Reno native and small business owner Juan Ibarra is back to the daily grind of machine maintenance and plumbing after making his television debut Nov. 6 on Discovery Channel’s GOLD RUSH.
Ibarra, owner of Ibarra Drain Service, did machine maintenance for Todd Hoffman’s mining crew in the Canadian Yukon during the six months filming the show’s sixth season.
Response to his small-screen debut has been great, he said, and “funny.”
“A little different for sure.”
During a stop at the local Case equipment dealer where he’s done business for years, they asked him to autograph a newspaper clipping, he said.
Ibarra returned home about four weeks ago, just in time for the birth of his daughter, Addison Marie. His wife, Andrea, gave birth three days after his return.
His journey to TV started when his brother-in-law saw a Facebook post that mine boss Hoffman was looking for another person for his gold mining crew. Ibarra didn’t expect anything to come of it but applied anyway.
It helped that he had five years experience at several mines, both in Nevada and in central Alaska where Ibarra Drain Service provided rotating maintenance crews for a mine in that remote region.
To do the show, Ibarra put his local business on hold.
“It was difficult, but we made it work,” Ibarra said.
On GOLD RUSH the work was a lot more physical than his usual jobs, he said.
“On the show I was doing maintenance, a lot of repairs on heavy equipment, wash plant, processing plant. A really big scope of work,” he said. “And I operated equipment from time to time.
“I’ve never worked around a wash plant, a slush box, conveyers. It was a good learning experience.”
He said the guys he worked with on the show did ”amazing work” and made the job easier.
Ibarra encourages people to go after their dreams.
“I got hired on through social media,” said Ibarra, who is ready to do another season with the show if mine-boss Hoffman and the Discovery Channel want him back. “If you see something you want to do, go for it. You never know where you’re going to end up.”
GOLD RUSH follows three crews of miners pushing themselves to the limit to strike pay dirt.
The reality show is Discovery Channel’s number one-rated show. The season’s Oct. 16 two-hour premiere had 5 million viewers. It was the number one telecast for its time slot, according to a Discover Channel press release.
GOLD RUSH airs on the Discovery Channel on Fridays at 9 p.m.