Have you heard of Tom Oar?
Many people dream of leaving civilization behind and living in a beautiful forest or nature reserve, but few have the courage or the knowledge to actually do so. Tom Oar is one of those people who made the breakthrough and inadvertently became famous because of the History Channel reality TV series he starred in, “Mountain Men”.
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Tom Oar .’s Upbringing and Early Career
Tom’s exact date of birth is unknown, but we do know that he was born in 1943 in northern Illinois, USA, so he is now about 77 years old. His parents were Chike Oar and Mary Jane Crellin and he has a brother, Jack Oar. His father worked on the Wild West Shows that ran until 1920, but like many such contestants, he retired at a young age. From the time he was a little boy, it was Tom’s dream to ride rodeo.
From the age of 10 he practiced on oxen that ran in the slides. He also did trick rides and worked with horses until age 15, which was about the time his father and brother left the rodeo circuit. Still, Tom grabbed the bull by its horns and went after his dream. In his early twenties, he raced the track and made the International Rodeo Finals eight times during his 16 years with the IRA (Interstates Rodeo Association). It was a time he remembers as having a “fun life.”
Tom Oar .’s family
Tom and his wife Nancy have been married for about 40 years. They have a son, Chad, and had a daughter, keelie who was born in 1996 but sadly passed away in 2015 in Florida. From her Facebook page, it was clear that she was proud of her father’s performance on the TV series and she and her brother, Chad, appeared in episodes from time to time.
Chad is divorced and has two children – his son, Tanner, can also be seen on the show. Chad has reconnected with his high school girlfriend Kim Burnette and the two are training and owning horses Carriage rides through Ocalain Marion County, Florida.
How did Tom and Nancy Oar end up in the mountains?
The 25 years of mounting bucking broncs and 18 years riding bulls took a toll on Tom, with injuries to his legs causing permanent damage, so he had no choice but to leave the track.
That’s when Tom and Nancy realized the rodeo days were over, the couple moved from Illinois to Troy, Montana, where they had made friends while attending summer rodeos. The couple bought an acre of land in the remote Yaak Valley, in the far northwest corner of Montana, about four miles from the border with British Columbia. The regional center of Yaak has only about 280 inhabitants.
The Oars moved to their property near the tranquil Yaak River in the middle of the lush green Kootenai National Forest in the early 1990s, living in a small log cabin while building their own log cabin. They had bought a chainsaw for the job in Illinois and it took them five years to build their house. For the first 17 years in Montana, they had no electricity, technology, or running water. In later years they did get cable television.
This self-sufficient lifestyle is not for the faint of heart, as it takes a lot of work to survive. The nearest supermarket is about 50 miles away and they had to hunt, gather and grow their own food. Every long winter they fought the harsh mountain elements and predators.
When they moved to Montana, Tom began teaching himself the art of brain-tanning animal skins, an art brought over by the Native American Indians 200 years ago.
The process is difficult and time consuming, but the end product is much better because the leather becomes as soft as a fabric, prevents sweating because the skin can breathe through it and is much more comfortable to wear than commercially manufactured leather.
Tom tans the hides and he and Nancy hand-sew the tailored clothing and moccasins all winter long. Tom’s work is highly sought after and he is known as one of the most skilled tanners still active in the US. Tom also makes primitive bows and knives. Come summer, they dress in their best deerskin clothing and go to town, where they sell their products at rendezvous, reminiscent of the days of the fur trade of 1840.
How Tom Oar Became Part of “Mountain Men”
Tom claims that rugged mountain life isn’t for everyone, but he and Nancy lived peacefully off the grid, surrounded by natural beauty, until their lives took a turn.
Their neighbor, Tim Linehan, hosted the TV show “Trout Unlimited” for six years, and when the Warm Springs Productions company came up with the idea of filming people living off the land in remote, rugged wilderness areas, he suggested Tom to approach. .
Tom’s audition consisted of a day followed by a film crew, at the end of which they deemed him a good match for the reality series.
“Mountain Men” premiered on the History channel on May 31, 2012 featuring Tom, Eustace Conway who lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, and Marty Meierotto of Two Rivers in Alaska. Later, Rich Lewis, a mountain lion hunter who lives in Ruby Valley in Montana, Morgan Beasley who lives in the Alaska Range, Jason Hawk who lives in the Ozarks, Arkansas, and others who join in the following seasons.
Tom, the sweet-tempered, shaggy-looking mountain man with a white beard and his cowboy hat and sharp, light blue/green eyes, seems to be one of the most popular cast members and has received a lot of positive feedback from viewers. Since its launch until the final season ended in May 2019, Tom has appeared in over 110 episodes.
Film crews would land on Tom’s property one week a month, every six months of the year. He claims not much has changed as he would continue to do what he normally does while they were filming him. However, the deerskin clothing and the primitive weapons he made became so popular that it was impossible to keep up with the orders. The film crews had hard times, like the three-day hunt they followed Tom carrying their heavy camera gear.
The reality series featured Tom driving his old Dodge pickup truck, fishing in his canoe or snowmobile through deep snow, setting traps and going about his daily activities. Nancy was also often seen on the show. At times Tom was seen performing dangerous actions, such as driving dangerous wolves from his property, hunting caribou, fighting threatening grizzly bears, and putting out fires that could have destroyed their home. One of the toughest challenges for the Oars was fighting to survive the long, frigid, brutal winters.
His co-star, Eustace Conway, was the subject of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book published in 2002, “The Last American Man”.
Named his property Turtle Island, Eustace hosts guests whom he teaches basic survival skills and tries to inspire them to give up their material lifestyle and return to a natural life.
Tom Oar .’s net worth
In the early years of Tom’s mountain life, he earned a living catching and selling tanned hides, so as the fur industry dwindled, the Oars struggled to make ends meet. Although their lifestyle was simple, they benefited from the income they earned from “Mountain Men”. They also made up to $4,000 at each rendezvous, and then Tom also made money selling his custom knives and bows. According to valid sources, Tom’s skills, resilience and TV appearances have netted him a net worth of over $200,000.
What happened to Tom Oar?
He retired to the mountains to escape modern life, so it’s not surprising that he can’t be found on social media and has no website.
— Jasmine aka Jazzy 😍👑💜 (@J4Keepz) September 29, 2019
While Tom’s daughter, Keelie, was alive, she tried to convince her parents to move to Florida. In one of the first episodes, Tom and Nancy even go to a retirement home in Florida, but at that moment decide that that lifestyle is not for them.
However, as the years wore on, the looming wolf packs became an increasing problem, and Nancy would worry that Tom would check the lanyards; inevitably, his age made it difficult to maintain the merciless lifestyle. Tom had also complained that since the show gained popularity, their privacy was constantly being violated by visitors who wanted to meet them and take pictures.
When the History Channel launched the eighth season and Tom didn’t appear, there were rumors that Tom had retired, but then he appeared in the second and some of the subsequent episodes, so it was clear he chose to take longer breaks from the series. to take.
Tom Oar spends his life doing what he loves. SHARE if you dream of doing the same. #MountainMen
He had admitted, “We can’t do this forever” and that “Florida is a much better alternative.” He’d also said that even if they moved to Florida for the winter, he wouldn’t want to leave their home in Montana and they would be there in the summer. It also seems that Tom values his fans and would actually like to maintain some of his celebrity status. He has made a number of public appearances, such as in February 2019 when he did a meet-and-greet at the Western Virginia Sport Show in Fishersville, Virginia.
The latest information is that the ninth season will start in early June 2020, and the information is that Tom will be part of it so that he and Nancy have not chosen to live a quiet life far away from the hardships of the winter mountain. life and reality TV, but may be a little bored with their (supposedly) quiet life.