'Gold Rush': Are Freddy Dodge and Juan Ibarra Friends Off the Screen?

‘Gold Rush’: Are Freddy Dodge and Juan Ibarra Friends Off the Screen?

Freddy Dodge and Juan Ibarra are two of the best in the “Gold Rush” business. Couple their knowledge of the industry with their efficient work style, and they can have anyone up and running. But are the two actually as good of friends offscreen as they seem to be when the cameras are rolling?

Both miners have been a part of the “Gold Rush” franchise for a number of years now. The two are also seen in the spinoff “Gold Rush: Freddy Dodge’s Mine Rescue.” They are known for coming in to amateur mining operations and helping them run more effectively. This usually also saves young miners tons of money.

And while Freddy usually leads the charge, Juan is always there helping to explain the process and supporting Freddy’s calls. The two “Gold Rush” stars opened up about working together throughout the years and if they get along off camera as well.

In speaking on their friendship, Dodge said during a December 2020 interview for “Josh Gates Tonight” on Facebook, “There’s nobody on this planet I’d rather work with than Juan. He’s good at what he does, and he’s a good person, and he knows his stuff.” 

Ibarra also echoed this sentiment, explaining that their friendship is indeed real. “To be able to work with such an accomplished person as Fred and to learn from him, you know I can’t think of any better way to be able to spend the Summer. You know, we travel around the country, help these folks out, and I’m learning day in day out from Fred. How he reads the ground, how he reads the sluice boxes.”

How ‘Gold Rush’ Stars Got Their Start

Further, Ibarra says that being able to work with Dodge on all these adventures is an “opportunity of a lifetime.” He adds, “I couldn’t think of a better person or a better mentor to teach me than Fred.”

Dodge also appeared in “Gold Rush” in the early seasons. He became a fan favorite and regular and was joined by Ibarra in season 6 of the series. In an interview with Discovery, Dodge shared the details about how he got his start on the show.

“Well, I came to be in the ‘Gold Rush’ family before it was a show,” Dodge explains. “The originator of the show got a hold of me, said he was going to go mining in Alaska, and asked for my help. And I said I’d be up there next summer, if I had a chance I’d swing by and look at it. And that’s how it all began.”

Likewise, Ibarra was already involved in mining, but he definitely started later in life than Dodge.

“I was in my late 20s before I really got involved with gold mining,” Ibarra shared. “I was more on the repair end of things. Instead of being out on the front lines actually mining, I was repairing the equipment.”