Fred Hurt from Gold Rush: White Water (Photo: Discovery Channel)

About Fred Hurt
Age78 Years
BirthJuly 10, 1945 Minot, North Dakota
SpouseLorrayne Frances Leier,
Jennifer Sheets 2018-Present
ChildrenDarla Matlock, Shannon Hurt Rodrigue, Dustin Hurt
JobReality Star
TV ShowsGold Rush, Gold Rush: White Water

When “Dakota” Fred Hurt and his son, Dustin, left Gold Rush in season 4, we thought we’d never see the veteran miner on TV again. However, fans were ecstatic when Fred Hurt returned in 2018 with Gold Rush: White Water. And now, Dakota Fred and Dustin Hurt are looking for a fortune in Alaska’s McKinley River while Fred marries. Our Dakota Fred Hurt wiki has more on this bad-ass gold nugget miner.

He Was a Commercial Diver

Fred Hurt, who goes by “Dakota Fred,” was born on July 10, 1945. He is 80 years old and hails from Minot, North Dakota.

Also Read: Meet Jennifer Hurt, Wife of “Gold Rush White Water” Star Dakota Fred Hurt

The Hurt crew differs from the regular cast of Gold Rush in that they don’t rely on heavy machinery to dig gold on land. Instead, Hurt and his team look for the precious yellow metal in the deep, unforgiving waters of the Alaskan wilderness.

Initially starting his professional career in construction during the late ‘60s, Fred Hurt worked as a commercial diver in the oilfields of the Gulf of Mexico. There, he learned underwater construction, demolition, and salvage. He would later adapt those skills to underwater mining.

Hurt’s initial attempts at a mining career at Porcupine Creek and Caribou Creek weren’t successful. He went on to work in claims in Nevada, Wyoming, and Montana. He returned to Alaska in 2008, where he and his team extracted 600 ounces of gold from a Little Squaw Lake claim.

Unlike the other spin-offs of the franchise, Gold Rush: White Water will see Hurt and his son dive deep into McKinley Creek’s raging waters, where they believe there’s a fortune of gold in the river bed. They’ll use equipment to suck up the material and process it to get the gold.

Hurt’s mining business and reality show career have earned this gold-digger an estimated net worth of $6.0 million.

He Recently Married Jennifer Sheets

While Hurt was looking for gold in McKinley Creek, he also struck gold in his personal life. And in 2018, the miner tied the knot with Jennifer Sheets.

Posted by Jennifer Hurt on Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Fred Hurt’s bio claims that he’s been married for a collective four decades—and Sheets is his third wife! He was previously married to Lorrayne Frances Leier, who passed away in 2015.

Sheets studied to be a paramedic at Los Medanos College in California. And according to her Facebook, she worked as a camp cook for Raw TV, the Gold Rush production company, from May to October 2018.

She was also previously married. But her husband passed away in 2014 after battling hepatitis C, kidney failure, and diabetes.

Sheets frequently accompanies Hurt and his son on their mining adventures as Hurt’s executive assistant. In fact, she still cooks for his crew from time to time.

He Has Four Kids

Fred Hurt is a father to four children from his previous marriages. We’re familiar with Dustin Hurt, a contractor, wildland firefighter, and his father’s partner in crime. He costars in Gold Rush: White Water.

His other son is a pastor. He officiated Hurt’s wedding with Sheets.

Darla Matlock, the miner’s oldest daughter, was also present at the wedding. She currently resides in Texas and works in real estate.

His youngest daughter, Shannon Hurt Rodrigue, also resides in Texas with her husband, Gary Rodrigue.

Dakota Fred is so fit and active that it’s hard to believe he’s a septuagenarian with six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

He’s also stepfather to 26-year-old Zackary Sheets, his wife’s son from her previous relationship. A professional logger, Zackary Sheets was featured in the Discovery Channel show Siberian Cut. He now appears on Gold Rush with Fred and Dustin Hurt.

Also Read: Details of What Was Fred Hurt Doing in 2018?

His Left Leg Is Shorter

Without observing him closely, it’s impossible to notice that Dakota Fred has a deformity in his left leg. Hurt says his left leg is “bent, twisted, crooked, and shorter” by four inches, and he wears a two-inch lift inside his signature cowboy boots.

Little known fact….my left leg is bent, twisted, crooked, and shorter ……but other than that, there ain't nothing…

Posted by Dakota Fred on Sunday, November 27, 2016

But no one really knows how his leg got damaged. Over the years, Hurt has told some unbelievable stories about his foot that are not unlike many stereotypical “dad tales” about battle scars.

He shared one such too-good-to-be-true “story” about his foot on his Facebook, and it honestly sounds typical of Dakota Fred. The alleged incident happened when he was two years old while out on a picnic in South Louisiana with his parents.

Good Morning!OK, here's the 'story' of how my left leg got 4" shorter than my right leg.When I was 2 years old, (71…

Posted by Dakota Fred on Monday, November 28, 2016

While his parents’ eyes were off him for a moment, the toddler wandered to the edge of the bayou. That’s when a six-foot-long alligator supposedly lunged at him and grabbed his leg.

Fortunately, Hurt’s father fought off the alligator and rescued his son. But little Dakota Fred’s leg took a lot of damage. He supposedly spent a year in a hip-high cast until he recovered and could walk again.

Hurt was sure to tell the commenters on his story that he was “pulling [their] leg.” So, we might never know for sure what happened to the reality star’s leg, but we’d like to believe the alligator story.

He added a little disclaimer that reads, “The REAL story doesn’t matter. The important message is ‘How you deal with life’s adversities!’” And Dakota Fred is living up to his words.

Fred Hurt Diagnosed with Brain Cancer

In March 2023, Fred Hurt was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer. And shortly after, he released a statement in a news release from his production company, Thrill of the Hunt Entertainment.

Hurt said, “I’ve lived a full 80 years of an interesting life. If I emerge from this dark diagnosis, I’ll have another adventure to share with you folks.”

The type of brain cancer Hurt was diagnosed with has not been made public. But his production company has acknowledged that they are looking into treatment options for him.

Meanwhile, Hurt also confirmed the news of his diagnosis through a Facebook post on March 8 and said, “Yup, it is true.”

After a brief break from social media, the Gold Rush star talked to his fans on April 1, 2023, and said, “I know haven’t been very interactive on here lately. Thousands and thousands of you have responded to me about my diagnosis and have sent your support. The outpouring of support, prayers and blessings have impacted me incredibly. It’s hard to explain in a physical way but I can tell you that every single one of your well wishes have literally reached me, encouraged me and have provided strength and I thank you folks for that.”

He added, “I cannot explain how or why, but the positive connection I have to you has bounced back to me. What a powerful feeling!”

His wife posted an update about his treatment on April 11, 2023, and shared the mailing address for Hurt.  She also confirmed that he would be starting some treatment soon.

If anyone would like to give him an encouraging line or two, they can send them to him at:

“Dakota” Fred Hurt

P.O. Box 803

Glendale, OR 97442

However, Sheets clarified that they are NOT soliciting donations or gifts.

Also Read: Everything You Need to Know about Misty Raney from Homestead Rescue

 You can watch Gold Rush: White Water on Amazon Prime, fuboTV, and Discovery+.