Who Is Josh Owens?
Josh Owns is best known for his role in the Discovery Channel series, “Moonshiners”. Located in the Appalachian Mountains, the show depicts the life of various members of the community who are distilling what is allegedly ‘illicit’ moonshine, alcoholic spirit. While the Virginia authorities dispute the fact that their behavior is illegal, Discovery Channel chooses to ignore this fact and continues to utilize it as their selling point. Josh, however, has more to his life that the moonshine culture. Josh was previously a professional motocross racer, and has endured multiple injuries, including losing a finger, and dire back injuries.
Early Life and Family
Josh Owens was born on 28 August 1977, in North Carolina, USA to Cindy Owens. Although there is nothing known about his father, he does have a younger sister Chelsea Morris, and is the maternal grandson of James “Speck” Owens and Hazel Cochran Owens. Even as a child, Josh already had a love for motor vehicles and loved using go-carts, so knowing he wanted a career involving fast-moving vehicles.
Josh Owens actually began his career working as a lumberjack. His years spent operating machinery, climbing, and excavating trees inspired him to open his own company in Polk Countr – Tree and Yard Busters.
His love of motor vehicles as a child burgeoned into a career when he took up motocross racing. Owens experienced a moderate level of success in the racing world, participating in NCHSA and GNCC races. He earned his first win in the heavy-c category in 2003 in the NCHSA Championship, and the 250-B Championship the next year. In 2005 he was promoted to 250-A but enjoyed minimal success on the circuit. Although he was then engaged to participate in “Moonshiners”, Owens did not give up on his racing passion, joining Southeast Gassers Association (SGA) in 2016. He made the motorbike he rode in that race a year later, and continued to ride until at least 2018 when he was involved in a devastating collision.
“Moonshiners” premiered on 6 December 2011, and was hit almost immediately with a slew of public critique. The show features various people across the Appalachian Mountain who are all involved in the 200-year old tradition of alcohol distillation, colloquially referred to as moonshining. The allure that the show presented was a unique opportunity to catch a glimpse into the lives of those home-brewing illegal alcohol.
however, the series proved neither to show very much actual footage of the distillation in progress nor to be in any way illegal.
The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) requested that Discovery display a disclaimer that would inform the public that “If illegal activity was actually taking place, the Virginia ABC Bureau of Law Enforcement would have taken action.” Discovery Channel declined to do so, and maintained the illusion that the activities depicted are illicit.
Josh Owen was introduced to the concept of the show when Barney Barnwell, his moonshining mentor, enlisted him and a friend to build an underground distillery. Unfortunately Barney died two weeks into the project, but Josh and his friends decided to complete the distillery in Barnwell’s memory. Their accomplishments reached the ears of directors, who were keen to have the pair on set.
Josh made his first appearance in the second season in November 2012, and continues to appear in the show as a regular.
Relationships and Family
There is little known about Josh Owens’s relationships, aside from a few veiled references to an ex-wife and ‘crazy ex-girlfriend’. Josh Owens was publicly dating Amber Layne Gabric for some years, referring to her on their social media as part of his family, but the relationship didn’t last. While he does not appear to be in a relationship at the moment, Josh takes good care of daughter Elisabeth Reese Owens, and is obsessed with his dog named Cutie-Pie. Despite being bitten by a snake, Cutie-Pie is alive and well – much to the relief of both Owens and the “Moonshiners” fan base.
Josh was incredibly close to his mother and was greatly impacted by her death on 7 June 2011.
Josh loves to be involved in charities that benefit children, possibly a result of his relationship with his daughter. He is also passionate about country music, as he believes that country singers lead a life and represent values that are far superior and in need than those portrayed in the mainstream media. Owens also has no discrimination when it comes to his love of animals. Although he does have a dog, he is fond of wildlife.
What Happened to Josh Owens?
On 16 March 2018, Josh Owens was preparing for an exhibition on a racetrack in Florida when he was involved in a near-fatal accident.
Owens was on his vintage 1919 Harley Davidson when one of the wheels exploded and sent the bike plowing into a wall. Josh suffered extensive injuries including a punctured lung, a broken shoulder blade, a torn rotator cuff, a broken left clavicle, the skin being stripped from a finger, and every rib but one being broken.
Josh was transported to Halifax Medical Centre, Daytona where he immediately underwent treatment that allowed him to survive the damage wrought on his body. Josh says that he received stellar care for the first five days of his hospitalization, but then things took a turn for the worse. Josh claims that within revealing to a healthcare worker that he was not on a health insurance plan, but assuring that he would pay the bill, he was taken off his nausea medication and put on a pill instead of a drip, and prematurely discharged.
While Halifax Medical Centre refutes any such wrongdoing, Owens explained that the blistering in his throat was still so severe that he could not swallow his own saliva. He added that the left side of his body was practically paralyzed and his broken collarbone still protruding. He told the Observer that “I was denied care because of health insurance. Ain’t no two ways about it.” No resolution was reached on the allegations, and Owens was left with a pile of hospital bills to pay.
This came in the wake of Owens losing part of his finger in an accident with a grinding wheel in 2016. He has also lost his trailer in a fire during August 2017 when it caught alight, destroying it and inflicting significant heat damage to the truck to which it was connected at the time.
Josh Owens is broad-shouldered and well built – the stereotypical image of a motocross racer. He has short hair and a mutton chop beard that is a pale brown, bordering on carrot. He has blue eyes and an affable and open smile, far from what one would expect in the allegedly deception-ridden moonshining business. He is 6ft (1.8m) tall and weighs 185lbs (87kgs).
Josh Owens is working hard, not only to establish a career for himself but to pay the extensive medical bills he incurred after his accident in 2016. Owens owns a company called Tree and Yard Busters, and earns a modest salary from his role on “Moonshiners”. He has a net worth estimated at over $500,000, as of mid-2020.