Tim Evans leads a team of Tallapoosa County natives on the show, Bamazon. | J.D. Cowart

Archived Story

Locals mine for gold on History Channel’s new show Bamazon

Published 12:32pm Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A preview party, designed by local designers Tish Fuller and Phil Spraggins, was held in honor of the History Channel’s latest show, Bamazon, Monday evening in the remodeled Graves Building office space before the Christmas parade.

Bamazon features a team of Tallapoosa County natives led by real estate mogul Tim Evans as they mine for gold in the Amazon jungle in the South American country of Guyana. The cast includes Darryl Haynes, Chris Gamble, Clate McDaniel, Julius Reed, Chantz Meadows, Steve Hudson and John Wilson as Evans’ team.

The preview party captured the essence of the Amazon, complete with libations, plastic snakes and jungle inspired hors d’oeuvres prepared by Alexander City native Rebecca Bates. Partygoers were decked out in leopard print clothing, furs, boots and jungle inspired attire.

“There is a sweetness about our town, and the preview party coupled with the parade brought a lot of community together,” Fuller said. “Bamazon and Tim Evans are creating this incredible, positive attention for our local area, and we wanted to express our excitement. The party was absolutely fantastic.”

Evans said he was excited to share what viewers can expect out of the eight-episode first season.

“We were truly in a remote place,” Evans said. “I had been mining in Guyana and various parts of the Amazon for about four years, but I had never taken Americans down until this trip chronicled by the History Channel.”

A compound was built several months prior to filming to accommodate what would be a 52-person camp, including cast members, film crew and staff. Camp operations were managed by Benjamin Russell High School alumnus Joseph Berger, who also served as a translator and was instrumental in handling the flow of supplies into camp.

Evans said he fell into the mining business by accident. When the real estate market in Alabama declined in 2007, he leased pieces of his unused heavy equipment to an American businessman in Guyana. When the businessman fell ill, Evans proceeded to purchase his mining company, New River Holdings.

The History Channel heard about what Evans was doing and approached him. Their reality shows are more comparable to documentaries than actual reality shows.

“We didn’t change the way we did things just because they were filming,” Evans said. “What we did do for the History Channel was move to a pristine mining location. One of the most interesting aspects of working in the jungle is when you move from one place to another – the logistics of it all. Mining is not that interesting, but traveling through the jungle is.

“Nothing was staged or fake. All the camera men would say is ‘We are not here.”

Not only is Guyana the only English speaking country in South America, but according to Evans, it is also the friendliest.

“It is open for business,” Evans said. “The country has a lot of tax advantages and government incentives for companies that want to do business in South America. It was a natural fit for us. I encourage anyone with unique business opportunities to consider Guyana.”

One thing that Evans said he cannot emphasize enough is the natural beauty of Guyana.

“The Amazon jungle in that country is pristine and beautiful, unlike other areas in other countries that struggle with deforestation,” Evans said. “Many other TV shows about gold mining do not seem to care about the environment. Our company is licensed under sustaining mining policies. We reclaim every mine site by closing the pit and planting new trees. We make sure the vegetation regrows. Guyana polices their rainforest well. Remember that a rainforest grows 12 months out of the year. You replace the topsoil and three months later you cannot find the site.”

Evans would not give anything away, but he said the show is about courage and hope.

“My crew left their families and homes to travel here,” Evans said. “I introduced them to a great opportunity, but they worked hard and stepped out of their safety zones.

“You have to watch the show. We accomplished our goals. The first season is largely about finding the location, testing the site and finding the vein.”

Evans is in the process of putting together a second team to return to the jungle and is looking for able-bodied people who are not afraid of adventure.

“My challenge to locals is to watch the premiere, and if you want to go on one of my adventures, I will consider you,” Evans said.

To find out more about being part of the second team, send contact information to jobs@degeneral.com.

Bamazon premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. on The History Channel. Visit history.com for more information and videos regarding Bamazon.