BiographyThe untold truth of the 'Mountain Man' star

The untold truth of the ‘Mountain Man’ star


Tom Oar is an American former rodeo rider, craftsman and television personality, born in 1943, in Rockfort, Illinois USA. He is known for being a star of the History channel’s “Mountain Man” reality show.

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Early life

Deeply influenced by their cavalier father Chike Oar, Tom and his brother Jack spent their childhood outdoors, roaming freely in the small town where they lived near Rock River: “When my brother and I were 7, my father taught us to trick ride, which consists of doing tricks on the back of a running horse”.

Accustomed to harsh environments and lifestyles, Tom’s acquired taste for adrenaline led him to become a rodeo rider at the age of 15.

Although it was a dangerous occupation, his mother supported his decision: “My mother drove me to the outskirts of town, dropped me off with my bull rope and rig bag, and I hitchhiked to Ohio, and hired to ride bulls and bucking horses’.


rodeo rider

Tom Oar devoted his adult life to a rodeo career, riding bulls and bucking horses for 18 and 25 years respectively. In an interview with American Cowboy, Tom recalls how he got into the International Rodeo Association (IRA), an organization where he rose through the ranks to become one of its top ten riders: “I worked l ‘saddle bronc riding and bull riding’.

In 1961 we had to choose whether we went to IRA or RCA (Real Cowboy Association) rodeos. There were more IRA rodeos in the Midwest and East, so I was an IRA member for 16 or 17 years. It was a fun life.

On February 14, 1978, Tom’s luck ended when his hand got caught in the rope that perched him on the bull Woolly Bugger. This was Tom’s closest encounter with death, as his body was violently shaken by the rabid animal for two minutes. He was unconscious for three hours, but even the concussion he got in the near-fatal encounter didn’t stop his return to the arena a month later.

His success in rodeo riding, however, was never the same; six years later, Tom was riding his last saddle horse, but at 41: “It was time for me to quit, you know, so I did.”

Tom Rame

Life in Montana

During his time as a rodeo rider, Tom and his wife Nancy frequently visited and stayed with friends in Troy, Montana. Already accustomed to the lifestyle of the area, they decided to settle there when Tom’s career in the arena ended: “There came a time in our lives when we thought that the majority of rodeo was over, and we wanted to move to Montana and build a log house.” . So we bought a chainsaw in Illinois to build a house when we got here. We bought an acre and a half that had a little two room log cabin on it and lived there while we built the house. It took us five years to build it. We have lived here for 34 years now.

The couple’s first year in Yaak River was their toughest, having to deal with harsh cold temperatures and traveling 80 km to get groceries. However, they found a way to support themselves by hunting and “living off the land” in their home in the Kootenai National Forest.

Hunting and crafts

Tom Oar describes himself as a man “born 150 or 200 years too late”: “I have always thought about the past and about history. I kind of relived it in a modern way.”

Passionate about traditions and looking for ways to make a living in his new home, he began working independently as a trapper, selling and marketing furs in the winter inspired by 1800s fur traders such as Joseph Meek and Jim Bridger: “The West was really colonized. by the people who created the fur trade.

They were scouts for the army and those who showed the settlers how to cross the mountains. It’s a lost past, I suppose.

Tom has also found a hobby in brain tanning, which involves converting raw fur into leather using deer brains. Although hard labor is a Native American tradition, its origin dates back to the Stone Age and has spread to every continent.

Although a winter hobby at first, Oar found himself frequently selling tanned fur, including custom-created clothing. In the summer, Tom and his wife continued their business, selling their designs around town: “We came in to go on dates, black powder dates, and on those dates the best dress to wear is buckskin clothes, and so on for years. , we have tanned buckskin.

Black powder rendezvous are re-enactments of 19th century fur trade and events. Weapons, clothing and period liquors are found at these meetings, which support local artisans who sell their original products. Tom Oar said he typically earns between $3,000 and $4,000 per event.

Mountain Men – TV debut

In 2012, Tom joined the first season of the History Channel’s “Mountain Men”, a reality television show focusing on the lives of various hunters, naturalists and adventurers in the United States.

In 2019, it was speculated that Oar, who had become the show’s cutest star, was leaving the show to retire to Florida. These rumors were unfounded, however, as Tom was only on vacation for the winter: “We love Montana! We’re not going anywhere!’ Tom’s wife Nancy told Montanian in June.

These days, “Mountain Men” is still on the air, and Tom is a part of it.

Private life

Tom married Jan David in the early 1960s. The couple welcomed two children together: Chad, who appeared in ‘Mountain Men’ alongside his father, and daughter Keelie who died in 2015. The couple filed for divorce in the 70s for unknown reasons.

Tom married a second time to Nancy Oar, and the couple remained happily together for over four decades. Meanwhile, Tom’s ex-wife Jan married Dave Frazer, and together they had a son named Matt.

Tom’s only grandchild is Chad’s son, Tanner Oar.

Net value

Due to his work in buckskin tanning and the fur trade, as well as his earnings from his appearance in “Mountain Man”, Tom Oar has an estimated net worth of $200,000, as of mid-2018. 2020.

Physical appearance

Tom Oar is a male of white ethnicity, whose height and weight are unknown. He has a bushy beard and gray hair, although in his youth he sported short dark brown hair, complete with a mustache.

Interesting facts

Tom’s father, Chike Oar, performed in American Wild West shows.

Tom’s grandson, Tanner, appeared several times in “Mountain Men”.

Although Tom has remained active in his business and is not yet considering retirement, he warned his wife of the dangers of his old age: “We can’t go on doing this forever. I keep telling Nancy, ‘one of these days you’ll probably find me lying dead on the block of flesh.’

Tom describes his life as “incredible” and reminisces with joy: “I enjoyed every moment of it. And as long as I can still do it, damn it, I’m going to do it.

Our #MCM goes to Tom Oar for his rugged charm and amazing vests. #MountainMen

Posted by Mountain Men on Monday April 13th, 2015

Tom and Nancy Oar were contacted by History Channel through a friend of theirs who worked as a producer rep: “Their friend, who operates Linehan Outfitting Co. based in Troy, Mont., guides hunters and anglers and has cabins near where the Oars live’

Woolly Bugger, the bull who nearly killed Tom in his youth, died two weeks after meeting Oar: “I think I gave him a concussion too,” said the former rodeo rider.

Tom’s appearances on “Mountain Men” have increased the success of Oar’s tanning business, given the extra exposure it brings.

Oar deeply appreciates his fans: ‘(They) are really important to me, and it’s really cool to meet all these different people and talk to them. There is always something interesting and there are always interesting people to meet.

Eric Patrick
Eric Patrick
Eric Patrick is currently a freelancer who writes for several magazines and is an economy and finance correspondent at The Nuherald. He has been working in this field for around ten years and has gained immense popularity during that time. He received a Master's degree in philosophy. During his working career, he gained much popularity as a writer resulting in receiving many great honors and awards. He has written for a wide range of leading media outlets on various entertainment topics.


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