“Street Outlaws” is a reality TV series that revolves around the turbocharged lives of street racers based in Oklahoma City, exploring the world of supposedly illegal drag racing and competitive driving skills. The racers compete against each other to make the top ten list, and so establish the fastest car in the competition. Produced by Pilgrim Studios, the show premiered in June 2013, and has run for 14 seasons on Discovery Channel, amassing a huge fan base over the years. In addition to interesting content and adrenaline-packed races, “Street Outlaws” has numerous cast members with differing personalities who smack talk, engage in crazy antics, and pull pranks on each other. One of those members was Justin Shearer, best known as Big Chief, who became a fan favorite for his expertise, down-to-earth attitude, and straightforwardness. However, since he left the show in 2022, many fans wonder what he is doing today, and whether hell return to the series?
Who is Big Chief?
Big Chief was born on 9 December 1980, in Louisville, Kentucky, USA, so is currently 41 years old. He’s a street racer, race car expert, and reality TV star who gained popularity starring in “Street Outlaws.” He spent 12 years in Louisville, where he was raised alongside his brother by a single mother, as his father died early in his childhood. After his mother remarried in 1992, Big Chief moved to Oklahoma City, where he attended Putnam City High School, matriculating in 1998. He developed a passion for racing and driving at the age of nine, when he began watching the races on Old Route 66, where he later met numerous street race crews, who supported him and his dream of becoming a drag racer.
Talking to a media outlet, Big Chief revealed that his parents drove cool cars which were later passed down, saying: ‘When I was in high school, dude, there was nothing but rear-wheel drive, muscle everywhere, whether it was Fox-body Mustangs, F-body Camaros, LT-1 cars, or older Monte Carlo G bodies. Whatever it was, it was rear-wheel drive, and it was a V8, and that’s the way we did it.’
In order to get a racing car, he changed jobs numerous times, including working at a gas station and later landing a job at Midwest Street Cars, a company selling car parts, to finance his goal. Big Chief could eventually afford his first car, a 1972 Pontiac LeMans. He customized and restored the car, and it later became known as “The Crow.”
How did he land the part in “Street Outlaws”?
In his interview with Drag Illustrated, Big Chief discussed the beginning of organized races, and how he managed to get the crews together, saying: ‘When I started the Web site (for The List) in 2002 it was 60 people. It was just our buddies, and we thought that we were the baddest street racers in the world, and once we were to the point where we could afford a trailer, we started driving around to figure it out.’
Then Kyle from 1320 Video reached out to Big Chief with the idea of filming him and his crew racing. Big Chief was flabbergasted, actually in shock, because Kyle was willing to drive all the way from Omaha, Nebraska, to Oklahoma City just to film them. However, his videos soon began attracting attention, and in no time Big Chief and his crew began filming their own videos, and posting them online. He rose through the ranks after his videos caught the attention of Discovery Channel producers, who were astonished by his expertise, and the underground world of street racing.
Big Chief has been secretly building a street car for 2 years and tonight… the secret's out! Are you ready to meet The Crow? Back-to-back #StreetOutlaws episodes start tonight at 9/8c on Discovery!
After they offered him a deal for a show, Big Chief accepted, and made his debut in the reality series “Midwest Street Cars,” later becoming “Street Outlaws.” Interestingly, Big Chief and the producers didn’t believe that the show would have such a colossal reach, and generate such a huge fan base, disclosing: ‘And so when the show came out, we really—our producers, everyone – thought this was going to be one-season, eight episodes and done deal. So they were like, no one is going to watch it, but we’re going to try and reap everything we can.’
Big Chief recalled that for the first seasons, the crew invested as much as possible to do all the crazy antics, tricks, and cool stuff they could think of, hoping to attract attention, to provide an eye-catching automotive-type-of show with a twist. However, as soon as the show premiered, it quickly rose in popularity, and the next thing to happen was that the producers reached out to Big Chief and said: ‘Hey, you guys aren’t that bad’, and hinted that there might be another season of the show, which was assured when the series became number one on Discovery Channel.
Why he left “Street Outlaws”?
As mentioned, Big Chief was one of the essential personalities on “Street Outlaws: No Prep King,” and he also made his way to “Street Outlaws: America’s List,” earning a reputation only a few of his contemporaries could match. Furthermore, Big Chief served as a host, and regulated the rivalry between the races and the show’s style. He’s been a part of the show since its inception, and a vital member of team 405. Given his high-profile status among the racers and in the show, when he failed to appear in the series, it shocked his fans and loyal viewers. In addition, Discovery didn’t issue an official statement regarding his departure.
Big Chief also stayed tight-lipped at the time, even though some rumors of his exiting the show began surfacing. After it became apparent that Big Chief was no longer a cast member of the series, several theories and stories about his personal and professional life came to light. One theory posited that his active and extensive engagement in the show and the races took a heavy toll on his private life, namely his wife and two children. Because of the show’s particular format, and Big Chief constantly flying from one place to another, he didn’t have enough time to spend with his family. In addition, it was revealed that Big Chief had divorced his wife Alicia in 2017, to whom he’d been married for 11 years, so this became a logical explanation that exhausting racing schedules and personal problems influenced his decision to leave the series. Other rumors suggested that Big Chief was let go by the producers after he got into an altercation with the cast member Precious, while filming the “Street Outlaws: America’s List.” However, he denied the rumors on social media, and said that his departure had nothing to do with the feud.
The Real Reason Why Big Chief Left the Show
With various theories being floated on the internet, after so many questions and rumors, Big Chief decided to clear the air, and filmed an hour-long YouTube video to explain the situation with the show. He first discussed the rumors aimed at his racing performance and lack of competitiveness, sharing: ‘I’m not gonna race anymore if I’m not competitive. If I feel that I’m not competitive, I’ll do something else. I’ll buy a set of golf clubs I’ll start a boy scout troop. But that’s not the case. I went down there with my sh*t loaded for a bear because I knew I was gonna avenge.’
He then talked about the issues with the producers and the show, saying: ‘The point of being the race master that I took pride in was handling my sh*t. I just don’t think that I can stand up and defend that anymore. Those guys take it seriously, and while they may know in their heart that this didn’t come from me, everything’s been twisted so much.’
Big Chief said that the production began changing rules that didn’t sit well with him and his working ethic. As a race master, he was previously allowed a certain level of freedom to choose what he wanted to film, and what was out of his comfort zone, or that he didn’t agree with. Big Chief hinted that he refused to be filmed during verbal altercations with other racers, and it affected his whole perception of the show to the point that he began despising the series. Since the show’s inception, he tried to keep it as ‘street’ as possible, but over the years, they’d had to make compromises with the producers, and they usually managed to come to some agreement.
However, it became too much for him; Big Chief said: ‘This is your life’s work in front of you, and the moment when you don’t want to see yourself because you hate the way you look about it, then things begin to change, and you start asking yourself ‘Why am I even doing it.’ He added that he wouldn’t be appearing in any other reality series, unless he was in charge of the rules. After he officially withdrew from the show, it was announced that the new race master would be Shawn.
— Danny Parker (@Mrphantom405) November 11, 2015
What is Big Chief doing now?
For someone such as Big Chief, drag racing is in his blood, and even in an interview, he said he couldn’t imagine his life without cars and racing. Interestingly, he’s been focusing on his YouTube channel, entitled Midwest Street Cars, which he launched sometime in 2013. Since 2020, he’s been posting more often, and investing his time creating new content for his fans. His videos range from those related to his time on the “Street Outlaws”, to his recent activities improving and testing ‘The Crow’; some of those are entitled “Hang Out With Big Chief: Lets Install an Electro-Magnetic Communicator”, and “When Is Big Chief’s Next Race?” His channel currently has over 300,000 subscribers with over 32 million views. Big Chief is also co-owner with Shawn Ellington of the car parts shop Midwest Street Cars Automotive.
Couple young fans stopped by and got their favorite drivers faces to take home as a souvenir lol.
In addition to his strong presence on YouTube, Big Chief also has an impressive following on Instagram – over 900,000 followers – and on which he usually posts trailers for his YouTube videos. In one of his latest posts he wrote: ‘Tonight we are working on a few small additions to the crow. Our goal is to show up in any town, on any street (off the trailer) and race the baddest and fastest they have to offer. It’s not going to be easy, but its guaranteed to be a good f’n time lol.’
Who is Big Chief dating?
For years now, Big Chief has been dating a fellow racer, Jacklyn Braasch. The two are a perfect match as they are both passionately engaged in the automotive industry and racing. They often profess their mutual love on social media, and Jackie is frequently featured on Big Chief’s YouTube channel.
Similar to most car enthusiasts, Jackie also got the bug for vehicles and racing from her family, saying: ‘My dad has been involved in motorsports since he was young. He started taking me to the track as a baby, and always included me when working on or racing the cars. I was always out in the garage helping him, bringing him tools or whatever he needed.’ When she was eight years old, Jackie started in a junior dragster, and has been racing ever since.
She is a Car Chix member, a premiere organization devoted to supporting women in motorsports. Her vehicle is an aspirated Spitzer Dragster, a dashing machine beast strapped up with a 510ci Big Block Chevy Engine. As a very talented and skilled racer, she landed a spot on the Rockett Brand Race Fuel Bracket series in the Super Pro category. Furthermore, she garnered even more popularity through “Street Outlaws”, and for her relationship with Big Chief.
What is Big Chief Net Worth?
As of 2022, his net worth is estimated at around $2 million, acquired through his decade-long career as a drag racer, reality TV star, and shop co-owner. He additionally earns through his YouTube channel and brand affiliations.