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The BIG Secrets Behind Big Chief From Street Outlaws

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Discovery Channel’s “Street Outlaws” explored the world of supposedly illegal and unsanctioned practice of racing that was taking place on a public road. Justin “Big Chief” Shearer has been its central character, as he runs the 405 crew and organizes street races so drivers could earn bragging rights of being No.1 on Oklahoma’s Top 10 list. The reality television show has grown so big since it premiered on 10 June 2013, drawing interest from car enthusiasts and race fans not only in the US, but also across the globe. The landscape of the street racing scene has, in a sense, changed, and many people attributed this to Big Chief.

Meet Big Chief

Big Chief was born Justin Shearer on 9 December 1980, in Louisville, Kentucky USA, of Native American descent. It was his father who introduced the sport of car racing to him, having been a car racer himself. He has memories of working on racing cars with his father when he was quite young.

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Unfortunately, his father didn’t live long enough to see Big Chief’s exploits in the street racing scene.

His family moved to Oklahoma in 1992 – his mother went to nursing school and worked full time to raise him and his sibling on her own. He said, ‘She is the superhero that saved my life. I wish I could have seen it back then, I would have been a much better son.’

The lure of car racing brought Big Chief to ride his bike all the way to the Old Route 66 to watch street races, and he soon found himself participating. He recalled losing his first race to a kid driving a Chevy Beretta and said, ‘I vowed right then and there that I would have a car that a Beretta couldn’t outrun. And that’s how it all started.’

Doing something illegal such as street racing wasn’t something he set out to do, but it just turned out that way.

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People flocked to parking lots with their muscle cars, and mostly talked about the coolest and fastest car until one challenged another for a race. No one was in charge until Big Chief decided to organize it, and when it became apparent that he was adept at being the race master, more and more drivers joined them. They had a Top 10 list of the fastest street race car in Oklahoma. Once they could afford a trailer, they went to other towns to find street racers in the area, try to race and make some extra money.

His personal life

In 2006, Big Chief married Allicia Shearer whom he met when he was 18 while working at a gas station, and she became his best friend, but they divorced in 2017.  He admitted that all he ever cared about was that he got to drag race for a living, which meant that it cut out everything else including relationships. His two boys, CJ and Corbin, didn’t get the attention they deserved from him, as he’s ‘always chasing the next rush, that lower elapsed time…in chasing the money it takes to win the races at higher levels than I’ve ever competed in.’

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Big Chief knew it was unfair to his kids that he hadn’t grown up yet. He said that although they were his biggest fans and proudest supporters, there would come a time when he would regret chasing his ‘childish pipe dreams of being a professional race car driver’ instead of playing with his boys.

He’s grateful that his current girlfriend, Jackie, was also a racer. She came from a family of drag racers, and was in junior dragsters when she was eight, and had raced since then. In his Instagram post in June 2020, Big Chief greeted her on her birthday, writing ‘When your whole life is about racing, it’s hard to find time for anything else,’ and continued, ‘If you’re lucky enough to find your person, and spend every day chasing dreams together….you learn to appreciate the day she was born, even more than your own birthday.’

“Street Outlaws”

In the early 2000’s, Big Chief created an online site for all racers across the country called Midwest Street Cars in which they could talk about racing. The 405 crew believed themselves to be the ‘baddest street racers on the planet’ – one time, they put out a call to anyone interested to come and race the fastest person on the street for $10,000. Car enthusiasts such as Kyle from 123Video came to Oklahoma all the way from Nebraska to film the races, and upload them online – the videos went viral.

A TV producer from Hollywood found the site, and expressed interest in doing a show about street racing. Believing it was a sting operation, the Oklahomans rejected it. Months passed, and somehow the producer managed to convince Big Chief that it was the real deal, as the former said, ‘I just wanna come and film what you do.’ They had a screen test on 23 June 2012.

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The camera guy initially baulked at filming them once he realized it was a real street race, as he didn’t want take part in something illegal, even asking Big Chief what to do if cops showed up.

Discovery Channel gave the green light, and they began filming for season one. It took some adjustments at first as the production didn’t know how to shoot a street race, and the 405 crew didn’t know how to be on camera. Also, Big Chief said that they worked on their cars in secret so a producer came to ‘yell and scream’ at him and said, ‘No one’s gonna understand your passion, and what you do and why this is so important to you…if you’re not yourself.’ After that, they went ahead and did what they always do in street racing, and “Street Outlaws” was born.

Everyone believed they wouldn’t get past the first season, so they did everything they thought was cool at that time. They were surprised that the audience loved them, and they were renewed for another season, and before they knew it, they were the most-watched show on Discovery Channel.

Big Chief believed that the reason for their success was the human interest aspect of the show. Compared to other racing shows on TV, “Street Outlaws” wasn’t just focused on the cars and the racing itself, but also on the personalities of the drivers, giving the viewers someone to root for as they got to know them. Big Chief admitted to having a storyline for every episode that revolved around the races between top players, followed by those further down the list or those trying to get onto it. There would also be a feature on drivers goofing around or playing pranks.

As they reached a wider audience and rose in popularity, they received some flak from people, including those in the professional drag racing community, for glorifying something supposedly illegal and dangerous. Big Chief’s somewhat mocking response was that the 405 crew was just doing heads-up racing on a budget; they were only putting on the biggest tires and racing on the ‘shittiest road’ they could find, and then talking about how cool they were.

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Others couldn’t get their heads around the show being real, as the racers weren’t arrested by the police despite engaging in an illegal activity. Some said that since it was a TV show, the production must have gotten permits to film on the streets, but that the racing itself was real, and were all very competitive. Things have evolved to a point that they had upgraded their cars with so much horsepower, that one could end up in a ditch if he couldn’t control it.

“Street Outlaws” finished airing its 17th season in April 2021.

Things people might not know about Big Chief

Negotiator for Wide Open Throttle Team in “Pinks”

Before “Street Outlaws,” Big Chief appeared in SPEED Channel’s reality TV series “Pinks,” hosted by Rich Christensen. The series’ tagline, ‘Lose the race, lose your ride,’ meant that what’s at stake was the participant’s car should one lose; in other words, it was about ‘racing for pinks,’ hence the title.

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He was part of Oklahoma’s Wide Open Throttle Team, along with Jeff “AZN” Bonnett as the team captain, and David “Daddy Dave” Comstock as the driver of an ’89 Ford Mustang. As the negotiator, it was Big Chief’s job to check out the opponent’s car, to assess its capabilities, and work out the terms of the race to make it advantageous for their team. Some technical advisors would give their own assessment of what’s reasonable or not when it comes to deciding handicaps in the race. Daddy Dave won the best-of-five drag race against Brandon Somers of the Olympic Armor Coatings Team from Sequim, Washington; having won the loser’s car, they sold it back to the owner at a fair rate.

His first car was wrecked in a race

Big Chief was 16 when he got his first car, a 1972 Pontiac LeMans, which he drove it every day. He named it The Crow, and upgraded it over the years until it met its end when Big Chief raced against Brian “Chucky” Davis from Detroit for the show in 2015.

Brian’s Mustang crossed over the center line and hit the Pontiac’s quarter panel causing it to flip several times until it ended up in a ditch, with car parts strewn all over the place; the Mustang rolled over and ended on the grassy area. Both drivers were taken to a nearby medical facility – Big Chief shared on his Facebook page that he had a broken collarbone, crushed L2 and L3 vertebrae, and pulmonary contusions. He said, ‘Despite all the work we do to keep the car safe, all the preparation, sometimes all you can do is hold on tight and hope for the best.’ Regardless, in true racing spirit, based on where the Pontiac was tagged, it meant that Big Chief was winning and Brian acknowledged it.

Big Chief was heartbroken over his car, as he had great memories with it, from ‘learning to drive…finding lifelong friends and eventually starting a family…all the way to getting the TV show and starting a shop.’ It was his first love and first addiction. ‘There may be more after you, but you will always be the first,’ he added. His latest car is a 1969 Pontiac LeMans, which he’s called “The New Crow.”

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Big Chief vs Richard Rawlings

“Street Outlaws” and “Fast N’ Loud” were two of the biggest shows on Discovery Channel. In the first Mega Race in 2017, Big Chief’s 405 crew faced off against Richard Rawling’s Gas Monkey Garage (GMG) Team. Each team had to build a car from scratch for the race. The GMG’s fabricator, Aaron Kaufman, was the designated race car driver but when he resigned from the company, Richard called in National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Pro Stock Racer Alex Laughlin as the replacement, and his team came as well to build the race car. Big Chief admitted that what little respect he had for Richard and his guys before going into this race was gone, as he learned that Richard was cool with lying, cheating, and breaking the rules they’d agreed upon.

In the end, Alex, at the wheel of a 2015 Dodge Challenger with aluminum bullet dodge HEMI specialty, had a better elapsed time. However, Big Chief, who drove a 1970 Pontiac GTO with Pontiac 482ci V8, had a better reaction time and he crossed the finish line first, and so won the best-of-three race, held at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

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There was no money at stake, but Big Chief did what his team set out to do, which was to prove that ‘No matter how much money Richard spent, and no matter how many truckloads of experts he brought in, they still can’t compete with Midwest Street Cars.’

Big Chief and Kye Kelley rivalry

Kye Kelley had earned the reputation for being the fastest racer in New Orleans, so he was invited to race against Daddy Dave for “Street Outlaws”, and he lost to him in a tight finish in 2014. It got people talking, and soon he kept getting called out by the fastest in the country; the 405 crew invited him to Texas for a 16-car Cash Days race in 2015. This time, he won not only against Daddy Dave but also against Big Chief and James “Doc” Love, ultimately getting the $16,000 cash payout. Losing to Kye started the rivalry between them, with Big Chief admitting that Kye was a lot better on the street than he’d given him credit for. He said, ‘Every chance I could find him, I raced him, and he beat my ass every time.’ Winning races in Texas, New Orleans, and Oklahoma meant walking away with much of Big Chief’s money, so Kye even joked that he was thinking of quitting his job, and going to Oklahoma to race him.

In the spin-off series, “Street Outlaws: America’s List,” the Top 20 racers from across the US, particularly OKC, Memphis, NOLA, and Texas competed weekly for the No.1 spot to earn bragging rights of being the best in the country.In 2021, Big Chief finally beat Kye in a race, which was a big deal, even if it only meant moving to the No.2 spot on the list. Ryan Martin raced before them and he shared some data with Big Chief whom the latter put to good use, and ended up winning the race.

His net worth

Unlike professional drag racers who have sponsors, Big Chief and the rest of the 405 crew didn’t have one. The show did have advertising, and it allowed them to race on an affordable level. However, when it comes to their cars, they paid for the upgrades and everything they did on them. He also said that he gets to earn a bit of rent money when doing no-prep racing, on unprepared dirt tracks. Based on what he’s saying, it might have seemed that he’s not earning much, but according to authoritative sources, he has an estimated net worth of over $2 million, as of December 2021.

Big Chief announced the big change in “Street Outlaws” – they’re getting rid of “The List.” He said that the 405 was supposed to be the authority in street racing, but they realized they were not. Over the years, the List had somewhat lost its meaning for a myriad of reasons, including a driver refusing to race, or they didn’t race as well as they used to. Their goal for this new season was to regain their title as the fastest street racers in the country. There would be five race nights, with the match-ups determined by drawing chips, with everyone racing twice a night. Five drivers with the best record would head to “America’s List.”

Some people credited Big Chief as someone who changed drag racing through “Street Outlaws,” but he said that he only helped in revitalizing the sport. ‘When they shined the light on me, then it let a lot of other people, who were doing the same thing in their town…say that they drag raced, too,’ he said.

Even though there were still those who didn’t consider what they did as legitimate racing, more people had become proud that they street race.

As the Freelance Writer at Net Worth Post, I steer producing riveting stories about the lives and triumphs of influencers. With an unwavering commitment to precision and a flair for weaving compelling tales, I guide our content creation, from the depths of research to the pinnacle of narrative excellence. My responsibilities encompass the full spectrum of editorial management, including the meticulous investigation, narrative development, and upholding the integrity and high standard of our output.

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The Untold Truth About Expedition Unknown

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Although stories about previously unknown, ancient treasures and unveiled mysteries are usually seen as fictional fantasies, those same topics are exactly what makes “Expedition Unknown” so endearing. While the show takes us to the most fantastic and historically meaningful places around the world, what has really been keeping us engrossed with it for years it’s discovering the biggest secrets history has in store for us, which wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

“Expedition Unknown”s premise is very unique and so are the show’s settings, format and approach to topics. However, knowing how well produced and planned it is, it makes us wonder about things we aren’t able to see on-screen.

For this we have prepared a list of the less known facts about the show, including interesting bits about its host Josh Gates, his crew and what they’ve discovered so far. This is the unknown truth about “Expedition Unknown“.

Josh Has An Impressive Career

Just in case you have missed it, Josh Gates has an impressive career both in and outside the entertainment industry. A native of Massachusetts and born into a British-American family, Josh graduated from Tufts University with a degree in Archeology and Drama.

Although the fields are an uncommon combination, his professional background has allowed him to incorporate both. His debut on TV happened back in 2002, when he made short appearances in the ESPN’s game show “Beg, Borrow & Deal” and other TV productions. His big time finally came in 2007 with “Ghost Hunters” and “Destination Truth”, which became Syfy’s most watched show for a while.

While his career as an actor is less well-known, it’s not non-existent either, having played roles in low-budget movies such as “Party Foul” in 2003, and “Hard Cell” in 2007.

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Josh has also been involved with the production of many of the series he’s hosted, including “Stranded” and “Legendary Locations”.

Though Josh’s background as an archaeologist has allowed him to develop the proper experience to be his show’s investigator, his involvement with paranormal-related and myth-hunter shows make him a very multi-faceted TV personality as well.

Filming Takes A Long Time

As expected, when it comes to a show so well planned and shot on location like “Expedition Unknown” is, filming could take unexpectedly long periods of hard work.

As it happens, in “Expedition Unknown” we’re used to seeing Josh and his experts travel around the world. Though that would be genuinely enjoyable for almost everyone, transporting the camera crew and production staff to those places usually takes weeks or even months of preparation, besides the normal time filming takes.

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All in all, it’s said that to produce every season of “Expedition Unknown”, the crew take 200 days a year, out of which hundreds of hours are spent in airplanes and other transport, as Josh affirms.

The Most Dangerous Place

For those who are used to seeing Josh Gates shenanigans in the show, it’s hard to think of naming only one place as the most life-endangering.

However, Josh’s closest call was definitely in Myanmar. It happened back in 2015, when he and his crew were filming the episode “Curse Of The Golden Bell” in the search for an ancient and lost artifact which took him to the depths of the Yangon River. While Josh is a professional scuba diver, he didn’t consider the difficulties that entailed swimming in such muddy waters.

The lack of visibility caused by the heavy pollution and strong currents made his mission to find King Dhammazedi’s Great Bell impossible.

As he affirms, diving there was like ‘working with a blindfold on, feeling around underwater’ and despite his initial enthusiasm, the conditions were not only just too dangerous, but actually the worst he’d ever experienced.

All in all, desisting from it was a good idea, especially considering how many people have actually died in the Yangon River while looking for the Great Bell.

Unexpected News While Filming

It’s nothing out of the normal for TV casts to be in contact with their families while filming, especially for shows like “Expedition Unknown”, in which the crews have to spend long periods traveling and away from their loved ones.

As it comes, Josh Gates was given one of the best news items of his life while filming the show. It was back in season two, when Josh and his crew were in Portugal filming the episode “Secrets of Christopher Columbus”, as he was phoned by his wife to tell him they were having a baby.

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The exact moment in which an overly excited and emotional Josh informs people around him that he was going to become a dad for the first time, was filmed and included in the episode.

Later in season four, again while on the road with the “Expedition Unknown”s crew, Josh was informed that he was going to become a father for a second time; he wasn’t filmed, we can clearly imagine his reaction.

Humor Doesn’t Always Go As It Should

Despite being an investigation-centered show, “Expedition Unknown” always has a little touch of humor to make everything lighter.

However, despite how entertaining and light-hearted Josh Gates’ jokes are to us, he affirms that being funny isn’t his strongest skill. According to him, his attempt at humor ‘falls flat all the time’, but it’s admittedly his way of not only keeping the audience’s attention, but to make the work environment easier to endure during situations hard to deal with.

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Despite the extensive planning the show’s staff does, things in “Expedition Unknown” don’t always go as they should while filming, so joking and trying to lift everyone’s spirits on set is considered important in Josh’s perspective. That positive approach is probably appreciated by his fellow co-workers, and the audience surely enjoys seeing  and hearing it.

Food Is Not Always Safe To Consume

For a show such as “Expedition Unknown”, unexpected problems related to environmental factors occur quite often. As is obvious, the crew usually deals with problems just fine, but there are times in which things get so out of hand that it could endanger the cast’s wellbeing.

The latter situation happened during the fourth season, when the crew was in Ecuador filming “Hunt for the Metal Library”, and had to spend a long time enclosed in a cave. While the crew was prepared beforehand to successfully face the conditions of said environment, having to eat in a place where there were many animals had its consequences.

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This resulted in three members of the show’s crew falling sick for consuming bat’s excrement that somehow had fallen on their food. While their health’s condition didn’t worsen and their sickness was actually not as serious as it sounds, it’s enough to give us an idea of how far the show goes to keep the cameras rolling.

Josh Married A Co-Star

As should be obvious, Josh Gates’ work schedule has been very hectic since he made his TV debut. Knowing he spends a significant part of his life on set, it’s understandable that he ended up meeting his significant other half there as well.

As it happened, Josh and his then wife-to-be Hallie Gnatovich met on the set of his formerly-hosted show “Destination Truth”, for which she worked as an off-camera researcher. Though details about their relationship are unknown, in 2014 they tied the knot, and have since welcomed two children together.

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Despite Josh’s celebrity status, he and Hallie have carefully kept their children’s privacy, by not revealing their names or faces to the public. Regardless of their choice maintaining their private, their relationship always looked blissful from the outside, that is until Hallie announced in August 2021 that she and Josh had been separated for ‘a year and half’. In her words, their divorce had been officialized just a couple of months before, and both of them were still trying to figure out their shared parenthood and separate lives.

Josh Gates Famous Necklace

One never gets surprised enough when it comes to celebrities and things their fans do for them. Although Josh Gates’ personality is pretty much on the humble and chill side, some of the weirdest aspects of being famous is the fact that his necklace, which he usually wears in the show, has become quite popular as well.

If you don’t believe us, you only have to look up “Josh Gates Necklace” on Facebook, and see it for yourself. As it turns out, the page is very active and usually updates “Expedition Unknown” fans on Josh’s shenanigans.

While the aforementioned accessory has been described as ‘not magical’ by Josh, seeing that its page has over 3,000 fans and keeps growing, it makes us question if his words are actually untrue.

How Topics Are Selected

Seeing that “Expedition Unknown”s main premise is that of pursuing and unveiling ancient mysteries, it’s only expected that a lot of research takes place prior to letting its crew adventure into often unknown territory.

There are certain aspects which play a big role while choosing what and where the show’s crew is going to explore. While every myth could be interesting enough to be considered, what catches the show’s research team’s attention is if the stories indeed have substance, or as Josh describes it, if they have ‘meat on the bone’.

With the help of international archaeologists and experts in other fields, Josh and his crew follow the leads that actually lead to something instead of simply being completely unproven.

Besides the obvious pre-research that they go through, logistics and resources are factors not to be left aside. However, according to Josh, he and the show’s crew go on their adventures without knowing a great deal about what is going to happen in the end, which obviously makes the whole deal more interesting for both them and the audience.

What Josh Has To Say About William Shatner

Throughout the years, “Expedition Unknown” has surely given us many memorable moments. Out of those, one of the most interesting was shown in the series’ spin-off, “Shark Trek”, featuring William Shatner.

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Of course, this sort of tribute to “Star Trek” was unexpected considering the show’s usual concept. Despite that, the challenges encountered by Josh Gates’ crew along the way turned out as an extraordinary experience for everyone.

However, if there’s something that stuck in our heads it was how easily William adapted to the show. It wasn’t only us who noticed it though, as Josh admitted himself that besides being an amazing co-star, William’s genuine interest made everything more enjoyable.

According to Josh, what made William’s a memorable partner was definitely his willingness to ‘tackle and understand’ his fear, in order to ultimately conquer it. Those are qualities which surely an expedition expert such as Josh appreciates a lot, and will make us remember the special show with a smile for a long time.

The Reason They Went On Exploring Sharks

As entertaining as “Expedition Unknown: Shark Trek’ was, at first many people were surprised to find that the series would continue exploring sharks, which was an admittedly unusual topic for a series mostly focused on uncovering other types of mysteries.

While the reaction is understandable, there were actually good reasons for this objective. As Josh explained, more than just going on a trip looking for sharks, his main focus was to explore human’s fearful attitude towards the unknown. In his words, the common fear towards these animals is partially caused by the media’s influence, films such as “Jaws”, and prejudices based on their appearance. However, by examining these sea creatures, Josh wanted to not only understand them, but to debunk the many misconceptions surrounding the species.

Needless to say, Josh’s intentions with the show are well appreciated by the audience, and surely by environmentalists as well.

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The Reason It Has Many Spin-Offs

“Expedition Unknown” has spawned several spin-off mini-series over the years, including titles such as “Hunt For The Yeti” and “Egypt Live”, which makes us feel happy to see it becoming a successful franchise.

However, while these aforementioned series were meant to show specific expeditions made by the crew in a deeper way, for the last couple of years, long-running spin-offs “Josh Gates Tonight” and “Expedition X” have also been released.

The reasoning behind creating these series in this new format, is a matter of adapting to the several regulations related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made it difficult to produce “Expedition Unknown” in the same way we were used to.

Traveling and filming is also a big concern for the show’s production team for the same reason, but they’ve at least continued to produce content for the franchise until the situation improves. That’s a relief for fans, who still wait for “Expedition Unknown”s return to TV screens as it was previously.

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What happened to Christie Brimberry from Gas Monkey Garage?

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For a time, fans of the reality-television series called “Fast N’Loud” were worried that one of its stars, Christie Brimberry, wouldn’t appear again in their favorite automotive restoration TV show. Due to health issues, she couldn’t perform her duties as the office manager of Richard Rawling’s Gas Monkey Garage, which was the focal point of the reality-TV series. She took a break from managing the business in 2016 to focus on getting healthy, with the blessing of everyone in the shop. Loyal fans were relieved when she was seen again in the 15th season of one of the most-watched car shows on Discovery Channel.

Christie’s Early Life and Family

Not much information about her family and early life was revealed to the public. All that was known about her was that she was born on 25 March 1972, in Dallas, Texas, because Christie was very careful about what she shared in her social media accounts and during interviews.

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On her social media pages, she was proud to post that she had a good relationship with her parents, most especially her mother who passed away in 2015. She also shared some rare photos with her sister, and said that she was her ‘ride or die until the tires fall off’.

Christie has been married for many years to Darren Brimberry, a professional hairstylist with a hair salon in Dallas. She has six children, and some featured in her Instagram account, although some fans wondered why she has children of Afro-American descent. A fan complimented her for adopting them, but another said that she didn’t adopt any of them, but without offering any other information; much speculation formed but she never addressed the isue. Some of her children have graduated from college, and some are already married. When she posted a tribute to her mother during Mother’s Day in 2020, she mentioned that her old lady was about to be a great-grandmother soon.

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From Gas Monkey Garage to “Fast N’Loud” reality-TV

The Gas Monkey Garage is a Dallas-based custom auto shop founded by Richard Rawlings. After seeing automotive shows on TV, he realized that there was a chunk of the untapped market that those TV shows hadn’t taken advantage of – he noticed that his wife and kids wouldn’t stay and watch an auto show with him. The businessman in him knew that he needed to have a garage first to get to that point of creating a TV show. It was like hitting two birds with one stone, since his passion was automotive restoration and customization, so he sold his printing and advertising business to open up a garage in Dallas. Christie was hired through her husband, Darren, who was Richard’s hairstylist.

For many years, he had been pitching the TV show concept to Discovery Channel, until the cable executives eventually accepted the idea and “Fast N’Loud,” was born.

Unlike other automotive shows on TV with overwhelming machismo, Richard toned it down and made it appealing to women and kids without turning off the male viewers. The premise of the TV series was that he would look for worn-down classic or vintage cars all over the country, and purchase them for his team to restore them at the garage. After the fabrication and restoration process, Richard would sell the vehicle at a higher price, creating a significant profit for the business.

All through this, Christie was responsible for assisting Richard in dealing with all the chaos and drama involving the various people in the team – even shouting at her boss – to make sure everyone stayed on course so that they could meet the deadline. The first episode aired in June 2012 and the final episode in June 2020, all in all 155 episodes over the course of 16 seasons, produced by Pilgrim Studios for Discovery Channel.

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Meet Christie’s Co-Workers at Gas Monkey Garage

It might be Richard Rawlings who owned the garage, but it was his team of experienced professionals who were responsible for the actual restoration and customization of each car. He had the final say on the overall plan, such as choosing the car to be restored, the schedule, and approval of the budget for the proposed project, while Richard’s sister, Daphne Kaminski, worked as the Head of Operations.

The main mechanic and chief fabricator, Aaron Kaufman, was there almost from the start until he left the garage to open up his own fabrication shop in 2018, and subsequently starred in his own TV show also aired on Discovery Channel. He was with Richard for 14 years, but they maintained a friendship afterwards, as Richard respected him not only as a fabricator but also as a person. Christie even promoted and congratulated Aaron when he finally launched his own online shop.

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The rest of the team was comprised of Tony Cano, Mike Coy, and Kennan Hons (Paint and Body Tech Team), Chad Isbell (Automotive Parts Expert), Russell Holmes (Mechanic), J. Cheatham and J. Freeman (Fabricators), Jon Rodriguez (Wiring Expert), and Jason Aker (Firebird expert),

The Real Reason Why Christie Left Gas Monkey Garage in 2016

Ignoring potential health problems was one of the reasons why Christie had to leave Gas Monkey Garage abruptly and indefinitely. It was revealed that back in October 2016, she went through life-threatening surgery to remove a cancerous lymph node from her thyroid. Initially, she didn’t want to share her experience with the public, as she was a very private person. However, she eventually thought it best to educate people about the importance of getting a medical examination when one’s body didn’t feel right.

Apparently, before August 2016 ended, she felt something like a small knot in her throat, but ignored it, thinking that it just had something to do with her Hashimoto condition, a disease that attacks the thyroid and creates nodules in the throat. When it became annoying and felt like having a finger shoved down her throat, Christie had it examined; she had an ultrasound, and when the doctor saw the size of the nodule, a biopsy followed. Somehow she knew deep inside that it could be something worse and dangerous, and 12 days later, her suspicions were confirmed. She had thyroid cancer and the only good thing about it was the doctor saying that it had only affected one lymph node, but it had to be treated right away because it was aggressive.

Christie was assured by her doctor that it would be an easy surgery, that the removal of the thyroid and the cancerous lymph node was done in one day, however, when they operated on her, it was discovered that cancer had spread and a cluster of lymph nodes was removed.

The doctor also had to remove a part of her trachea because it was affected as well. Unfortunately, during the process of removing all of it, the nerve in her voice box was cut, which resulted in her having no voice at all, and she was informed that the condition could last for about six months or so. Christie also had chemotherapy to help fully remove the cancerous cells from her body.

In November 2016, the tube that was inserted in her throat and the stitches were removed, however, the doctor identified that the left side of her voice box was still paralyzed, which made talking and swallowing difficult. Instead of the initial prognosis of six months, the doctor said it would take around eight months to a year before she regained her voice.

Christie went back for a follow-up after a month, and there was an improvement. She got her voice tone back, but she lost a lot of volume.

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She was advised to stop taking her thyroid medication so that she could receive Radioactive Iodine treatment; this created an imbalance in her thyroid hormones, that left her emotionally drained, such that she would cry often, and had little control over her emotions. Being on a low iodine diet, which meant no bread, no dairy and no commercially processed food, made it even more unbearable.

However, after a year of non-stop treatment and a disciplined lifestyle, Christie was declared cancer-free by her doctor in December 2017. She posted on her official Facebook page, ‘I went through the last of my treatment last week, and had my one-year bone scan on Friday! The results came back today and I am CANCER FREE!!!’

Back on Gas Monkey Garage and “Fast N’Loud”

While Christie was never fired from Gas Monkey Garage, as Richard was very supportive of her, she wasn’t physically able to join the rest of the cast of “Fast N’Loud.”

She totally regretted that she wasn’t part of the filming of the Mannequin Challenge that Richard and the rest of the team did in December 2016, however, she made sure to be active on her social media platforms Instagram and Facebook to help promote the TV show. There was even a time when she went live while an episode was being aired, just to stay connected with the fans.

When the doctors cleared her to return to work, she was welcomed back in the garage. On 13 June 2018, Richard posted on his official Facebook page, a photo of him sitting behind his desk in his office at Gas Monkey Garage with Christie looking on while pointing out something on a ledger. It was business as usual, and he captioned it with ‘Working hard and havin’ fun’, while Christie posted the same photo with the caption, ‘I love my job.’ Fans were able to see her once again in the last two seasons of their reality-TV series.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Loyal fans were shocked that Richard announced during a guest appearance in the podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience,” in December 2020, that the 16th season that was aired earlier that year was the last from his team. He didn’t renew his contract with Discovery Channel, saying that it had run its course. However, he assured the fans that he had many plans for Gas Monkey Garage on other media platforms.

True enough, Gas Monkey Garage has been continuously uploading videos on their official YouTube channel, which has over 800,000 subscribers. They also created a podcast called “Monkey Trap with Richard Rawlings”, with their Facebook page having close to five million followers. Recently, the Gas Monkey Garage online merchandise shop launched Richard Rawling’s Car Sweepstakes, in which anyone who purchased $1 worth of merchandise automatically received a raffle ticket for the vehicle giveaway. For instance, a $35-trucker hat would mean 35 raffle entries into the giveaway contest.

A federal-regulated sweepstakes agency was tasked to draw the winner each time the giveaway countdown ends.

Christie Brimberry net worth and financial difficulties

According to authoritative sources, Christie has an estimated net worth of $2 million, some earned from her participation in the reality-TV series and her involvement with the Gas Monkey Garage business. This assess thatment must be true before her battle with cancer, because in some of her social media posts, she shared that she had a hard time paying for the medical bills she incurred for her cancer treatment, saying the insurance coverage that she had wasn’t large enough to cover all the expenses. To alleviate some of the expenses, she marketed events and brands through paid sponsorship on her social media accounts, and was even accused of being a sellout through the comments she received. One time, she was fed up with them that she told everyone that it was her way of surviving, and if they didn’t approve, they could unfollow.

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When “Fast N’Loud” ended its run, fans were worried that Christie lost another source of income. After a while, she announced that she’d opened up an account in OnlyFans.com. While some of her fans were apprehensive about this, the move no longer surprised them and they suspected it was to be used for a secondary source of revenue. Most of the celebrities and regular folks joined this web content subscription service, so that they could earn money from subscribers. It was one of those social media platforms that allowed content creators to receive funding from their fans for exclusive pay-per-view photos or videos. It actually created an uproar over the Internet, as most of the content offered consisted of sexually explicit videos and photos.

When Christie posted a teaser showing a photo of her wearing an unbuttoned shirt revealing her cleavage down to her tummy, the fans expected racy content from her.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B56O9l5A2zC/

However, she clarified many rumors that went around after her OnlyFans announcement, debunking what most of the fans thought was her reason for joining, saying that it wasn’t for financial reasons because she wasn’t broke. She also said that she wasn’t getting a divorce, that the OnlyFans idea came from her husband. Christie said she was just happy and that the timing was perfect as she was in a place where she’s most comfortable with her skin. Not everyone believed her because of her previous posts about her problems with finances due to her surgery and all that came with it. For $24, a subscriber could access the 165 digital media she posted about herself for three months on her OnlyFans account, however, the controversial crowd-sourcing site announced that it would prohibit account users from uploading explicit images and videos, as of October 2021.

https://www.facebook.com/GasMonkeyGarage/photos/t.100044231209485/675220785834592/?type=3

Her profile on her official OnlyFans account showed ‘I used to be that girl from that show but now I’m the girl from that website! No porn, I’m not a porn star.’ However, her sexy photos in which her nipples were in full view were leaked to the public, even if there was a warning on her page that said, ‘Any images/videos re-uploaded elsewhere online will be sent a DMCA from my lawyer, and legal ramifications will be enforced.’ Some of her subscribers said it was like Christie posted for racy magazines such as Playboy or Penthouse.

“Fast N’Loud” fans were wondering if she’s still connected with Gas Monkey Garage, because based on her Instagram and Facebook accounts, she hasn’t posted anything about them in 2021. The pandemic caused by the Covid-19 virus has surely created problems for all types of businesses all over the world, and it would not be impossible at all if the auto shop undertook some reorganization of its staff and crew.

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