MEET THE POMRENKE'S
NORTHWEST GOLD DIGGERS
Steve Pomrenke is one of the most successful gold miners in Nome, Alaska.
In 2010, Steve and his team scooped three million dollars in gold off the ocean floor.
Now, the Pomrenkes find they have to compete with other excavator operations, some run by billionaires. But no one has been able to compete with his crew's gold-finding skills.
Steve grew up on a dairy farm in Minnesota, became and mechanic, and then, in the 1990s, owned his own open pit gold mining operations.
Gruff and no-nonsense, Steve drives his dredging team -- especially his son, Shawn -- very hard. He and his wife Christine are trying to pass the torch on to Shawn, but they don't yet have full trust in the younger Pomrenke. A river miner at heart, Steve would love to mine inland and leave the Bering Sea to Shawn.
Shawn is the co-owner of the Christine Rose and Shamrock; two highline dredges that reign supreme in Nome.
He and his family are fixtures in town year-round, running their increasingly successful mining company. Shawn can be short-tempered and combative with his father, Steve (and anyone else, for that matter), as evidenced by an epic argument in the back of their tool trailer last summer.
Shawn just wants to provide for his family, and has devoted his life to mining, to the extent that he dropped out of school and had to finish teaching himself how to read. Beneath the rough and tough exterior, Shawn is a kind-hearted person.
A mining icon in Nome with a moniker ("Mr. Gold") to match, Shawn Pomrenke is gunning for a thousand-ounce summer season. Though would-be rivals chase him around the grounds, Shawn's most explosive battles are with his father over how to run the family business.