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What happened to Tom of “Mountain Men”?

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Master trapper and tanner Tom Oar gained a huge following when he featured in History Channel’s “Mountain Men,” which premiered on 31 May 2012 with nearly four million people tuning in. He poured on the grandfatherly charm with eyes that twinkle and a ready smile. As the reality television series introduced more people who preferred to live off the land in the wilderness in the succeeding seasons, the public’s interest in Tom didn’t wane.

Early years of Tom

Tom Oar grew up in a rugged lifestyle in the country outside Rockford, Illinois. His father taught him and his brother Jack to ride horses before they could even walk. When they both turned seven, his father also taught them to perform tricks or stunts while riding a horse; it was dangerous, but his father was a true horseman so he ‘survived’ that, and was hooked on the adrenaline rush that it gave him.

When he was 15, his mom took him to the edge of town, from where he hitch-hiked to Ohio and rode bucking horses and bulls.

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In the early 1960’s, Tom rose through the ranks of the International Rodeo Association, and built a name for himself as a champion rider. However, his success on the rodeo circuit came to an end in February 1970 when he rode a bull named Woolly Bugger – it was said that their heads collided and he was knocked unconscious, but continued to be tossed violently with his hand still bound tightly to the bull’s back. His legs were underneath the bull’s hind legs and the bull stepped on them as it continued to buck. It lasted for a couple of minutes before the ropes could be cut to free him. Three hours passed before Tom regained consciousness – he had bruises all over his body, and had sustained severe concussion. The bull died two weeks later, and Tom jokingly said, ‘I think I gave him a concussion, too.’ After a month, he went back to riding bulls, but it was never the same as his success in the arena became a thing of the past.

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Moving to the Big Sky Country

Tom eventually retired from the rodeo in 1981, and looked forward to some peace and quiet, as he and his wife Nancy moved to Montana. They had been there before for the rodeo, and the place appealed to them so they chose it to set down roots. The couple built their first log cabin themselves from cutting logs to splitting shakes. There was no electricity, and Nancy had to carry five-gallon pails of water from the well.

After 17 years, he and Nancy built their next home in a more remote area near the Yaak River in the Kootenai National Forest, which covers about 2.2 million acres in north-east Idaho and north-west Montana. ‘I only have six acres, but beyond that, it’s all open land. I don’t have to ask permission to hunt or trap,’ he said. There were around 250 people in the community, although most of them only stayed during the summer months in which the weather was good. They had running water and electricity, so their living conditions improved.

Tom said, ‘We really had no idea exactly what we were getting into, or how I was gonna make a living out here,’ but he knew in his guts that they would survive and thrive there. He had experience in trapping and tanning hides back in Illinois, and he knew he could earn money from selling animal pelts – he even bought his pickup truck with it. He could make moccasins, but used chemically-tanned leather for those. However, when he went on a trip to Canada, he bought a moose hide tanned using animal brains, and said that it was so soft that it felt like cloth rather than leather, and so he adapted to make moccasins that way.

When they stopped by an Indian store in Billings, they discovered the primitive art of brain tanning through a 16-page book that cost him $3. The quality of their craft had improved significantly, which meant that they could sell the tanned animal skins or hides at a higher price.

He sold moccasins, clothing, hides and other items that he made, at the Black Powder Rendezvous, a re-creation of what a trade center in the 1840’s was like. The 10-day event every summer was strictly regulated that people came, sellers and patrons alike, in that era’s clothing, and they would camp in canvas tents. Back in the day, fur trappers would come to sell furs and hides to fur companies, and so replenish their supplies. Tom jokingly said, ‘I was born a hundred years too late, or maybe 200 years too late.’

 “Mountain Men”

Tom’s neighbor, Tim Linehan, was the host of “Trout Unlimited” for six years, committed to preserving upland streams and rivers where fish spawned, and had been friends with one of the camera guys who established Warm Springs Productions in Missoula, Montana. The producer had an idea for a show about people living off the land, in the wilderness, and Tim mentioned to him about Tom being a perfect fit for the show’s concept.

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Tom said the production called him up, and the crew came to take photos as he went about his day. When the TV project was approved, a five-man film crew followed him for at least a week every month for six months during the winter season until spring – ‘They filmed us for five days to get a segment, and the segment lasts seven minutes,’ he said in amusement.

The couple watched the show, and although they were in it, they didn’t know what to expect, but Tom was happy with how it turned out, saying ‘It hasn’t embarrassed me.’ He did say that some of the things that were shown were exaggerated – ‘They always have to make it seem more dangerous. I’m too boring otherwise,’ he revealed.

Being on the show made him popular, and as a result, he continued receiving orders for his moccasins. saying ‘There’s not enough moose left in the valley up here for me to supply all the moccasins people want.’ When he made a primitive bow or a stone-blade knife in the show, people would call wanting to have one as well.

What living in the wilderness was like for Tom Oar

Preparing for winter

Montana winters last seven months, so the couple had to prepare well to ensure that they had enough firewood and food, as the closest supermarket was around 160km away. As they were both getting on in age, things that they used to do were becoming more challenging as each year passed. Stocking up on food meant hunting to harvest meat. He was sometimes accompanied by his dog, Ellie, and his friend Will. To attract a buck, they used an old hunting trick of rubbing antlers to make sounds that imitated two bucks fighting over a doe.

While Tom and Will went out hunting, they could see signs of bear activity, such as a tree being killed by a bear scraping its bark, as well as a number of bear scat. Bears were also looking for food before they hibernated, so an encounter with one was a real possibility. Tom said one of the greatest worries living there was being mauled by a bear. It was said that the bears run towards a gunshot, as if they had become aware that it meant an easy meal.

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Predators stalking his home

One morning, Tom found bear tracks just 45 meters from the house; a bear also tore open their pigeon coop, and grabbed a couple of birds. They put an electric fence around it, but it wasn’t enough to deter the bear, so they increased its voltage. They called for help from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and the game warden came. He deduced that the bear who was a frequent visitor to Tom’s place, was around 300 to 400 pounds.

After winter, the bear biologist warned them that the bear would be back. True enough, it came back one night and attempted to enter his shop, despite the high-voltage electric fence, but was only unsuccessful due to the door latch. Tom took a warning shot to scare-off the bear. He couldn’t afford for livelihood to be compromised, saying jokingly that if the bear destroyed his work, he’d be moving to Florida.

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However, it was not just the bear that was getting too close to their home, but also wolves. Bears and wolves were protected species in Montana, so their population had grown. It seemed that these wild animals were getting hungrier, and they were running out of food – maybe the smell of fresh blood when Tom was skinning a deer and fleshing its hide attracted these predators. Wolves traveled and hunted in packs, so they were very dangerous. He had to force the wolf pack off his land, to go back high into the mountains.

It was one thing for Tom to encounter bears or wolves while out hunting, but to have them come near their house was a different matter, and definitely a cause for concern.

Fire season in Montana

From their place, they could see smoke on the horizon from a forest fire, and knew they had to prepare in case it reached their place.

It was a possibility, as they were surrounded by trees, and Nancy said it was like living in a tinder box. Tom had to widen the firebreak around his property, as intense fire could leap distances of many meters. He along with his good friend Tim, cleared more trees from both sides of the road and around their house.

Helping his neighbor

Tom is an experienced trapper so when Tim came to ask him for some help with the beavers in the pond and was worried about raw sewage contaminating their water source, he readily agreed to help. He set some traps for the beavers, and it took a few days before those beavers sprung them. He went home with his catch, skinned them, and stored the meat and fur.

Visiting his brother

Tom’s brother, Jack, invited him and Will to come and visit him in his ranch in Idaho – it took them eight hours driving to get there. They reminisced for a while about the last time they rode horses together with their dad.

Later on, Jack asked the two to accompany him in checking his fence, to make sure that there were no loose wires through which a lion could get in. He said he spotted a mountain lion at the edge of his property and was worried about it killing his horses at the farm. Lions were known for ambushing their prey, so they were very careful. They managed to push the big cat back into the hills.

Jack, a falcon trainer, took the two out into the field, and let his falcon hunt grouse. The falcon would dive-bomb and get its talons into the prey, and the dog would retrieve the birds. However, the hunt wasn’t successful that time, and they headed back to the ranch. Tom and Will were just happy to see how fast the falcon flew; they stayed at the ranch for five days.

Later on, Jack moved to the Yaak Valley so he could be nearer to Tom.

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Covid-19 pandemic

Due to the restrictions brought on by the pandemic, such as social distancing, Tom had to do everything alone without a friend or an apprentice who could help him. Things were much harder since he’s in his late 70s, but he knew he had to continue working. He set up traps for bobcats, martens, weasels and even wolves, then checked them every day to see if he’d caught anything. He also didn’t go to the ‘Rendezvous’ to sell their work, but brought them to Will’s trading post.

Retirement and moving to Ocala

Tom’s children Chad and Keelie, from his previous marriage to Jan Frazer, wanted him to retire and move to Florida, even before “Mountain Men” started airing. In his 70’s and living in the Yaak River Valley wasn’t easy, from the harsh climate to the wild animals in the area. His son knew the danger and difficulties because he had been going there since he was 15, for Christmas and summer vacations and said, ‘I’ve lived what they are showing. That was just my life growing up.’ He’s worried about his dad.

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Tom and Nancy went to Florida to visit his kids, and Chad took him fishing while Keelie brought the couple to Chad’s workplace; he is a co-owner of Horse Country Carriage Company, which offered horse-drawn carriage service in historic downtown Ocala. Tom’s mom, Mary Jane, was there waiting to see him. He took his mom, Keelie and Nancy on a carriage ride, as Chad had work to do.

The couple later toured a retirement home, and gave it serious consideration. They talked about the time Tom retired from the rodeo as he said, ‘it just isn’t as fun anymore, and if it isn’t fun, then I’m not going to do it.’ Nancy advised him that if he’s feeling that way about their way of life at the Yaak, then it’s time to change.

He knew that moving to Ocala to be near his kids would be a big change, one that would totally change his way of life – trapping, for one, would not be an option.

He didn’t see himself reading newspapers while sitting on a porch and doing not much else. ‘That doesn’t appeal to me at all. I don’t want that kind of retirement,’ he said. Tom admitted that while Ocala was a pretty place, he would have to find something to do. Nancy, on her part, found the place gorgeous and said, ‘It’s like I’m on a different planet. The flowers and the birds are different. I love being home, but this is certainly a treat.’

According to some reports, Tom has retired, as he and his wife have left Montana, although not exactly when it happened. It was said that although they’d been staying in Florida, it was only during winter. He hasn’t retired, as he continued to do what he loves doing in Montana throughout the rest of the year. He still appeared on the show’s 10th season in 2021.

A sign outside their house in the Yaak Valley read ‘He is free who lives as he chooses.’ His son had said that his dad has always lived life his way, and that’s the way it would always be. His mom knew that Tom belonged in Montana, and wanted him to be fulfilled in his own way. Tom said, ‘I love being a mountain man…I’ll be a mountain until the day that I die.’ adding, ‘If anybody tries to take it away from me, it’s going to be one hell of a fight.’

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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