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From First Date to Fixer Upper: Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Success Story

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Chip and Joanna Gaines have been in the real estate industry for nearly two decades; it all began with a small shop before the couple moved on to renovating and redecorating homes in the Waco, Texas, area. Their impact was so significant that Zillow, a well-known online real estate marketplace company, revealed that homes with the farmhouse-chic design, such as the one the couple often featured, sold for 30% more than the expected value, on average. We analyzed how the couple met, married, and developed their brand while eventually building a media enterprise, Magnolia Network.

Chip and Joanna built a business empire

After several years of doing the home flipping business in central Texas, High Noon Entertainment approached the couple in early 2012 about recording a pilot episode – some viewers might know that the same company produced Buddy Valastro’s “Cake Boss” on TLC. After over a year of negotiations and preparations, their show, “Fixer Upper” premiered the first episode on 23 May 2013.

Five seasons followed before the couple called it quits, noting that they reached a breaking point doing the same thing. After all, Joanna designed and Chip did contractor work on over 100 houses, most of which happened on-screen. However, after about three and a half years off-air, notable life changes, and other professional goals, their revival show, “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home,” aired in January 2021 on Discovery+.

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Their first date was over two decades ago

Chip and Joanna, whom Chip calls “Jo” or “JoJo,” like to tell the story of their $50 bet and a lousy first date, since both nearly ended their relationship before it startedHe was born in New Mexico but moved to Colleyville, Texas, in third grade. Joanna, from Wichita, Kansas, moved to Austin aged 12, then to Waco in her junior year of high school. They met in the waiting room of Joanna’s father’s auto shop, Jerry Stevens Firestone, in Waco, however, Joanna wanted to date Chip’s friend, “Hot John” before Chip took the chance and asked her out.

After she reluctantly agreed, he turned-up an hour and a half late (although he claimed it was only 20 minutes), then started discussing plans for companies that he would launch. Joanna thought he was ‘a bit crazy’ and initially decided that they wouldn’t have a second date, since she preferred quiet guys whose thoughts she couldn’t decipher. Another weird thing that almost stopped them from dating was Chip’s decision to shave his head before their date, actually to support a friend with cancer, but he was burned by the sun, and flushed red to the point that Joanna barely recognized him.

Their second date was eventful, too

After their first date, Chip made a $50 bet with “Hot John” to see who could wait longer to call their date. It almost ruined everything; she refrained from calling, and Chip only asked for a second date a few months later. Although she accepted, she had to cancel it to have an operation for a back injury from her cheerleading days.

When they met, Chip again could not stop talking about his goals, but Joanna realized that he motivated her to explore her potential, and positively influenced her. In March 2023, Joanna added that she heard a voice telling her that she would marry him after their first date, even though her rational mind told her the opposite, and she wondered if it was God’s voice. On that note, Chip mentioned that one thing that attracted him was that their parents raised them in similar religious environments.

They married in 2003

Joanna later explained that their ‘hearts beat to the same rhythm’ since the second date. They dated for a year before Chip propose – instead of taking her to a concert, he took a detour to a jewelry store run by Billy Holder, his father’s friend. That sealed the deal; Joanna designed the perfect ring for some time before Chip surprised her again, as he organized a family gathering during a dinner at a hotel, when it was supposed to be only them celebrating the engagement.

On 31 May 2003, the couple married at the Earle-Harrison House, a well-known historic property with a long history of being a wedding venue. However, Joanna cherishes the memory of leaving the most, later stating that while exciting, the event was scripted and busy, and that she couldn’t wait to be alone with Chip. Thus, she asked her mom to pack some food for later, and her favorite memory was leaving the wedding in the limo, then digging into food as soon as the driver hit the gas. They ate Beef Wellington, mashed potatoes, and two types of cake.

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Flipping their first home and opening the market

Shortly after returning from their honeymoon, on 15 October 2003 the couple started their first business, a retail store named Magnolia Market, in their hometown. They borrowed $5,000, and were over the moon when over 40 people showed up on the opening day. Joanna explained, ‘The only money we had at the time was what was in Chip’s pocket.’

Concurrently, the couple began working on their house-flipping venture. They purchased their first 800sqft or 74,5m2 home that ‘was dumpy and smelled bad, but was their favorite because it taught them most of what they know about dealing with limited resources.’ Moreover, the house tested their dynamic, since Chip was the visionary who only considered the bigger picture, while she wanted to figure out the minute details, including budget. So they hit their stride, and kept flipping houses as part of their business, Magnolia Realty, for themselves and their clients.

Welcoming four children

Viewers easily recognize Drake, their eldest child born in 2005, because he appeared in “Fixer Upper” several times. Joanna and Chip didn’t wait long after stabilizing their income, and welcomed three more children – daughter Ella Rose in 2006, son Duke in 2008, and daughter Emmie Kay in 2010. They all appear on their parent’s social media as teenagers or young adults, but their parents deliberately limit their public exposure to give them a chance at a normal childhood.

Doing “Fixer Upper” for five years

An executive who approached them, Katie Neff, saw their blog and loved their work, despite their house-flipping business being small; subcontractors only joined Chip and Joanna for large projects. Allison Page, the HGTV general manager, knew it would work because it wasn’t polished to perfection, and so showed authenticity in their work, including conflicts, lousy luck on projects, and silly things they did.

Sadly, despite HGTV wanting to renew the show for the sixth season, the couple quit after the fifth, breaking the news to their fans on 26 September 2017. Although they knew it was the right decision, they felt it was bittersweet. Nonetheless, the couple focused on developing their other projects. Magnolia Market at the Silos was the first notable one, which they moved to two cotton silos in downtown Waco in 2015, believing that the heart of the city has the most significant growth potential.

As authors, they published a memoir together, “The Magnolia Story” in 2016, and launched a quarterly lifestyle magazine, “The Magnolia Journal,” the same year. As business owners, they also launched a furniture collection, Magnolia Home, in the same year, opened a bed and breakfast rental business, The Magnolia House, in McGregor, Texasin July 2017, and a breakfast cafe, Magnolia Table. Chip has always eaten a heavy breakfast, while Joanna always ate lightly, but they both wanted to own a breakfast joint.

Moreover, they started a brand of home and gardening items, and expanded their silos complex to include a bakery, a church, and a garden. Joanna and Chip also signed a deal with Target’s retail chain to launch a product line for home necessities, from fragrances to utensils, called Hearth & Hand with Magnolia, before the 2017 holiday season, and a furniture line, Magnolia Home.

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Announcing Magnolia Network

Fans bummed out about the “Fixer Upper” going off air were ecstatic when the couple appeared in NBC’s late-night “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” in 2018. Although they technically broke their NDAs (non-disclosure agreements), the contract stated that they could tell their mother, so Chip jokingly addressed the announcement that they are starting a media company, Magnolia Network, in partnership with Discovery+, to his mom.

That fulfilled Joanna’s dream; Chip was a serial entrepreneur and had prepaid laundry services, landscaping companies, and fireworks stands before marrying her, so building a multi-industry empire was his. In contrast, although they graduated from the same institution, Baylor University in Waco, Joanna majored in Communications and always dreamed about being a broadcast journalist or working in television, even appearing in local commercials for her father’s business.

Having their fifth child, then a puppy

Over the years, Joanna and Chip implied that they wanted to expand their family and mentioned desiring twins. After announcing that they were expecting in 2018, Joanna gave birth to their fifth child, son Crew, on 21 June 2018. A year later, Chip brought home a puppy, an English Mastiff named Brindley. They also jokingly stated that they finally have more dogs than children, and fans were sure that Brindley would fit in with other animals, including cows, cats, horses and chickens.

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Returning to “Fixer Upper” and more

Although the couple planned to launch Magnolia Network much earlier, the coronavirus pandemic delayed its release. Thus, the rebrand of DIY Network that aired their shows only occurred on 5 January 2022.

It had a broad list of original shows, including “Mind for Design and Zoë Bakes,” “The Johnnyswim Show,” and “Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines.” However, the most prominent was “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home,” a reboot of their old show with minor adjustments, which streamed on Discovery+ for a year. The couple explained the revival by saying that they believed the last episode in 2017 was the end. However, they later realized that they ‘weren’t done dreaming about ways to make old things new again’ and needed a break to revitalize their creativity. Additionally, they realized that they were unhappy being content, and that ‘being comfortable was a bit dangerous.’ Chip, in particular, gets restless after reaching a goal they set.

Moreover, Joanna continued to write. After publishing the book “Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave” in 2018, she released a two-volume cookbook, “Magnolia Table,” in 2018 and 2020 to go along with her show. Finally, she released a memoir-like book, “The Stories We Tell: Every Piece of Your Story Matters,” in 2022.

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Renovating their 100-year-old castle in 2022

As proof that the couple was ready for a new chapter, even if it included old things in a new format, they premiered an eight-episode spin-off, “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home – The Castle,¨ in September 2022. It featured their journey renovating a 19th-century castle in their hometown that Chip had wanted to buy for over 20 years. However, it always went to someone else, but no one made significant improvements, which ultimately allowed them to showcase their skills, and bring even more tourists to their town, not always welcomed by some locals.

They will expand their business

Joanna and Chip managed to go from an unlikely pair, which they both admit was far from perfect on paper, to a power couple. Moreover, they used one of their earliest experiences and positive memory, when he climbed a magnolia tree to give her a blossom for their brand, bringing an emotional element into their business. They kicked their work into high gear in the early 2020s, returning with the fan-favorite show’s reboot in January 2021. More importantly, they want to share their success, and give individuals a chance to get a television and streaming deal with Magnolia Network, the same way they had an opportunity.

Joanna and Chip stay grounded

While the couple is busy, they make time for their five children and the herd of animals at home. Joanna and Chip also remain a team in all situations, setting time aside to have a date at least once a week and a candlelit dinner with their children on major holidays. They also managed to squash rumors that they were divorcing, or that Joanna was done following Chip’s dreams and launching a skincare line.

However, they aren’t expanding their legacy at any cost; the couple carefully selects everything they put their name behind, from paint colors and wallpaper designs to furniture.

Additionally, they canceled a show on Magnolia Network entitled “Home Work”, because homeowners complained that the hosts, Andy and Candis Meredith, did shoddy work and over-promised and under-delivered while flipping their house – practice doesn’t always make perfect!

As the Managing Editor at The Legit, I direct a dynamic team dedicated to creating rich content that profiles the lives and accomplishments of influential figures. My commitment to detail and storytelling drives the production of biographies that truly engage our audience. I manage all aspects of the editorial process, from conducting thorough research to crafting vivid narratives, all while ensuring the accuracy and quality of our work. At The Legit, our goal is to offer our readers comprehensive profiles that provide deep insights into the realms of business, entertainment, and more. Through diligent research and engaging storytelling, we highlight the exceptional journeys and achievements of those who both inspire and intrigue us.

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Paul Teutul Sr’s Legal Battles and Financial Troubles

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For years, Paul Teutul Sr. graced the screens of motorcycle enthusiasts who followed his show religiously, watching him create custom bikes for fellow enthusiasts. Paul Teutul Sr. served in the Vietnam War as a member of the US Merchant Marine, and returned home from the war with a dream, which inspired him to start his first business, a fabrication shop in Orange County, New York State. That first business and his passion for bikes catapulted Paul to fame, after he earned several opportunities to build custom bikes on television, enter his creations in competitions, and earn awards for sharing his passion with the world. Unfortunately, financial troubles and a barrage of legal battles threatened Paul’s livelihood and ability to keep pursuing his passion. Here’s an update on all Paul Teutul Sr’s battles and problems.

“The Ride of a Lifetime”

In his memoir “The Ride of a Lifetime: Doing Business the Orange County Choppers Way,” Paul Sr. credits the positive turn in his life that brought him all the success he’s enjoyed to a promise he made to his wife. When Paul returned home from the Vietnam War, he fell into a drinking problem – at 35, he spent most of his time drinking, and would often wake up in strange places with no memory of how he got there. Naturally, his body was falling apart from over two decades of excessive drinking – he would often cough up blood, and knew that he had to stop drinking or he wouldn’t live long; he made a promise to his wife to sober up., which saved his life. He attended Alcoholics Anonymous, got sober, and started his fabrication business.

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“Orange County Choppers”

Paul Sr. actually started his first business, “Orange County Ironworks,” long before he became sober. All he owned at the time was a welding machine and a pick-up truck he used for transport. In the mid-1980s, when Paul sobered up and started to recover from his alcoholism, the business began to expand. He opened a larger shop in Rock Tavern, New York, shortened his business name to “Orange County Iron,” and expanded his customer base exponentially over the next 15 years,. By 1998, Paul had acquired a 10,000-square-foot steel framed facility to supplement the 7,000-square-foot shop he’d been operating out of since 1986. After this expansion, Paul left it in the capable hands of his son, Dan Teutul, and moved on to pursue his passion for motorcycles.

Paul founded “Orange County Choppers” in 1999, capitalizing on his knowledge and extensive experience as a fabricator, his long-held passion for bikes, and the expertise of the engineers and designers he brought on board to create custom bikes. His passion and expertise as well as that of his team shone in his work, earning him a spot on the hit reality television series “American Chopper.” The company has withstood several legal battles seeking to use Paul’s shares to recover some of his debts. However, a quick review of the operations of “Orange County Choppers” reveals a thriving company, that sells branded gear such as t-shirts and hoodies, organizes, and has its bikes featured in events such as the upcoming “Show at the Shed” in May.

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“American Chopper”

Four years after leaving his fabrication business to start “Orange County Choppers,” Paul’s decision to pursue his passion paid off, when he caught the attention of executives at Pilgrim Films & Television, and secured a spot for a show on the Discovery Channel. The first episode of “American Chopper” aired in March 2003, and over four years, Paul Teutul Sr., his son Paul Jr., and their team entertained their audience of bike enthusiasts with their antics, as they worked in their garage to build custom bikes, before their show was moved to TLC in 2007. Since its premiere, the show cultivated a niche among the Discovery Channel’s loyal audience base, gradually growing its own audience base that remained loyal, and stuck with Paul Sr. and his team when the show was moved to TLC, averaging over three million viewers per episode. Two years after its move to TLC, the show lost its spot despite the large viewership it had cultivated. Fortunately, fans and fellow bike enthusiasts didn’t wait long since TLC picked up the show again albeit with a twist in its premise since it pitted Paul Sr. against Paul Jr.

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“Senior Vs Junior” and “The Last Ride”

One of the dynamics that defined “American Chopper” was constant disagreements between father and son. From the beginning, it became evident to the audience that despite sharing a passion for making custom bikes, Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. had different approaches to their work,  which led to the infamous showdown of 2008; t he fight between the two had been brewing for a while.

One morning, Teutul Sr. was fed up with his son’s lateness to work, and expressed his anger over Junior’s tardiness, noting that Jr. had been making a lot of excuses lately, and adding that he wouldn’t let his son get away with it any longer. When Jr. eventually came to work, Paul Sr. confronted him for being forty-five minutes late, adding that he was tired of babysitting him. Jr. defended himself saying it didn’t matter what time he got to work, as long as all the work would get done at the end of the day. Besides, Jr. added, the business would collapse without his input. An angry Paul Sr. responded by firing his son.

Anyone who thought that Paul Jr’s termination from “Orange County Choppers” (OCC) would be the end of his infamous rivalry with his father was wrong. Paul Jr. opened a rival custom motorcycle business, capitalizing on the experience he’d gained after years of working with his father, the client base he’d cultivated, and the skills that had made him an invaluable member of OCC’s team.

Fans got to watch the rivalry between father and son play out on screen again, when TLC premiered “American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior.” Four seasons later, the show ended with father and son standing proudly next to the bike they’d collaborated on building for a client. The feuding yet incredibly talented duo showed off its complementary skills again in 2020, when Paul Sr. and Jr. collaborated on another bike in a special entitled “American Chopper: The Last Ride.” 

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Legal Battle: Father against Son

Paul Sr.’s rivalry with his son began on television and ended up in the courtroom. When Paul Sr. and Jr. started working together, they both had shares in “Orange County Choppers.” They had contract, including a clause that allowed Paul Sr. to buy out his son’s stock in the business, if Paul Jr. decided to leave the jointly-owned custom bike manufacturer. Paul Sr. decided to exercise his option after their infamous fight, but his son refused to part with the shares, prompting Paul Sr. to sue his son. According to court documents, Paul Sr. claimed that his son brought harm to their business by starting a competing business, and misappropriating business assets. Furthermore, Junior was unresponsive to any attempts by his father to value his shares and interests in the business, in preparation for the buyout. Paul Jr. won the lawsuit following the court’s decision that Paul Teutul Sr. couldn’t force his son to sell his shares in OCC.

Legal Battle: Fraud

Paul Sr. wound up in court again a few years later – this time on the other side of a court case. He’d been sued by another business partner, Thomas Derbyshire, for allegedly spending the capital the plaintiff had injected into OCC for personal expenses. According to Thomas, he invested $3 million into a spin-off entitled “Orange County Choppers: American Made” but Paul Sr. used the money to go on a fishing trip. Furthermore, Paul paid his son a significant amount of money from Derbyshire’s investment, and failed to consult Thomas before accepting sponsorships for the show. More people sued the veteran and bike enthusiast for similar cases of fraud, claiming that he misappropriated the millions of dollars they invested in a TV project, leading them to lose their investment.  

In addition to the lawsuits launched against him for fraud, Paul Sr. has been sued for copyright infringement, filed by a photographer who claimed that he’d taken and owned the copyright to a picture of Paul Sr., which the veteran used on his reality television show and on his merchandise. Finally, Paul Sr. is in trouble with the state of New York, for failing to pay state taxes amounting to $22,364.60. 

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Bankruptcy

Financial woes have accompanied Paul’s legal troubles. Despite raking in millions in endorsements, sponsorships, income from his businesses, payment from TLC for his television programs, and the proceeds from the sale of branded merchandise, Paul Sr. has been buried in debt since 2018. He owed $1,070,893.44 to over 50 creditors, and was about to lose his home in Montgomery, New York. Paul responded to his financial crisis by filing for bankruptcy in 2018, hoping that the move would help him secure his assets.

Paul’s legal and financial woes stripped him of the fortune he had worked hard to acquire since he started his first fabrication business in the 70s. Fortunately, Paul isn’t afraid of starting over and rebuilding. He’s since moved to Florida, and relocated “Orange County Choppers” to the state from New York. In addition to the motorcycle business, he’s opened the “Orange County Choppers Roadhouse and Museum,” a restaurant he runs when he’s not building custom bikes, organizing competitions, and selling merchandise.

With Paul Teutul Sr., there’s never a dull moment!

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About Jessi Combs Death: Object That Caused Jessi Combs’ Jet Car to Crash at 550 mph

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On Tuesday, 27 August 2019, Jessi knew she would make history. She woke up in the morning, headed to the Alvord Desert with her partner, went through all the safety checks, recounted the safety protocols, got in the North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger that had become her lucky charm after she drove it straight to her land-speed record, and strapped herself in, ready to drive her way into a Guinness World Record. However, fate had a different plan for Jessi’s life. Unknown to her, her partner, her crew, and her legion of fans around the world, Jessi’s ride across the desert would be her last. In a few moments, she would crash at the highest speed she had ever recorded, and her car would catch fire. Here is a look at the accident that cost motorsports enthusiasts one of their most promising legends, and the object that caused it.

The Rise of a Daredevil, Speed Racer, Speed Champion

Jessi Combs is a legend in the world of speed racing. Her journey to the top of the motorsports industry started with the dream of a little girl in Rapid City, South Dakota. Jessi was lucky to grow up in a family that loved to explore the outdoors, which introduced her to off-roading. From there, her passion for machines and speed was born, and she ecame fascinated with everything automotive. In addition, Jessi was a talented artist who loved to work and create things with her hands. She worked with every material she could find, but was particularly partial to metal and leather, two materials that complemented her passion for cars.

The drive, passion, and courage that emanated from Jessi during her racing events were a part of her character and personality since she was a child. They drove her to abandon a fully sponsored spot at a prestigious interior design school, to try her hand at snowboarding in Denver, Colorado, however, her heart wasn‘t in it, and before long, she was headed to Laramie, Wyoming to pursue her love for speed racing and passion for automotive machines. She enrolled at Wyotech, and took courses that aligned with her passion such as Chassis Fabrication, Trim and Upholstery, Collision and Refinishing, and Street Rod Fabrication. She topped her class, and graduated with a degree in Custom Automotive Fabrication.

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With her degree, Jessi was ready to conquer the world of automotive fabrication. Her alma mater, Wyotech, showed its confidence in her skills and its Custom Automotive Fabrication program by hiring her to build a car with another student. Within six months, Jessi and fellow student Ben built and showcased their creation at a specialty equipment event in Las Vegas. The car was auctioned, and Jessi set off to make her place beyond Wyotech. The automotive and collision school recognizes her as one of its most successful students, and honored her contribution to the field of automotive fabrication with the “Jessi Combs Foundation Scholarship,” which is awarded to young women pursuing the trades and careers in other male-dominated industries.

Work and Television

Jessi ventured out on her own as soon as she completed her contract with Wyotech after her car was auctioned off for charity; she moved to California and opened a fabrication shop. Television executives soon came calling, drawn in by her skills, passion, and desire to bring more women into motorsports and automotive fabrication. She first appeared on television as a guest fabricator in “Overhaulin’”, before securing a permanent position as a co-host of Spike Tv’s “Xtreme 4×4.” She co-hosted over 90 episodes of the show over four years, building everything from small to large and complicated machines with co-host Ian Johnson, until a freak accident in 2007 led her to leave the show.

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An accident involving machinery falling on her that fractured her spine and had her bedridden for months, didn’t dampen Jessi’s resolve to pursue her passion for speed racing, and building cars from scratch. As soon as she recovered from the accident and regained mobility, Jessi was back on television. Her appeal was largely based on her ability to pique her audience’s interest in the things she was building, her expertise, and the maintenance of her integrity in her craft. She made appearances on “Pirate 4X4,” “Bosch 125,” and “2 Guys Garage”, and was a regular in several shows on the Velocity Channel, including “All Girls Garage” and “The List: 1001 Car Things To Do Before You Die.” Jessi even graced fans’ television screens after her death, following the release of a documentary she’d been filming for years before her death.

Achievements

Jessi’s success in her career as a fabricator didn’t come close to the success she enjoyed as a performance driver and speed racer. She had always loved racing for fun, but didn’t venture into speed racing as a career until she trained as a performance driver for some of her television shows. After her training, she could drive anything with wheels, from monster trucks and rally cars to super speed cars and hot rods. As her experience and confidence as a driver grew, Jessi ventured into stunt driving, and started to enter professional racing events. At the height of her career, Jessi raced in the most difficult races and tracks. She became the first female driver to record a win in the Ultra4’s King of the Hammers in 2014, having already won the Baja 1000 and a National Championship.

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Some of Jessi’s wins broke records and elevated her to a position she enjoyed as a role model for women in motorsports. For instance, in 2013, Jessi set the record for the Fastest Woman on Four Wheels when she reached 440mph and recorded an average speed of 398mph while driving the car that would kill her in six years. Two years later, she finished first in an all-women off-road drive across the Sahara Desert, and in the same year, Jessi became the first woman in history to compete in “The Race of Gentlemen”, and wrote a children’s book about a young girl who rode motorcycles. As an influential woman in a male-dominated industry, Jessi used all her wins as a platform to inspire girls and women to take their place in the trades and sports.

Fatal Accident

Jessi started her preparations for the most defining moment of her career years before she boarded the car that took her life, but helped her carve a place for herself in the Guinness Book of World Records, documenting the journey that would culminate with the historic moment when she would be crowned the fastest woman, after setting a new land-speed record. In addition to practicing and documenting her journey, Jessi had taken another important step. She’d visited Kitty O’Neil, the woman whose record she intended to break, to seek permission. Kitty was honored by the gesture, and passed on the torch to Jessi.

With years of training and experience, a car she knew well and had used to set another record in the past, and the blessing of her hero, Jessi was unstoppable. She set off across the Alvord Desert under the full view of the cameras. Everything seemed to be going well until one of her vehicle’s front wheels failed. At the time of the incident, she was cruising at 550mph, making it impossible for her to recover from the damaged front wheel. Within seconds, the vehicle crashed, Jessi hit her head against one of its surfaces, and the vehicle exploded in flames. Jessi was dead of blunt force trauma, before the vehicle caught on fire.

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Further investigations showed that the wheel failure was not caused by mechanical problems in the vehicle. Rather, Jessi hit an object along her path, which led to the collapse of the front wheel assembly. The nature of the object has remained a mystery, but it lay along the dry lake bed in which Jessi drew her last breath. The speed racing legend died at 39, after breaking Kitty O’Neil’s record of 512 mph. In her death, the honor she chased in the last moments of her life was conferred upon Jessi Combs. She currently holds the record for the fastest land speed record (female) of 522.783 mph or 841.338 kph. Her name is enshrined in the Speed Racing Hall of Fame.

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What is “American Chopper” cast doing now 20 years after premiere?

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It’s been twenty full years since “American Chopper” first burst onto the scene, and changed the way we looked at motorcycles forever. We were captivated by the drama between Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. Teutul, the main stars of the show, as they bickered their way through every episode. So, what happened after the show ended? Where did everyone go?

The cast of “American Chopper” has spread out over the last two decades, but that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped working on motorcycles. From custom-built machines to charitable works, the cast continue to churn out projects worthy of admiration. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what everyone’s up to now. In this article, we’ll dive into the world post- “American Chopper”—what each member of its original cast is up to now, and how it reflects back on their time on the show.

What is “American Chopper”?

If you’re a fan of the hit American reality TV show “American Chopper”, you’re no stranger to the drama between the Teutul family. The show has been capturing audiences around the world for over 20 years now, and with it, fans have come to love and sometimes hate the entire crew. The show premiered on Discovery Channel in 2003, introducing us to Paul Teutul Sr. and his sons Paul Jr. and Michael. The show follows their lives at Orange County Choppers, their custom bike shop in Rock Tavern, New York State, and documents the conflicts between father and his sons as they work together on over-the-top motorbike builds for celebrity customers, and create jaw-dropping bikes for various clients and contests.

Through it all, fans watched in awe as these skilled craftsmen crafted motorcycles from scratch and worked through their very real family issues—allthe  while making us laugh along with them! The series was shifted to TLC In December of 2007, with its first season premiering in January of 2008. In February of 2010, the channel cancelled the show, only for it to return as a spinoff “American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior” that same year; it lasted two years before being cancelled as well. The original series was revived between 2018 and 2019, with a special entitled “American Chopper: The Last Ride” airing in August 2020. Now that it’s been 20 years since this show’s premiere, let’s take a look at what each member of the cast is up to today…

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Paul Teutul Sr.

Paul Teutul Sr. may have been the star of “American Chopper”, but it looks like the man still has plenty of skills to show off. After the show ended in 2010, he founded Paul Sr. Designs, and continued to work in custom auto fabrication. In recent years, he’s even brought his sons onto the team – now, Paul Jr. Designs and Paul Sr. Designs exist under one roof. Paul Sr., known for his laid-back, affectionate leadership style, remains an iconic figure in the motorcycle industry, a motorcycle designer and fabricator, and co-owner of both Orange County Choppers and Paul Sr. Designs, the former based outside of New York City and the latter in Rock Tavern. As part of his work in the business, he still produces custom motorcycles for clients who come looking for his unique designs. In addition to his auto business, Paul Sr. also takes on special projects from time to time—such as being asked to transform a Boeing 737 fuselage into a fully functioning RV for tech-billionaire Elon Musk!

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Unfortunately, Paul Sr. is no stranger to lawsuits, and has been involved in quite a few over the years. From suing his son, Paul Jr., to being sued by professional photographer Scott Gunnells, as well as business partner Thomas Derbyshire, to filing for bankruptcy, the family patriarch sure made headlines, albeit for the wrong reasons.

While he may be popular for his impressive bike customization, he’s almost as popular for his wide range of tattoos across his body. In 2019, he launched a product named ‘Tattseal’, a topical medicine derived from bioceuticals, which he claims to reduce pain and inflammation from tattoos. All in all, it looks like Paul’s life post the show has been full of interesting projects, that make the most of his talents and passion for automotive design.

Paul Teutul Jr.

Since his time on “American Chopper”, Paul Jr. has made a string of television appearances, including a stint on “Celebrity Apprentice” in 2009. He’s also starred in numerous other shows, such as “American Dad”, “RuPaul’s Drag Race”, and “The Grand Tour”; in addition, he’s made several cameos in TV shows such as “The Big Bang Theory” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm”.

Paul Jr. also remains a successful entrepreneur in the motorcycle industry, although he no longer works with OCC or on his father’s business ventures. His current enterprise is his own custom fabrication shop called Paul Jr. Designs, which offers custom design services as well as produces a wide variety of accessories such as T-shirts and coffee cups for motorcyclists worldwide. He’s won many awards for his designs, and even created custom bikes for clients such as Jon Bon Jovi and Kid Rock. Moreover, he occasionally makes cameo appearances in other TV shows such as  “Counting Cars” and “Fast N’ Loud”, to showcase some of his pieces of work.

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Paul is also an entrepreneur and launched a clothing line called Paul Jr Designs. He sells hats, T-shirts, hoodies, and accessories such as mugs with his branding. His website also includes detailed pictures of the custom motorcycles that we have seen him building in the show. In 2019, he partnered with Wayne Carini for Discovery Channel’s MotorTrend Network’s launch of “Chasing Classic Cars”– a weekly series showcasing cars and automotive industry experts.

At the end of 2019, Paul announced that he was taking some much-needed rest from public life to spend more time enjoying privacy with his family and friends. While it remains unclear how much more we will see from him in public, one thing is clear – Paul Teutul Jr. will always be remembered for his role in creating the iconic show “American Chopper”!

Mikey Teutul

When it comes to Mikey Teutul, the youngest son of Paul Teutul Sr., you might be wondering what’s he been up to since the show ended. After appearing on the show for several years, Mikey left in 2011, and a lot has changed in his life since then. Mikey is now a professional driver, and has appeared in several racing shows like MotorTrend’s “Fastest Car”, but his true passion lies with off-roadingThroughout this journey, he’s also found success as an Off-Road Champion and a professional race car driver. . He’s also expanded into creating custom off-road parts which are manufactured by his own company, MOX Offroad Gear.

It’s no secret that Mikey has always had a passion for customization, something that was evident during his time on “American Chopper”. Even before leaving the show, he was already working on his own projects, such as building mini-bikes and customizing cars. In 2016, he even launched two luxury electric bikes under the brand Epic Bikes, and attempted to raise funds for them through crowd-funding websites Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Mikey has certainly gone through many changes in the past few years ever since the show ended its glorious run—but it’s clear that his love of customization still remains strong!

Mikey is focusing on family these days, after his departure from Orange County Choppers in 2008. The younger son of Paul Sr, and big brother to Daniel seems to be living a quiet life away from any major business operations, with wife Veronica Sizemore-Teutul since 2013 according to public records. He continues to be an advocate for animal rescue organizations, and enjoys painting when he’s not working on cars and motorcycles

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Christian Welter

Christian Welter played a supporting role as OCC’s foreman, fabricator and head mechanic in the series “American Chopper”, and 20 years later he’s now a successful entrepreneur. After his time on the show, Welter started his own metal fabrication shop – CW Fabrications—located near OCC. He works on custom motorcycles, sculpts and designs parts for them as well. He also runs a bike-building business called ‘CW Garage’, that builds show pieces from scratch, along with some uniquely designed limited edition collections. In the past decade or so, Welter has been an active member of the motorcycle community.

On top of that, Welter also owns C3 Powersports, a full-service powersports dealership offering rentals, sales, accessories and service for ATV’s, UTV’s and more. He’s also an accomplished steel sculptor, whose work has been featured in various cities across the country. Besides that, he chairs a motorcycle charity event every year, which benefits disabled veterans throughout the US and Canada, by providing them with appropriate transportation.

Vinnie DiMartino

While fans of the show were kept entertained by the almost-daily conflicts and bickering between father and his sons, one person truly stood out: Vinnie DiMartino. As the store’s mechanic and fabricator, Vinnie was usually seen keeping his head down and staying out of the conflicts. Fans knew him for his dedication to his craft, and his especially calm nature in the hectic workplace. In 2007, he ended his journey with both OCC and the show, deciding to move on with his own ventures.

He founded his own garage, VForceCustoms, citing, ‘…I really didn’t have any chance for advancement, and I had always wanted to have my own shop, so the natural progression was to leave and start my own place.’. He went on to run his store for five years, while working as a contractor for former castmate, Paul Jr. By 2013, DiMartino had sold all his bikes, replacing them with cars. He bought car-related inventory, before opening DiMartino Motorsports, primarily a truck and car repair company based in Walden, New York.

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Where can you find the cast?

Despite the cast going their separate ways, quite fortunately fans can still catch a glimpse of their lives thanks to the wonders of modern technology. From social media to websites, there are a lot of ways for dedicated fans and curious newcomers alike to see what the cast members of “American Chopper” have been up to. Paul Sr., Paul Jr., Mikey, Christian and Vinnie each have active social media accounts, with many on both Twitter and Instagram, a great way to stay up-to-date with their interests and activities. Plus, many post photos and videos from their time on the show—as well as more recent projects.

How much are they each worth?

The show’s cast has gone on to become some of the most recognizable names in the motorbike building industry. But have you ever wondered how much their celebrity status is worth?

  • Paul Teutul Sr, who founded Orange County Choppers in 1999, is worth an estimated $500,000 as of 2023. Despite his lengthy career and business ventures, recent bankruptcy and multiple lawsuits have seen his net worth dwindle considerably. He continues to work as a custom motorcycle designer and fabricator, often making appearances on television shows and commercials. He’s also branching out into other businesses related to custom motorcycling. and owns a line of merchandise.
  • Paul Teutul Jr., who co-founded Orange County Choppers, is estimated to be worth $10 million as of 2023. He went his own way after the family drama, created Paul Jr. Designs (now Paul Jr. Technologies), specializing in custom bike builds, as well as designing products for other companies such as Scion and Ford Motor Co.
  • Mikey Teutul has an estimated net worth of $2 million as of 2023. After leaving the family business in 2009, he started his own production company, Gas Monkey Garage. Mikey was also able to leverage his celebrity status by launching Gas Monkeys Clothing in 2017 which has become a popular brand throughout the US and Europe.

Summary

It is no surprise that the cast members of “American Chopper” have gone on to do great things, 20 years since the show premiered. While most have continued their passion for motorcycle design and fabrication, even launching their own custom bikes and apparel lines, others have opted for different ventures including cars, tattoos, lines of merchandise and clothing. Overall, this pioneering show helped create a brand-new industry that many people can enjoy today. Cast members have certainly made their mark in the world of custom motorcycles, inspiring new generations of bike builders with their unique vision and expertise.

Conclusion

All in all, the cast of “American Chopper” still remain some of the most popular faces in TV history. The show’s success has stood the test of time, and the cast’s ongoing commitment to their craft and passion continues to captivate viewers today. From their early days of building bikes together to their current projects, the cast sure have come a long way in the past two decades. They continue to inspire and entertain fans all over the world with their unique style and dedication to the show. Whether you’re a fan of the show or simply curious about the cast, there’s no denying that the show has provided top-tier entertainment for many years.

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