Despite how enticing the thought of keeping the moonshining traditions alive is, it isn’t everyone’s idea of a legal or even safe profession. As seen in Discovery’s show “Moonshiners”, those who are in this business face all types of problems, including dodging authorities as they produce, transport and sell their valuable spirits around Kentucky, South Carolina, Virginia, and other states.
Knowing how dangerous their profession is, it’s surprising that some of the worst times faced by “Moonshiners” cast members have nothing to do with producing spirits. Such is the case of Josh Owens, who has recently endured the life-threatening consequences of a bike accident that he suffered in early 2023.
So what’s with Josh’s health these days, and had he gone through similar situations before? Stay here to know all about him!
How Is Josh Doing After His Accident?
Josh Owens loves speed and motorsports, enjoying going on a ride with his motorcycle whether it’s by himself or in some contest. Nevertheless, his biking hobby is even more dangerous than his liquor-making, landing him in a hospital bed more than once.
One of those unfortunate occasions took place in early March 2023 at the Florida Daytona International Speedway, where Josh crashed his bike during a race. Though it’s unclear what exactly caused the wreck, Josh was severely injured with broken legs, back, arms and neck.
Although many ill-intentioned rumors about Josh’s death spread on the internet right after the accident, his family was quick to take to his Instagram account to inform his “Moonshiners” fans that Josh was alive, but admitted that his recovery would take some time. Later on, Josh’s friend Ray Llanes started a funding campaign to cover health-related costs, given that Josh has no health insurance, and is unable to work in the meantime.
In late March, Josh himself posted some Instagram videos of his hospital stay in which he showed a bit of his severe-looking leg injuries and opened up about the accident by affirming ‘I’m still here and I’m gonna be here ‘till God brings me home’.
It’s unclear whether Josh will be well enough to film an upcoming “Moonshiners” season, but there’s nothing for us to do but wish him a speedy and safe recovery.
Has he had other accidents?
Josh Owens’ accident in 2023 was terrible, but it wasn’t the first time that he’s gone through some difficult health-related times. As it happened, back in 2018 Josh had already suffered a crash when a problem with the tire of his 1919 Harley Davidson resulted in him crashing against a wall in Florida.
This was a killer time , raced on a 1919 Harley
Posted by Official Moonshiner Josh Owens on Friday, March 24, 2017
At the time he was getting ready for an exhibition race at New Smyrna Speedway, but the accident left him in a very battered state. Josh was transported to the Halifax Health Medical Center, but his lack of health insurance resulted in an early release, or at least that’s what he said in an interview with The Charlotte Observer. On the other hand, the medical center denied Josh’s claims and affirmed it wasn’t on themselves to deny attention to someone for financial reasons.
Regarding the injuries sustained by Josh, he tore off his rotator, and broke most of his ribs, a collar bone, and a shoulder blade, on top of having a punctured lung. Reportedly, the left side of his body was ‘paralyzed’ and went through ‘excruciating pain’ following his accident.
Nevertheless, the pain and the distress weren’t enough to take Josh away from his liquor-making passion, and he went back to “Moonshiners” as soon as he recovered.
What Happened To Josh’s Finger?
Those who have been up to date with recent seasons of “Moonshiners” have surely noticed that Josh Owen’s pointer finger was amputated. The incident which ended with his limb in that unfortunate shape happened in 2016, as Josh himself posted explicit pictures of his left hand’s mangled pointer finger on his Facebook page, saying that he didn’t know if he’d lost the digit yet.
Only a couple of days later, Josh updated his followers and informed them he had indeed lost his fingers, once again leaving details of how such a serious injury even happened, but one of his friends explained under the post that it had to do with the explosion of a grinding wheel.
While at first Josh’s finger wasn’t in the best condition, he dealt with the situation quite well for a couple of years. However, when he crashed his bike in Florida back in 2018, he reportedly lost another part of his already mangled pointer finger.
Was Josh Involved In A Fire?
It seems that Josh Owens is unfortunately prone to accidents, both behind the wheel and when he’s making liquor.
As happened in the 11th season of “Moonshiners”, Josh along with veteran moonshiners Tickle, Henry and Kenny traveled south to learn how to extract maple sap for use in their liquor. While the technique of obtaining the sap from the trees themselves wasn’t as difficult as they thought, the process of turning the liquid into syrup wasn’t an easy one.
It took them hours to finish the process, but they only met with disappointment when the moonshine didn’t have the maple taste that they wanted. They headed home at night leaving everything in Josh’s hands, without knowing the ugly turn the situation would take.
Just as Josh went inside the house to have dinner, the backhouse where he had been cooking the moonshine suddenly caught on fire. In his desperation, Josh tried to fight the fire with a hose, but it ran out of water before he could do much about it.
Following Henry’s advice, Josh took as much of the liquor as he could, and drove away from the fire in his pickup truck, just as the fire department sirens were heard at a distance. Despite how scary the situation seemed, luckily no one was hurt in it.
The Illegal Operation Incident
While the moonshining profession is a dangerous one due to its illegal implications, Josh has been able to deal with the dangers most of the time, though it has been quite difficult.
As happened in “Moonshiners” 11th season, Josh rented an empty basement from a man named Chris, to set up his liquor operation there. Despite his initial plans, Josh’s lack of experience in setting up an indoor moonshine operation led him to call Henry and Kenny, who were more than happy to lend him a helping hand.
Just as the team had set up all the equipment and was almost ready to start moonshining, a man of unknown name entered the place and asked what was going on. It turns out that Chris not only wasn’t the owner of the property, but also didn’t have any authorization to rent the place. On that occasion, the property’s owner was none the wiser about their liquor operation, and mercifully gave them time to collect their stuff without calling the police. Nonetheless, that was a close call for Josh and his fellow moonshiners.
Is “Moonshiners” Real?
Though it’s usual for reality shows to be questioned regarding their legitimacy, the debate about whether “Moonshiners” is real or not is even more intense, especially given the illegal undertones that making liquor entails.
As it happened, in 2011 the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control of Virginia claimed that “Moonshiners” didn’t show real illegal liquor-making activities on TV, claiming that they would have already taken action against the show if what was happening there was genuine unlawful moonshining. Nevertheless, an associate of the show’s production company Magilla Entertainment refuted the early statements from authorities, claiming that “Moonshiners” was an accurate portrayal of ‘the secret life of those who make moonshine’, as reported by Fox News. In any event, the alleged perpetrators have to be caught ‘in the act’.
It’s up to the audiences to believe whether the show is staged or not, but one thing’s for sure about “Moonshiners” is that it features people who are deeply involved with the liquor-making industry in real life. That passion for what they do has inevitably had the audiences warm up to the cast, even to the point of supporting them during grim situations such as Josh’s repeated bike accidents, and other depressing situations he’s been through.
All in all, “Moonshiners” still has a lot to give to its audiences and hopefully, Josh Owens will recover from his injuries well enough to still be part of it.