Produced by Pilgrim Studios for Discovery Channel, “Street Outlaws” is a reality series that premiered in June 2013, and follows the comings and goings of underground street racers in Oklahoma. “Street Outlaws” has been on air for 13 seasons, spawning numerous spin-off shows such as “Street Outlaws: Fastest in America”, and “Street Outlaws: New Orleans”.
The Outlaws are colorful characters who are known to clash with figures of authority, and criminals from time to time. It’s also alleged that they participate in illegal street races, that take place behind the scenes when filming is over.
It’s not unusual for the Outlaws to get into unpleasant accidents, despite rigorous safety measures that are implemented during the on-screen races. For example, Big Chief suffered spinal cord injuries and a fractured collarbone when his car landed in a ditch while racing against another cast member; as for Dave Cornstock, a street race gone wrong landed him in hospital after his car flipped over six times and crashed against a wall.
Thefts are unusual, but not unheard of either, as James “Reaper” Goad and David Jones both had their prized vehicles stolen. James’s 1955 Chevrolet was valued at almost $200,000; he immediately reported the theft to the Oklahoma City police, and the classic car was found two days later. It’s unclear if David had the same luck, although the thieves of his valuable 1967 Chevrolet Camaro were caught red-handed by surveillance cameras.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the track records of some Outlaws and associates have done nothing to help the show’s reputation. Rhett Jones and his colleagues, for example, have many prior arrests for drug-related crimes such as trafficking. Rhett was caught selling crystal meth out of his workplace, whereas one of his colleagues stashed half a pound of drugs in his.
Speaking of criminal activities, who can forget about the time when a mysterious gunman shot Shawn Ellington’s store up in 2015, firing not one shot but 11? Although there was nobody in the shop that day, the incident plagued Shawn for months as he was rumored to have become involved with gangs. After targeting Shawn’s store, the shooter drove towards the TV star’s home on his motorcycle, which is why many believe that he knew the Outlaw personally.
Street Outlaw trivia of the day name both two hints:MSO big head? Detroit big mouth? #allinloveandfunmuchrespect #bobbie #chucky
“Street Outlaws”: The Truth
When it comes to “Street Outlaws”, opinion is heavily divided; the cast members are either vilified and presumed to be involved in seedy gangs and unlawful activities, or believed to be normal members of society who merely play up to stereotypes. In the mid-2010s, the reality show had such a bad reputation that the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) threatened to strip drivers of their licenses if they participated in the racing or the show. Derek Travis was fired from his totally unrelated job after appearing in “Street Outlaws”, but quickly found another job.
The Outlaws aren’t the only ones to receive heavy criticism, as Pilgrim Studios has also been dragged online for glamorizing street racing despite its risks. The producers of the show find themselves in a catch-22 situation; the truth is that most scenes are planned out and scripted to ensure their safety, with local police getting involved to cordon race sites off. However, the show wouldn’t be as exciting if viewers knew everything about such arrangements.
The spin-offs have also landed themselves in hot water, as it was revealed that most drivers in “Street Outlaws: New Orleans” had no street racing experience prior to joining the show. Some netizens thought it was a good thing for aspiring racers to enjoy the publicity and perks of being part of such a big franchise, whereas others considered it a recipe for disaster, and an accident waiting to happen.
Over the years, quite a few Outlaws have also died tragically young. For example, Tyler Piddle – a season one cast member – never got to see himself on the small screen as he was found dead at home before his episodes aired. His friends or family refused to provide the 31-year-old’s official cause of death, which is rumored to have been caused by substance abuse or suicide.
The death of Butch DeMoss was much more publicized, as he was a big name in the drag racing community, with thousands of fans. When a high school friend revealed that Butch had died of a heart attack, people wondered if his health problems were caused by the negative impact of high-speed racing. Butch was aged just 43 years old.
Izzy Valenzuela is a disgraced racer who killed two innocent bystanders in a car crash, but lied about not being present at the scene. Izzy was arrested when the police realized he was lying, thus putting an end to the former Outlaw’s promising street racing career. These days, the incident has been largely forgotten, as the other Outlaws don’t mention Izzy at all.
The departure of Big Chief also became a hot topic of discussion, when it was revealed in April 2022 that he wouldn’t be returning to the franchise. Fellow cast member Precious, was blamed by Big Chief’s diehard fans, as the pair had allegedly fought while filming the first episode of the latest season. Some news outlets even claimed that Big Chief’s wife, Jackie, became involved in the heated war of words.
The alleged reason behind the incident was that Precious was dissatisfied with the new season’s rules. However, Big Chief uploaded an hour-long YouTube video, and shared that he’d bowed out of “Street Outlaws” due to the production company’s rules. One particular policy that Big Chief had a problem with was the “race your way in” rule, whereby the winners of pre-season races become main cast members.
The TV star added that most of the new main cast members were “Street Outlaws: Memphis” racers; this tidbit of information shed new light on his alleged argument with Precious, as she’s a member of the Memphis crew.
Cast Members: James Goad
As we mentioned earlier, James “Reaper” Goad has been a victim of car theft during his time in the “Street Outlaws” franchise. However, it’s not the first time the burly racer has lost his prized vehicle: in 2020, two of his Camaros burned down in a trailer fire, leaving him so heartbroken that he stepped away from racing for a while.
The fire took place while James and his wife, Stacey, were driving back to Oklahoma after racing in Texas. Stacey noticed a spark coming from the couple’s trailer and called her husband to tell him; as soon as he arrived, James tried to put the flames out with an extinguisher, but when he opened the trailer’s doors, he found that the roaring fire was too much for him to handle.
With the trailer completely covered in flames, there was nothing for the couple to do but sit and wait for the fire department to arrive. As the trailer was full of petrol tanks and methanol, no foul play was suspected, although the fire department being unable to establish what exactly had caused the tragic incident.
Subsequently, James devoted himself to repairing other vehicles in his shop until he was encouraged by friends and family members to return to the circuit. Tyree Smith in particular was highly supportive of James, and gave him the mental strength to get back out there and participate in “Street Outlaws: No Prep Kings”. Despite swearing never to return to the racing world, James put together the “Red Reaper”, a beautiful 1968 Camaro, and competed in the “No Prep Kings” series.
As James is a loveable figure despite his seemingly tough exterior, fans of the “Street Outlaws” franchise were happy to see him return to the circuit. Surprisingly, the racing fanatic is a hopeless romantic, who shares a strong bond with his wife Stacey. When the couple met, she weighed 200lbs and was at a low point in life; however, thanks to her newfound confidence she was able to lose 70lbs thanks to a combination of diet, exercise, and sheer willpower. James, of course, supported her throughout every step of her grueling weight loss journey.
— Terry Edwards (@consai1) October 5, 2018
James and Stacey met through work. At the time, she was a branch manager at a bank where James was doing some construction work and putting new ATM machines in. The pair began chatting, sharing interests, and cracking jokes, and one thing led to another. What many fans of the couple didn’t know is that Stacey had already been married twice when she met James; in fact, she was engaged when she first laid eyes on the racer; we can assume that last relationship didn’t work out.
The street racer had also been married before meeting Stacey, but his years-long union with Ramona Ann Eyman turned sour when he was sent to prison. He was also unfaithful to Ramona, having several girlfriends on the go. Even so, James and Ramona were together for 15 years and had two children together, a son and a daughter. When he was sentenced to prison on drug charges and other crimes, Ramona met a new guy and never looked back.
James was initially sentenced to 17 years behind bars, but After signing up to the LifeLine Drug Program, taking the prison’s carpentry class, and becoming a tutor to his fellow inmates, the parole board reduced his sentence to five years due to his good behavior. James definitely came out of prison a changed man, determined to stay on the right side of the law after that.
In his teenage years, James worked at his father’s shop. However, his father became paralyzed, and the Oklahoma native began selling drugs to provide for his family. Upon leaving prison, he worked in the construction trade and never looked back, eventually transitioning to the entertainment industry. Despite James being a low-key individual who doesn’t court media attention, fans have been able to piece together his life story, thanks to interviews and reliable online sources.
Cast Members: Big Chief
Technically, Justin Shearer – also known as Big Chief – is a former cast member, after leaving the “Street Outlaws” franchise following his feud with Precious and the production company. Nevertheless, the bearded racing fanatic deserves his own section, as he’s been an integral part of the series for years.
Justin was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1980. In 2006, he married his longtime sweetheart, Allicia, and the couple share two children named Covil and Corbin. Aged just nine years old, Justin loved to ride his bike to Old Route 66 to watch the street races. Three years later, he and his family relocated to Oklahoma. At a young age, Justin suffered from the untimely death of his father.
The future TV personality’s life changed forever, when he was approached by Discovery to be part of the “Street Outlaws” franchise. However, none of this would’ve been possible without his mother, who worked full-time while studying to be a nurse, and raising two children. Justin’s mother encouraged his interest in cars and did everything within her means to ensure that her son entered the racing circuit, for which he is forever grateful to her.
Justin met Allicia when he was 18 years old and working as a gas station attendant. Not much is known about the blonde except for her profession; the respiratory therapist shies away from the limelight and has yet to give any interviews. Sadly, the couple announced their divorce in 2017, but didn’t giving any reasons. Justin now has a new girlfriend named Jackie, who appears frequently in “Street Outlaws”.
It’s uncertain what the future holds for Justin now that he’s left the racing series, but we’re sure that with his YouTube channel, thousands of Instagram followers, and automotive shop, he won’t be hurting for cash anytime soon. Midwest Street Cars is Justin’s pride and joy, and has its own podcast, blog, and merchandise store. The shop has almost 900,000 likes on its Facebook page and thousands of positive reviews from content customers.