more patient side when it comes to his grandkids, as we’ve seen on the show. 

Even though all their fighting and screaming, this father son duo have built their gold empire together from the Bering Sea to inland mining. It’s a legacy that has even carried on to the next generation.

Shawn Pomrenke and Dylan Pomrenke   

Shawn has said many times before that growing up and working with his dad has always been challenging. From what Bering Sea Gold shows, Steve Pomrenke is a hard man to get a compliment out of when it comes to his son. Shawn has always looked like he was begging for his father’s approval which is why it’s no surprise that Shawn has vowed to do things differently when it came to his kids. 

Shawn Pomrenke has a few kids and he’s made it a point of taking time off to spend time with them or bring them out to the dredge. He’s a proud dad that has no problem telling his kids he loves them. 

Shawn Pomrenke's son Dylan
Shawn Pomrenke with son, Dylan Pomrenke


Dylan Pomrenke has appeared on the show at various times over the years. Hanging out with his dad on the dredge until eventually getting his own shot at being a diver on the High Roller. 

Word got back to Shawn that Dylan’s first dive didn’t go well, so Shawn took him down to a creek and give him a lesson on how to dive and dredge underwater. It was a sweet moment and allowed us to see how Shawn’s parenting tactics were a lot different from his father, Steve’s. 

It’s hard to imagine Steve ever being that patient with Shawn if he didn’t know how to do something. After all the fighting and struggling Shawn has had with his own relationship with his dad, it looks like he doesn’t want the same to happen with him and his own kids.

Vernon Adkison and Elaine Adkison

We haven’t seen as much between these two as we have other father and child duo’s but what we have seen leads us to believe Vernon came from the same parenting school as Steve Pomrenke.

Elaine came up to Nome as a cocky 21 year old who didn’t take mining nearly as serious as her father, which caused more than few clashes. 

Vernon even confesses to not really liking his daughter when they became teenagers, something a lot of parents can relate to. 

After sending her home a couple times due to her poor work ethic and attitude, Vernon keeps giving her chances. Last year she came back ready to prove to her dad that she could be a serious gold dredger. Vernon was really impressed with her new attitude and her ambition to be a captain one day. 

Vernon isn’t one to wear his heart on his sleeve but you can tell even with all the yelling he does, he has a soft spot for his little girl. 

Steve Riedel and Emily Riedel

Everyone knows Steve Riedel is an unconventional kind of guy, even when it comes to parenting. Out of the other fathers on this list, Steve is the only one that hasn’t given his kid a job. Quite the opposite, Emily has given her dad a few chances on her own dredge, the Eroica, with less than stellar results. 

These two have worked together  for Zeke and bickered like siblings more than father and daughter but there is no doubt that Steve loves his daughter and Emily loves her dad, even if they do get frustrated with each other.

On the show Steve is more of a hands off kind of parent which in well in line with his free spirit approach to life. Between the two of them, Emily definitely comes off as the more responsible one. 

They might not work together but they still show they love and care about each other.

When Steve breezes into to Nome to find a job while gold is at an all time high, he goes to Emily last because even though she loves her dad, it’s a long shot that she’ll hire him again. 

Even when Steve finally asks Emily for a job, we know she won’t give him one but she’s still considerate in how she lets him down.

These two might not have the most conventional father daughter relationship but it is one of the healthiest on the show. 

Brad Kelly and Kris and Andy Kelly

Out of the entire cast of Bering Sea Gold, the Kelly are the most dysfunctional and yet through all the brawling and bust ups, they always end up back together. 

No one except, maybe, Brad would ever claim he was a good dad. He had first son, Kris when he was only 16 so him and his boys grew up more like brothers than father and sons. 

Brad has stolen gold from his sons, made them do all the work while he collected 50% of their profits on top of what he’d stolen and played his sons against each other numerous times. It’s not that Brad doesn’t love his sons, he does, but he seems to love himself a lot more.

When he started a new family in Nome, he kicked Kris out to make room for the new baby. Kris has left a few times and struck out on his own, sometimes with brother Andy joining him but no matter how angry the boys get at their father, they can’t help but go back. 

Brad got Kris to come back to work for him with the promise of gold rich claims that turned out to be acres of sand. Brad and Kris came to blows over that resulting in Brad leaving Kris to walk over 30 miles back to Nome. 

Even that didn’t keep Kris from showing up for work the next day on the Reaper. No matter what happens, no one can deny the loyalty the Kelly’s have for one another. While the viewers at home might not understand it, Kris and Andy love their dad and always have his back. But maybe Kris will finally strike out on his own when he has his new dredge

Kris Kelly and Christine Jade Kelly

The jury is still out on what kind of a father Kris is going to be as his little girl grows up but for what we’ve seen of him on the show, you can bet he won’t be anything like his own father, Brad Kelly. Kris has a temper but he also has a lot more of a compassionate side than we’ve seen from Brad Kelly. 

Regardless of what type of dad they are, it’s clear to see the Bering Sea Gold Dads and their kids have a lot of love and a lot of dysfunction between them. It makes sense because you have to be at least a little crazy to go gold dredging under the Bering Sea and pass that on to your offspring.

Happy Father’s Day!

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