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How Danny Koker Turned His Passion for Cars into a Hit TV Show

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For 10 seasons, History Channel’s “Counting Cars” featured the restoration and customization of vehicles from choppers to hot rods at Count’s Kustoms owned by Danny “The Count” Koker, along with the wheeling and dealing of them. As he lives and breathes cars, the Las Vegas car flipper has been known to do whatever it takes to acquire those that he wants, even making cash-on-the-spot deals. He was the creative genius behind every project, so it wasn’t surprising that his hobby evolved into a thriving business and a successful reality TV show.

Get to know Danny Koker

Daniel Nicholas Koker II was born in 1964, in Ohio, USA, and spent the majority of his youth in Cleveland, or every summer with his cousins in Detroit, Michigan, from where his father hailed. As far back as he could remember, his interest lay in bikes and automobiles, as he grew up around them, saying that it was in his blood. At one time or another, his relatives on his father’s side had worked at Ford Motor Company, and one of his uncles was a biker, who had Harleys, Indians, and hot rods back then.

Danny was eight when his father bought him his first motorcycle, and he’s been riding two wheels since then. If he were to single out a car that started it all for him, it would be the 1966 GT 350 that his father brought home one day, and which the latter eventually passed down to him before he died in 2008 at the age of 75. ‘That Mustang…What an impression a car like that makes on a nine-year-old kid – going into the garage at night when no one’s around, opening things up and tinkering with things.’ He understood how people become attached to or fall in love with all sorts of things – clothes, shoes, or pieces of jewelry; for him, it was cars and bikes.

As to what got him hooked on customizing cars, it was his first car, a 1979 Chevrolet Camaro Z28. He was 17 when he took the car apart, customized it from front to back, and made it into a street-style Can-Am race car. Restoring a classic car or saving it from being relegated to a pile of junk is something that he loves to do, being the car addict that he is. Even if it was for a customer, he still found it a blast to bring people’s dreams back to life.

His passion for music

Danny’s father was a musician, composer-arranger, and singer in many bands and quartets such as The Cathedral Quartet, Foggy River Boys, The Rex Humbard Family Singers and The Koker Family Singers. As a pianist, he played for Pat Boone and his family, June Carter and Johnny Cash, and Mahalia Jackson.  He brought up his son in music, and 11-year-old Danny once performed at Carnegie Hall. Danny’s background was in gospel music, and he was later influenced by R&B and hard rock in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

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‘Music really really feeds my soul,’ Danny said. He has been doing it for most of his life and only stepped away from it for a time when he focused on cars and motorcycles. Later on, he somehow found a balance between his shop and his hard rock band, Count’s 77, with him as the frontman. He owned a recording studio, and wrote the lyrics of most of the songs in their self-titled album “Soul Transfusion” released under Shrapnel Records. During weekends, he was out performing in various cities or at his rock club called Count’s Vamp’d Rock Bar & Grill. He feels a connection to his father every time he does music, and this is important to him.

His passion for cars

As of 2019, he had about 100 cars in his collection – at one point he had 135, but had been trying to slow down and get rid of some vehicles that he thought other people would enjoy more, considering he wasn’t spending that much time driving them. On a regular basis, he’d been personally driving around 25 to 30 cars, with the rest kept in what he referred to as dry storage, in which they were sort of put to sleep.

The most powerful one that he has in his collection is the 1932 Ford Roadster, one of the oldest hot rods in the US. He and his father bought it in 1983, and he kept it in the mid-1970s  configuration. The flame was done by Von Dutch, a pioneer in doing paint work in custom vehicles. It was chosen by Mattel Corporation for its Hot Wheels collection. The next one was a 1983 Lamborghini Countach 5000S Super Quatro, an extremely rare car.

Danny has a list of cars that he prays he never has to sell. On top of the list is his father’s ‘66 Mustang GT 350, followed by his mother’s 1955 Chevy Bel Air convertible with a turquoise and ivory finish. His mom had one when she was young, and his dad bought another one and restored it for her as a gift. Selling his cars had never been easy for Danny, and he always felt heartbroken whenever one left his shop. He even kept tabs on some of those cars, as he informed the new owners that if they ever wanted to get rid of them, they should give him a call, because he might want to buy them back.

His collection was already quite impressive, but there was one that he’d always wanted but never got his hands on – a 1972 Lamborghini Miura SV. He considered it one of the most gorgeous cars ever made, and came close to owning one years ago, and thought it was a done deal, but the guy from Palm Beach, Florida had got sentimental over the car at the last minute and couldn’t let it go. Danny understood where the guy was coming from as he’d done the same thing in the past.

Danny loves all kinds of cars for different reasons, and so when asked if he has a favorite, he said that he really can’t narrow it down to just one.

From hobby to business

‘When you spend literally your entire life—starting as a hobby and then evolving into an actual business—it really is a self-taught type of thing.’ He shared that other than the basic shop class and automotive class he attended in high school, he learned whatever it was he needed to know by taking things apart to see how they worked, and then figuring out how to put them all back together. Danny set roots with Count’s Kustoms as a hobby shop in a small warehouse in Las Vegas for five years, before it officially became a business. They chose that name simply because everybody in Sin City already knew the Count, as it was Danny’s character when he hosted a television show that lasted about a decade.

The shop was initially focused on doing custom choppers; Danny hooked up with Shannon Aikau and they built a crazy chopper that he had in mind, and it went from there. People took notice, and word spread about their bikes. They made various kinds although leaning towards long bikes. ‘I feel like our bikes are a good combination of old school chopper…combined with modern drive trains so that they become functional.’ Many found their bikes to be cool but doubted that they would run, and he was happy to prove them wrong. He said that one could ride an 11-foot-long chopper all day long if it was built correctly, and its geometry was correct.

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Interestingly, they didn’t make sketches of the bikes, they just sat around and talked ideas. He said that at his shop, everyone had ideas, and so they all worked together as a team to make them come to life. Style was the most important; their bikes had to look cool.

The shop was getting recognition, as their builds were being featured in magazines and TV shows, and this meant more work for them. Soon the business expanded, and he hired more mechanics, fabricators, and those that would do administrative work. Danny admitted to not being a morning person, so he would come in late after checking in with Kevin Mack, his right-hand man. He would make his rounds to see how everybody was doing, inspect the vehicles and see what state they were in, and then approve or critique the work.

Owning a business is great, as he’s his own boss. The downside is that he’s the one who’s ultimately responsible for everything. When the pressure and the stress got to be too much, he would get on the chopper and ride all the worries away. Riding a bike is therapeutic for him.

How does he choose his projects?

Danny said, ‘You’ve got to start with a decent enough vehicle that you feel you can make a profit from by the time you’re done with it.’ If it was only up to him, he would be looking for something he wished he could have had in the past, or he had a personal connection with. As a business owner, Danny is always checking the market on what cars are selling. He would make an assessment of both the creative and financial aspects of it – he had to know that if he did something to it, the car would look cool. Completing a project takes a lot of time and money, so it has to be worth it in the end.

Out of all the cars he’s restored, the one that meant a lot to him, he said, was the two-time Grammy Award winner Barry White’s 1979 Stutz IV-Porte. It was what Danny called ‘the Car of Kings’ as some of Hollywood’s Royalty owned one, including Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis Jr. The widow of the “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” singer Barry is a personal friend of Danny, and she asked for his help in locating the last car that her husband owned and drove.  Fortunately they found it, bought it back, and restored it to its former glory for Barry’s family.

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The hardest project he tackled was a full custom chopper for Ozzy Osbourne, as he said, ‘It was really a challenging build, because we really wanted it to reflect what would be Ozzy’s flavor without it being like a theme bike.’ Since Ozzy loved crosses, the gas tank was done in the shape of a cross and there were five-spoke crosses on the wheels. They put a Gibson Flying V guitar on the back fender as a tribute to Ozzy’s guitar player, Randy Rhoads, who passed away years ago. The English heavy metal vocalist had this bike for a time before it changed hands – Danny bought it back, and it was on display in his showroom.

Danny’s foray into television

Most people only know Danny from “Pawn Stars” or “Counting Cars,” but his first venture into TV was in “Saturday Fright at the Movies.”

Danny’s father launched the TV station, Channel 29, home to the family’s award-winning show called “Rejoice” in the early 1980s in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 1989, he started the KFBT, Channel 33, in Las Vegas Nevada, which later became a WB affiliate. Danny moved to Las Vegas in 1988, and at that time the TV station that he co-owned was looking for someone to host a late-night show that featured horror movies. He was chosen to do it, and they developed a character named Count Cool Rider, who was a vampire and a huge Elvis fan. He hosted the show from 1989 to 2000, and enjoyed doing it. Of note, the family sold the TV station to Montecito Broadcasting Corporation in 1997.

Guest appearances in “Pawn Stars”

History Channel’s reality TV series, “Pawn Stars,” premiered in 2009, which chronicled the operations of the family-run business, Gold & Silver Pawn Shop based in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was originally managed by the patriarch “Old Man” Harrison with his son Rick, grandson Corey, and Corey’s friend Chumlee.

As customers brought in a variety of items that they wanted to pawn or sell; there were instances when experts were called in to appraise those items, and Danny Koker was one of them. One time, he was asked to verify a 1968 Mustang GT fastback and its condition. It was the quintessential muscle car, identical to the one that Steve McQueen drove in the neo-noir action thriller, “Bullitt” (1968) – the car chase scene was regarded as the greatest in film history. The car owner wanted $20,000 for it, but Danny put it between $12,000 and $15,000 in the state it was in at that time. After haggling, the price was set at $12,500. It was returned to its former glory by Count’s Kustoms, and cost Rick $22,000, but he was happy with the transformation.

Danny and Rick are friends, and the former rode motorcycles with the latter’s brother for many years. With Danny’s expertise in cars, Rick was interested in making him a regular on the show. It turned out that the producers took notice of not just his skills but also his magnetic personality, and offered him his own reality TV show.

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Danny headlines “Counting Cars” TV series

“Pawn Stars” spawned the spin-off series, “Counting Cars,” with Danny “The Count” Koker at the helm – it chronicled the day-to-day operations of his shop, Count’s Kustoms, as they restored and customized vehicles. He was always on the lookout for cars, motorcycles, or anything interesting, and often did a little wheeling and dealing on the spot, so he could give them a little style or flair. Next came the hard part, as he would have to decide if he would keep it or sell it.

The show was fun to watch even for non-car enthusiasts, and Danny believed that part of the reason was that it was ‘good, clean, family entertainment.’ He shared that initially, the producers tried to present him as a hard-ass kind of guy; they wanted him to be yelling and throwing things around. They convinced him to do that to appease the executives of Leftfield Pictures in New York, but as soon as they stopped filming, he started hugging his boys and telling them he was sorry, and they all began laughing about it. He said, ‘That’s just not me. The boys in my shop are like family. We’ve been together for years.’ After the executive producers watched some of the footage, they told Danny, ‘That is just not you.’ He said that they were then allowed to keep things real in the shop – the show aired for 10 seasons from 2012 to 2021.

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Growing up, the three things that Danny was most passionate about and that he considered to be crucial in his life were music, motorcycles, and cars. It’s still the same to this day, and he said that he’s fortunate that he can do all three. Danny thought that Count’s Kustoms was just going to be a local hot rod and chopper shop, but because of the success of “Counting Cars,” it became known worldwide. When asked what his proudest moment was, he had a hard time answering, but said that it all boiled down to something that would make his father proud of him.

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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How Cornelia Marie Survived a Fire, a Lawsuit, and a Pandemic

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Cornelia Marie is one of the most recognized commercial fishing vessels used in the freezing Alaskan waters, because of its participation in the hit reality television series, “Deadliest Catch,” aired on Discovery Channel. It was under the command of Captain Phil Harris for many years until he died in 2010. Aside from the immense danger F/V Cornelia Marie encountered during the crabbing season, it also underwent a series of misfortunes such as a potential fire accident and a government shutdown due to the pandemic along with being mentioned in lawsuits and scandals. It was nothing short of a miracle that it stayed afloat despite the many incidents that could have sunk the fishing vessel literally and figuratively many times in the past two decades. A recent scandal may change the shipping vessel’s luck, and fans believe that they may never see it again on TV.

The Origins of F/V Cornelia Marie

Contrary to what newer “Deadliest Catch” fans believed, the F/V Cornelia Marie wasn’t named after Captain Phil Harris’ first wife, even if the fishing vessel would be forever identified with him. There was a real-life Cornelia Marie, a native Alaskan married to Ralph Collins who was in the commercial fishing business. Sometime in 1989, the couple invested in a $1.5 million-worth 106-foot crabbing boat, which they had built by known shipbuilder Elmo Horton in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. It was powered by twin Mitsubishi engines with 630 horsepower, and could hold 25,800 gallons of fuel. Ralph named it as such to pay tribute to his wife who deserved it as she was the one handling the accounts books of their fishing business.

His initial plans for the F/V Cornelia Marie were to sail to Seattle by going to the Gulf of Mexico and then passing through the Panama Canal up to the West Coast. However, the US invaded Panama to topple its dictator, Manuel Noriega, and for military reasons, the Panama Canal was closed that one night in December of 1989. It resumed operations the next day, but the fishing vessel was stuck there for a little over a week, and by the time it reached Seattle, the crabbing season was well underway. Ralph became its temporary captain as there wasn’t any time to find a new one, however, staying at sea for long periods of time wasn’t good for their young family, so they looked for someone they could trust at the helm of the boat. They found Phil Harris, and when they offered him a quarter stake of ownership as well as a chance to run a newly-built state-of-the-art boat, he was stupefied. Ralph said that he had seen others easily walk away to better offers, so he made sure that the new captain would be a part owner of the boat to persuade him to stay as long as possible.

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Cornelia Marie and Phil Harris

When Captain Phil Harris was hired to command F/V Cornelia Marie at the end of 1990, the owners didn’t realize that he lacked a formal technical engineering education. They only knew that he was knowledgeable about it, and that he had this in-your-face confidence, and Phil was smart enough to hire the most competent engineer he could find to help him run the boat. Most of what he knew was from experience and gut instinct. He was astute enough to learn every single piece of gadget or equipment inside the boat, so it was uncanny that he would know, even before his crew or engineer did, if something was wrong with the ship just by its sound. During the early years, Ralph would sometimes be the skipper of the boat when in halibut season, but when it was time for crab hunting, Phil took the wheel.

Scariest moments in F/V Cornelia Marie

Accidents do happen, but everything is scarier if one is in the middle of a wide ocean. It reminded everyone in the crab fleet of the hazardous aspect of their profession, but Phil would often tell his sons, ‘You can’t take it personally or it will drive you insane.’ However, his son said that one couldn’t help but take it personally, especially if dead bodies were floating around!

Swept overboard

Those who hadn’t been onboard a crab fishing vessel in the Bering Seas couldn’t relate to the type of risk that the fishermen faced. Phil knew that his sons should accept it if they wanted to continue in this profession. One time, a deckhand was swept overboard, and it took about five minutes for the rest of the crew to realize that he was gone. However, with the kind of waves that they encountered, no one could find him and all they could see was empty waters around the boat. It was the reason why Captain Phil would constantly observe from the wheelhouse window just to check if everyone was where they were supposed to be.

Confronted gigantic waves head on

Another scary moment Phil had aboard Cornelia Marie was when he was about to hand over the wheelhouse to his relief skipper, and they were confronted by a huge wave. They both saw it but there was nothing they could do. It popped open the glass window, so gallons and gallons of water entered and even knocked down the lights. It wasn’t Phil’s first time to experience it, because he was still in his teens working for his father when a similar thing happened. He had learned not to panic, so he just took on a hammer and boarded up the window with plywood. The fishing vessel had encountered these kinds of waves for many years, and while it was dangerous, it had become a normal occurrence for him. However, Phil never thought they would face a gigantic wave that they estimated to be over 100 feet high. As he knew it was coming, he made sure that it wouldn’t hit the boat on its side, so he collided with it head-on. The crew described it as if they were in a car driving on a steep mountain road going up to the peak but with no road at the other side so it was like falling off a cliff. Cornelia Marie fell loudly and broke the boat’s two solid heavy steel rudders.

Oil leakage in the engine room

During the 11th season of “Deadliest Catch,” Josh Harris took over as co-Captain of F/V Cornelia Marie, along with his father’s long-time buddy, Engineer Casey McManus. One of the things a captain wouldn’t want to hear from the radio was that there was a fire somewhere in the boat, specifically coming from the engine bay. It smelled of smoke and fire down there, but Josh immediately checked it out and saw that there was oil spillage in the room. They all knew it was a dangerous moment and so the fishing stopped so they could all focus on the problem. The oil line blew, and fire could easily flare up if it wasn’t fixed immediately. In these situations, the technical know-how and experience of co-Captain Casey McManus came into play. Josh said, ‘This is the reason why I’m not a full-fledged captain because of situations like these. I don’t even know what’s going on down there.’ Flames were averted, and they didn’t need to make an emergency stop in their crabbing operation to return to town.

Crabbing shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic

One would think that the crab fishing industry wouldn’t be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, considering it would involve being in the vast waters of the Bering Sea off Alaska. Each year, the industry would depend on the annual surveys conducted by the government as they advocated sustainable fisheries management in Alaska. These surveys were the cornerstone of how the industry would proceed annually, on what limitations the fishermen would have in their harvest. Unfortunately, due to uncertainties brought about by the pandemic, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in May 2020 reported that they’d canceled certain surveys. As a result, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game made an historic announcement that the red king crab fishery would be closed for the 2021-2022 season – the F/V Cornelia Marie captains then made the necessary adjustments to their fishing activities. The danger just went up many notches, as they hunted for other species in the sea, but they didn’t have any choice since their livelihood was at stake.

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Fishing operation expenses soared higher

The operating expenses for Cornelia Marie went up just like most of the other fishing boats in the Bering Sea. It was hard flying in due to flight regulations, plus getting crew members to join was another matter, since most people were afraid of contracting the virus; they needed to pay up to 10 times the usual rate so they could get crew. It was even harder with restrictions on getting in and out of processing plants. To make it easier for Josh Harris, he reached out to Shane, who was Phil Harris’ son from his first relationship. Josh idolized his older brother and was grateful Shane agreed to help them out.

Golden King Crab fishing at a deeper and more dangerous level

With red crab fishing out of the equation, co-Captains Josh and Casey sailed out to hunt for golden king crabs as an alternative source of income, or else file for bankruptcy. To get these species, they needed to use 10 shots of the line instead of the regular two lines that they used for red crabs. What they normally did in red crab fishing was dangerous enough, but golden king crab fishing was harder, as they needed to place the pots out in the water 10 times deeper, such a complicated process that took a long time to do. One golden king crab pot set-up was equal to having to set up seven red crab pots. The whole crew wasn’t ready for it, and they all found it creepy and tiring.

Cornelia Marie and Time Bandit joined forces

If putting down the crab pots in the deep water was extremely exhausting, hauling them up was even more so, and quite tricky as well. As a result, they lost some of them so they needed to do it differently. Since they were all quite new to this type of fishing, the Cornelia Marie crew asked for help from another fishing vessel, the Time Bandit. Its captain, Jonathan Hillstrand, was cool enough to give them a hand. The captains of both vessels came up with a plan, which seemed great on paper, but Josh Harris said, ‘To be quite honest with you, I didn’t quite understand what Jonathan and Casey had going on.’ He said that they had all witnessed crazier things in their boats, but the plan worked out wonderfully without anyone getting hurt or ending up in a body bag. The funny thing was that the production crew of “Deadliest Catch” asked them if they could do it again at a slower pace, but they all said no, as it was just a one-time deal. The co-Captains even told them there was no way they could slow it down – it was as if telling them to jump out of a car at 60 miles per hour.

The scandals and lawsuits surrounding the Harris Brothers

The F/V Cornelia Marie had always been associated with the late Phil Harris, so any controversial news that came out about his sons, the fishing vessel was always mentioned. Also, both his sons, Josh and Jake, worked in the fishing boat after he passed away. The legendary captain might have been wild during his heyday, but he had never been in serious scandals that involved law enforcement.

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Jake Harris was in and out of jail

Growing up in a dysfunctional home and without a great role model, Phil’s younger son Jake turned to alcohol and drugs to cope with his problems. Just a week after his father died in 2010, Jake was arrested for driving under the influence. He crashed Phil’s BMW 3 series into another car, after driving erratically and with a suspended license, so spent a night in jail before he was bailed out.

The second time he was arrested was in 2017 for drug possession and theft. He ditched the married woman he was having an affair with after spending the night in a hotel, which wouldn’t have been a problem if he hadn’t taken her car. When the police caught up with him, they found illegal drugs on him such as meth and Xanax. He failed to attend the subsequent hearing, and so the judge issued an arrest warrant.

His run-ins with the law didn’t stop there, as Jake was involved in a police chase after he refused to present his ID when he was confronted by park rangers in a state park. He looked unkempt and out of it that when he bolted out, and they chased after him; apparently, he had heroin with him along with a stolen firearm. He was arrested and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment. He was also required to install an ignition interlock mechanism in whatever car he was to drive after completing his jail sentence. After he was out of prison, it didn’t take long for him to be re-arrested for DUI.

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Josh Harris was fired from “Deadliest Catch”

Cornelia Marie’s absence in the latest season of “Deadliest Catch” sparked curiosity among fans, as most of them wanted to see Josh Harris continue the legacy of their father. Some of them thought that the boat’s absence might have something to do with the younger Harris, because he was the one who was always in trouble, so fans were shocked when it was reported that Josh Harris was fired from the reality TV series. Several speculations surfaced, but nobody was prepared for the exact reason why his services were terminated. Apparently, a report came out in September 2022 that one of the favorite captains from “Deadliest Catch” was a pedophile.

The reports said that Josh Harris was embroiled in a sexual abuse case dating back to 1998. At that time he was around 15 years old, and it was the mother of the girl who reported the abuse to the police. The entertainment site, Factz, wrote, ‘Josh Harris digitally, vaginally and orally raped a 4-year-old girl 7/14/1998.’ He was able to commit the nefarious act because the victim was a neighbor, and the daughter of a deckhand. While semen was found on the scene during the investigation, Josh wasn’t arrested immediately since DNA processing wasn’t that advanced yet. It took the investigators quite a while to make a case against him. As a minor, Josh was initially put into house confinement under the watchful eyes of his father and stepmother, and charged with Fourth Degree Assault and Communicating with a Minor for Immoral Purposes. He was imprisoned for nine months, and was ordered to undergo a psychological sexual examination.

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Discovery Channel was one of the last people to know about it, but once it came to light, they quietly cut ties with Josh Harris and removed the spin-off series in which he featured back in 2022 from the menu program of its streaming service.

The F/V Cornelia Marie survived all the misfortunes and challenges that came its way in the past, but many people believed that this incident might figuratively bury the fishing vessel at the bottom of the sea, never to resurface.

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How rich are Ben and Erin Napier? Health Update

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Whether they’re renovating an old house or a whole town, it’s always a pleasure to see Ben and Erin Napier on our TV screens. Ever since the launch of their show “Home Town”, the couple has been bringing houses back to life all around Laurel, Mississippi by combining their love for antique styles with modernity.

While Erin and Ben have gained hearts everywhere due to their light-hearted personalities, sweet love story, and family, they’re also admirable for their work, the stable business they’ve built through it, and all the hardships they’ve faced to get where they are today.

So where are the Napiers now and how did they get there? Stay here to learn more about Ben and Erin’s whereabouts, including their net worth, fame, their story, and current shows.

How Rich Are They?

Erin and Ben Napier have become widely popular for their sense of style and charisma on screen. That being said, the couple has gained more than only fame and followers, but also led them to amass a net worth of $5 million combined, according to online reports.

This fortune partially comes from their career on TV, which includes their brand show “Home Town” and its spin-offs “Home Town Takeover” and “Ben’s Workshop”, on top of landing some tremendous advertising deals thanks to it, as seen on their social media.

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Nonetheless, a huge part of their fortune comes from their several active businesses, including the well-known retailer Laurel Mercantile, the furniture and tools maker Scotsman Co and Scotsman Manufacturing. All of these companies were opened years after the Napiers’ rise to fame, as before that Erin and Ben owned the now-disappeared wedding and event boutique Lucky Luxe. As well, Ben was a church minister before becoming a TV personality.

All in all, Ben and Erin had done an excellent job at not only becoming one of the most well-known house renovators on TV, but also at earning  a modest fortune doing what they love.

What Are Their Businesses About?

Although we know Erin and Ben Napier for their work as house renovators, they do more than that when cameras are off. For a start, Laurel Mercantile is a retailer of lifestyle and decorative items, opened in 2016 by the Napiers in Laurel. The company is a renewal of the original Laurel Mercantile, which opened in 1901 to serve as one of the biggest goods suppliers in town, before its closure in 1930.

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The couple also owns Scotsman Co, a woodwork and manufacturer where Ben turns his love for woodwork into authentic pieces of usable furniture, and other home items. The name is in honor of Ben’s Scottish heritage, and has turned into an international sensation thanks to its features in “Home Town” and its spin-offs.

Scotsman Co sells its items online and at Scotsman General Store, located next to Laurel Mercantile’s second store location opened in 2018.

Last but not least, Ben and Erin are the proud owners of Scotsman Manufacturing, which produces most of the items sold through Laurel Mercantile. Founding a manufacturing company is a step forward in accomplishing Erin and Ben’s goal of selling American-made products only.

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Health Update

It’s no secret that Erin and Ben Napier have gone through their fair share of hardships, especially when it comes to health. For several years into their marriage, Ben and Erin had been unable to welcome any children due to health issues on her side, resulting from a perforated appendix.

Nonetheless, that seems to be a thing of the past now, as the couple happily welcomed two daughters after Erin was completely cured of her illness. As well, Erin underwent throat surgery in late 2022, but has recovered just fine from it, and seems to be significantly well in most health-related aspects these days.

On his part, Ben doesn’t have any long-lasting and serious health problems as far as is known, though in April 2023 he suffered a shoulder injury which left him confined to bed for a while.

According to Erin, Ben had some problems involving his rotator cuff, bone spur, and cartilage, though further details about whatever happened to him weren’t revealed outside of the fact he had to undergo weeks of therapy and use a sling. Even so, Ben appeared content in the pics posted by his wife, as she and their daughters were taking care of him while he was confined to home during his recovery.

What Is Erin Napier’s Illness About?

While the Napiers aren’t extremely secretive about their personal issues, Erin’s now-cured illness is one of those topics that the couple rarely talks about.

As it happened, from the age of 19, Erin experienced intense abdominal physical pain and fever, a condition which significantly worsened as time passed. Despite seeing several doctors, no one was able to give her clear answers for years, leaving Erin with the terrible uncertainty of not knowing what was going on with her.

It wasn’t until she underwent exploratory surgery in 2014 that doctors found out that Erin was suffering from a perforated appendix, which healed itself by spreading tissue all over her organs. Doctors had been unable to find out she was suffering from this condition due to how rare it was, but it was finally time for Erin to turn the page of this chapter of her life after so many years.

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While Erin’s pain was gone along with her appendix, the situation resulted in some mental health issues for Erin, such as having ‘extreme fear’ and ‘preoccupation with sickness’, as she confessed on Instagram in 2022: ‘My brain, without my permission, sets off on a fight or flight mission to save my life, when my life is not in any danger at all’, she wrote.

Despite the many problems caused by long-lasting health issues, Erin’s overcome them all.

Children

Even though she recovered well from her perforated appendix removal in 2014, Erin was told that the possibility of becoming pregnant was an unlikely one. Regarding her feelings at the time, she told People: ‘Not knowing is always the biggest hurdle for me to overcome. I like to have proof, and we had no proof that I would be able to have kids.’

Given all of Erin’s problems conceiving and the health-related hardships she faced, it was a big surprise for her and Ben to find out she was pregnant with their first child on 2017’s Mother’s Day. Although some small bits of their journey to become parents can be seen in “Home Town” second season, the couple kept the news about their first baby low key for several months, until finally making the big announcement in October that year.

 

In January 2018, the pair happily welcomed their daughter Helen, who was named in honor of Erin’s grandmother. Nonetheless, the surprises weren’t over for the Napiers, as the news of having a second baby was also unexpected, only finding out about it when Erin started developing sudden allergies. Their second daughter named Mae was born in May 2021, and was another happy addition into the family.

What Is Going On With The Napiers?

A lot has been going for the Napiers in recent times – early in 2022, they released the third show of their franchise entitled “Home Town Kickstarter”, which focused on renovations in six towns around the US, looking to preserve the historical value of those buildings and bring them to new life. As if that wasn’t enough, the Napiers also starred in the two online-exclusive series “Talkin’ Shop” and “Erin’spired”, and in April 2023, the pair celebrated “Home Town”s reaching the 100th episode milestone.

The Napiers’ happiness also extends to their private life, as they’ve also recently finished renovations of their second home on the outskirts of their hometown Laurel. As they showed during a sixth season episode of “Home Town” aired in December 2022, they bought the 1930s house in mid-2021, but a lot of changes were needed to turn it into the family’s dream house, including the living room, kitchen, bedrooms, and study, but in the end, they made it all happen.

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As the couple told Southern Living, their new house on the outskirts allows them a lot of peaceful times, and serves as a weekend escape for the family, who felt that their primary home in the center of Laurel was becoming a little too small for their family of four.

All in all, despite all the health issues the Napiers have faced in the past years, these days they seem to be having lots of great times by just enjoying their TV success, and their businesses, always putting their family above everything else.

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Meet the Newest Swamp Baby: Pickle Wheat’s Daughter Is Here!

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Hunting ‘gators isn’t the easiest job around, yet there’s a group of people who live around the Atchafalaya River Basin who aren’t only more than willing to dedicate their lives to it but also enjoy doing so. As seen in the many seasons of “Swamp People”, catching ‘gators is a work which requires people to be fearless and a little too daring, but it’s worth it both for the money and keeping their familys’ traditions alive.

One of those fearless people is Pickle Wheat, who has demonstrated more than enough that she’s well fitted for the job, despite her young age. Nonetheless, besides being quite accomplished in catching ‘gators, Pickle is also a dedicated family mother, who recently welcomed her second baby.

So who is Pickle’s younger baby, and what’s with her current life? Stay here to know it all!

Did Pickle Wheat Become A Mother?

The “Swamp People” family recently welcomed a new member, who is none other than Pickle Wheat’s youngest baby. The girl was born in April 2023 and was named Maemi Rae, as her mother announced in a lovely Instagram pic at the time, in which the newborn girl could be seen sleeping while wrapped in a flowery blanket.

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Although the arrival of baby Maemi might be surprising for those who don’t follow Pickle’s social media, the truth is that the young ‘gator hunter had already announced her pregnancy back in November 2022, when she posted a Facebook pic of herself, her son, and her boyfriend buying baby clothes: ‘We are blessed beyond belief! This will be the best holiday season yet! I can’t wait to bring my little caboose on the alligator boat!’ she wrote, prompting her followers to ‘stay tuned’ for the following updates on her pregnancy journey.

Said and done, ever since she announced expecting a baby, Pickle grew rather active on social media and especially on Instagram, sharing photos and videos of her young family, and even revealing the name of her daughter a couple of months before giving birth.

All in all, there is nothing else for us than to congratulate Pickle on this chapter in her life.

What Else Is She Doing Now?

Even though it’s unclear if Pickle Wheat is taking time away from the swamps to take care of her newborn, the young ‘gator hunter was still an active “Swamp People” cast member by the time the show’s 14th season premiered in early 2023. Besides going on catching ‘gators, Pickle has some exciting adventures hunting snakes as well, even appearing alongside her mentor, Troy Landry in the third season of his show “Serpent Invasion”.

Although the life of a wild hunter is quite exciting on its own, this doesn’t stop Pickle from focusing on other projects. For a couple of years now, Pickle’s been selling her original designs through her online shop, picklewheat.com, listing everything from shirts to caps and hoodies in it.

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On the same line, Pickle’s popularity has been on the rise for some time now. Only a couple of months after starting her Instagram account in January 2023, Pickle has over 10,000 followers on the pic-sharing platform, added to the more than 100,000 fans she has on her official Facebook page, proving that she’s one of the most popular “Swamp People” stars.

Who Is Pickle Dating Now?

In October 2020, Pickle Wheat caught people’s attention for something very different than catching ‘gators, when she began dating her co-star Chase Landry. Back then the relationship became pretty obvious to anyone who was a fan of the pair, especially given how Pickle wasn’t shy from sharing pics with her boyfriend on her social media.

However, the relationship was short-lived, as a few months lafter Pickle deleted all her photos with Chase from her socials, and even her previous Instagram account at some point. It wasn’t until late 2022 when she shared news of her pregnancy on Facebook, that her followers were introduced to her new boyfriend, Joshua Kippes.

Not much is known about Joshua, except for the fact he’s an emergency technician and that he goes on a lot of adventures with Pickles. Though his professional background is vastly different than hers, Pickle has introduced him to her world by teaching him to hunt, and taking him on trips through her native Louisiana, as she’s proudly shown on social media.

Overall, Pickle seems to be very content about this new chapter in her life.

Did She Have An Accident?

Everyone who’s appeared in “Swamp People” is undoubtedly very experienced in what they do, but that doesn’t exclude them from having some rare accidents from time to time. It’s no different for Pickle Wheat, who a couple of years ago had a scary time while hunting ‘gators alongside Troy Landry.

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As Pickle recalled during an interview with The Sun, she was in the process of lifting a ‘gator from the water when the boat bumped over a cypress, resulting in Pickle falling overboard and onto the ‘gator. Although she was able to go back to the boat, the severity of the situation only dawned on her when she noticed Troy had been worried for her wellbeing.

At the end of the day, Pickle and Troy returned home safely, but the scary situation is one of those which reminds us of how dangerous the job of “Swamp People”s hunters is.

How Did Pickle Get Into ‘Gator Hunting?

Even though Pickle Wheat only became a main cast member of “Swamp People” in the 12th season, she had been catching ‘gators long before that.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CnJzh79uVaO/

As it happens, Pickle, whose real name is Cheyennes Wheat, is just continuing a long-lasting tradition of gator hunters from her family. As she admitted during an interview with The Sun in 2023, her grandfather was an experienced ‘gator hunter who passed down his knowledge to the younger generations. Impressively enough, at the tender age of six, Pickle was already accompanying her elders to the swamps, gaining the necessary experience to not only catch ‘gators by herself years later, but also to love the swampland as if it was her own home.

That being said, Pickles has no doubts that her children will grow to love her profession as much as she does: ‘There’s really no reason to be scared, we are around it our whole lives, so I hope to raise them in the same way that I was brought up’, she said, also admitting that it would be a ‘dream come true’ to see her children following on her steps.

All in all, Pickle Wheat is a great gator hunter, but there’s more to her than just the swamps. Regardless of whatever the future has in store for her on TV or off-cameras, there’s no doubt she’s someone worth keeping our attention on.

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