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What happened to Ax Men? Deaths and the true reason why it’s canceled

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The reality-television series “Ax Men” gained millions of viewers as it focused on the logging operation of selected logging crews in the woodland forests in North America. The show depicted the extreme risks that loggers go through each time they enter the forest, along with their personal dramas. The danger they encountered wasn’t limited to human or machine errors, but also to the unforgiving forces of nature that easily disrupted an operation without warning. For nine seasons, the series entertained and educated people about the logging industry, until it was canceled in 2016. After three years, History Channel rebooted it with the new name, “Ax Men Reborn,” and its 10th season aired in 2019. However, no 11th season was announced, and most fans believe that it might be because of the Covid-19 pandemic, which made filming difficult to undertake.

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“Ax Men” – The Reality-TV Show

When the “real-men-in-real-danger” kind of concept became a huge hit with viewers, the TV company Original Productions – which created the TV series such as “Ice Road Truckers” and “Deadliest Catch” – knew that a show featuring rugged American loggers would gain a huge following as well. On 9 March 2008, “Ax Men” premiered on History Channel with the episode “Man vs. Mountain”; it featured four logging companies – Gustafson Logging, J.M. Browning Logging, Pihl Logging, and Stump Branch Logging. Most of the members of the crew were either third or fourth generation family loggers, who inherited the profession from their fathers and grandfathers.

The first season with 14 episodes was set in the Oregon wilderness, home to millions of acres of trees. It was the perfect location for growing trees that would be logged, as they expected more than 60 inches of rainfall each year. Jay Browning, a veteran logger, said that trees were renewable resources, as Mother Nature helped in making the remote Oregon forest the perfect incubator for growing trees.

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The harvesting and replanting of trees continued every year, and so for the next eight seasons, more logging crews from Montana, Washington, Florida and Louisiana joined the “Ax Men” family. Logging crews would come and go, but the crew ever-present in the show from the second to the last seasons was Rygaard Logging. The show gained many viewers who were fascinated by the way these loggers wrestled timber from the forest while somehow trying to leave it unscathed.

At the end of each season, all participating logging companies would tally the number of loads that they hauled from the forest. The crew who achieved the highest total loads won top place, complete with bragging rights as the best logging crew for that year.

“Ax Men” aired from 2008 up to 2016 with nine seasons and close to 160 episodes. It featured around 25 logging crews, with many loggers also embroiled in personal dramas, run-ins with the law, and scandals, which made the TV show even more interesting, not to say controversial.

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Its popularity saw the show also became accessible to international viewers, through several cable channels and a wide variety of digital platforms.

Deaths in “Ax Men”

Logging is a dangerous business and one mistake could result in a physical injury or death, even to the most experienced logger. People who work in this industry knew from the get-go the difficulties they would face once they entered the forest to harvest timber.

William Bart Colnatuono – Helicopter Crash

On 17 November 2013, it was reported that William Bart Colnatuono was killed after his helicopter crashed while lifting logs from the Oregon forest. Witnesses said that a loud snapping sound was heard and the logs he just picked came crashing down to the ground. It was believed that a rotor broke off from the helicopter, and William lost control of the machine.

Bart joined the second and third seasons of “Ax Men” as part of the R&R Conner Aviation heli-logging crew, in which he used his 25 years of helicopter utility experience, from his military training.

The US Navy veteran and author of the suspense-thriller novel “Helilogging in a Sucker Hole,” died at the age of 54 and left behind his four children along with his fiancée. He would be remembered as a smart and competitive helicopter pilot, who wasn’t afraid to take risks.

Jimmy Smith – Cancer

On 1 November 2012, James “Jimmy” Smith, the founder of S&S Aqua Logging crew from South Cle Elum, Washington, died after his long battle with cancer. It was the first death in the “Ax Men” family, and all were saddened by his passing. He joined the reality-TV series in 2009 during the second season, and was an active participant until the sixth season. His logging company’s motto was “Recovering the forests of yesterday to save the forests of tomorrow.” Instead of cutting trees in the forest, he salvaged those sunken logs from river beds, which had been left by earlier generations of loggers, as they were floated downstream.

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Jimmy died at the age of 56, and was survived by his mother, Leah, and two sons, James and Chad. He was an Army veteran, and after he was done with his military duties, he started his logging business with James. In his last season on the show, it was obvious that Jimmy was getting weaker, as his weight dropped by around 50 pounds. His son stepped up and became the new captain of their boat, Logzilla, as Jimmy could only direct operations from the shore.

Dwayne Dethlefs – Natural Death

The Pihl Logging crew was heavily featured during the second season, as Dwayne Dethlefs’ interesting comments were often used in promotional spots, or teasers for upcoming episodes for that season. However, for some reason, he and his son Dustin only appeared in six episodes. They both quit the show, and the owner of the company, Mike Pihl, didn’t offer any detailed explanation. Dustin returned in the fourth season, but worked for another logging crew, while Dwayne appeared again in the 10th season when the show was rebooted.

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Dwayne died on 6 December 2019 in his home in Hillsboro, Oregon, at the age of 60. His family didn’t share the cause of death, but it was generally believed that he died in his sleep. The image of him carrying a power saw was what the fans would remember about him, and during his brief time with the show, he showed exemplary dedication to his work, combined with his funny personality.

Stacey Robeson – Heart Attack

When it was reported that Stacey Robeson had died, many speculative comments were thrown in by fans on social media, as the family never revealed the cause. His brother, Jalaina Robeson, only posted, ‘Many of you know my brother Stacey, and know he was truly one of a kind. He passed away suddenly on 15 December 2018 and left behind a wife and three children.’ It was so vague that fans of the show initially thought he died during logging operations, but later on it was generally accepted that he died of a heart attack.

Stacey was the yard engineer of the Pihl Logging crew, which made his death the second in the company. He became one of the more recognized stars in the show.

Gabe Rygaard – Vehicular Accident

The death of Gabe Rygaard, the owner of Rygaard Logging, was quite a shock to everyone. His company was the only crew who never left the show, from the moment they were invited to be part of the main cast, up to the time it was canceled, and even when it rebooted in 2019 for its 10th season. Arguably, Gabe was the most recognized face in the show so the duty to tell the fans that the show was canceled fell on his shoulders in 2016.

His death at 45 years of age was happened in a multi-vehicular road accident – it was reported that he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt at that time as he was driving his Ford Bronco, which probably made it difficult for him to survive the crash, which happened just outside of Port Angeles, Washington State. He was the only casualty, as the six occupants of the other two vehicles only had minor injuries. He left behind his three children along with his father, Craig, and brother, Jason.

When Rygaard Logging joined the TV show, Gabe was the new owner of the company, launched by his father in 1992.

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He was able to manage it well, and acquired more clients so his loyal crew never ran out of work. After his death, Craig and Jason had a hard time getting enough jobs for the company to stay afloat. Jason wasn’t prepared to take the helm as he knew nothing about the business, so it was Gabe who managed it from 2009.

The Cancellation of “Ax Men”

Fans were confused as to why there was no announcement of new episodes for the next season of “Ax Men” after the final episode of the ninth season was aired. It was only cleared when Gabe Rygaard posted a message on the official Facebook page of Rygaard Logging, Inc., ‘We are sorry to say that Ax Men will not be returning for the tenth season. Thanks for all the support from our fans.’

Not all TV networks would explain why a TV show was canceled, but most of the time in broadcasting it was for financial reasons. Basically, it would mean that the last season aired had a low percentage of viewership. With no high TV ratings, the chance of attracting advertising or subscription revenue for the show was low.

However, there were cases when the reason for ending a TV show abruptly was because of controversies that led to unfavorable reviews, not only from the critics but from the viewers as well. The displeasure of the viewers could now easily be noticed through social media.

Reasons why “Ax Men” was canceled in 2016

Since there was no official explanation offered by Original Productions or History Channel, many theories were discussed by fans on social media. Here are some of the possible reasons why there were no more episodes ordered:

Federal investigations of S&S Aqua Logging

Some cast members became controversial for legal issues, about the way they handled their logging business. The late Jimmy Smith was under federal investigation for possible illegal logging practices; apparently, his company S&S Aqua Logging was issued with search warrants by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) after seeing their logging crew salvaging wood from the Hoquiam River, when they didn’t have the license to do so.

According to the DNR, no one could remove sunken logs from the river bed since it had become an important part of the river’s ecosystem.

It helped with providing food for fish, as it could harbor insects and trap sediment as well as creating riffles where fish could rest. Their illegal activities were only noticed when it was shown on an episode of the TV show. The Public Lands Commissioner, Peter Goldmark, said at that time, ‘These are valuable materials that belong to the public and this looks like theft, plain and simple.’ More than two dozen timbers were seized from the logging company by DNR officials, at that time worth around $10,000, as stated in the financial records of the company.

Jimmy Smith fraudulent disability claims

Aside from the illegal logging practices, Jimmy Smith, was also investigated for fraud when still alive of course, due to his monthly collection of disability checks he filed for back in 1993, and other medical issues in 1996. He was questioned about it since he became a popular figure through his participation in “Ax Men.” His disability claims contradicted the activities he was engaged in while was active in the show; it was reported that he had already cashed checks worth $50,000 over the years.

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This case was probably dropped before his death, when it became apparent that Jimmy was battling cancer.

DUI case against one of the logging crew owners

Michael “Mike” D. Pihl, the owner of the Pihl Logging Company, was reportedly arrested after he flipped his Jeep CJ5 with the top down on his own driveway near Nehalem Highway in Oregon. After an initial police investigation, it was learned that he was driving under the influence of alcohol. It wouldn’t have been a huge deal since it happened in his private driveway, but his three children, who weren’t wearing seatbelts, were involved in the accident. Mike and his two daughters, three-year-old Rylee and five-year-old Jayda, only suffered minor injuries but his son, three-year-old Mathias, was pinned by a roll bar with his head to the ground, and was rushed to a Portland hospital by helicopter. When Mike was released from the hospital, the police charged him with third-degree assault, and three counts of reckless driving endangering another person.

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Someone was caught hunting without a license

Chapman Logging, which joined the reality series during the seventh season and stayed until the ninth, became controversial because of one of its crew members, Roger Gunter. He worked as a master diver in the company, as the logging company salvaged logs from the river beds in Florida. Apparently, although Roger was also a skilled hunter, he didn’t have a hunting license. He was also into monkey fishing, and that became controversial when it was revealed to the public. Roger was caught six times engaging in allegedly illegal activities. While it was said that Roger had already changed his ways, fans were still shocked at the kind of nefarious characters that most of the logging companies hired as part of their crew.

Too much negative feedback on the show

Some professional loggers criticized the TV series for not being authentic, just to create fake scenarios to boost TV ratings.

There was too much cussing and swearing that instead of uplifting the status of the loggers, depicted logging crews as a bunch of hooligans with nothing better to do but fight with each other when the going gets tough. Somehow, “Ax Men” wittingly or unwittingly gave the viewers the impression that most of the logging crews were made up of incompetent, unprofessional and unsavory characters.

Conversely, some logging crews stayed only for a season, such as the Gustafson Logging Company who wasn’t invited to appear in another season because, they claimed, that the TV producers thought of them as too professional at their job.

People were curious as to why it was rebooted in 2019, if the reason it was canceled back in 2016 was due to low TV ratings. Included was just one logging crew from the former cast, and featured three new logging companies. The general consensus of the fans who aired their feelings after watching the rebooted show, was that the new season showed more professionalism and less over-dramatized scenarios.

As the Editorial Director at Net Worth Post, I steer a skilled ensemble dedicated to 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. At Net Worth Post, our goal is to furnish our audience with thorough portraits that shed light on the inner workings of industries such as finance, entertainment, and more. By employing detailed investigation techniques coupled with enthralling storytelling, we illuminate the extraordinary paths and achievements of those who lead and innovate. Our work aims not just to inform but to enchant and motivate our readers by sharing the personal and professional odysseys of individuals who shape our society.

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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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