From Barney’s woods to Hollywood
“It means everything to me,” Owens said. “Barney was my best friend and when he died it would have been easy to lose steam in the project but finishing it in his memory gave me a reason to carry it out and have something else to remember Barney by.”
Owens said he knew Barnwell for about 10 years and he was not only a best buddy but a mentor. Barnwell put on the annual Moonshine Reunion and the Plum Hollow Festival in South Carolina.
“Barney was a genius,” Owens said. “A historian who knew all about moonshining. Barney was a legend and so much more than just a guy who liked to party.”
Owens said he’s put every ounce of energy into this project and sacrificed everything to get to this point.
“Every time we’ve done anything on this project we’ve hit the wall,” Owens said. “There have been so many problems but we pushed through it. When you watch the show you’ll see. We’ve done everything but kill each other.”
Owens said he’s been through so much he feels like this could change his life. He has a 2-year-old daughter, Reese, and said he simply wants to make a good life for her.
Owens’ mother Cindy Owens died last year of cancer and Owens’ life has not been an easy road.
“I’ve been shot, stabbed, hit by a car, hung in a three-phased power line, got my nose bit in half, fell off a cliff, had my knee blown out, broke my collar bone, tailbone, broke one wrist once and the other twice and had my hand crushed,” Owens said. “I’ve been through hell, but if you truly believe in something you can make it happen.”
About making it on the show, Owens said, “I’m the luckiest, unluckiest SOB you’ve ever met in your life.”
To find out more about Owens, see a feature on him in the December issue of the Bulletin’s Life in our Foothills.
From the show Moonshiners
Making moonshine in the United States has been linked with the Whiskey Rebellion during the 1790s. Under President George Washington, a federal tax was imposed on whiskey, which farmers rebelled against and it caused a rise in illegal distillers. Discovery’s website says even the origins of NASCAR have been linked back to the skilled driving of moonshiners eluding law enforcement.
Moonshiners-Get Your ‘Shine On! tells the story of those who brew shine in the Appalachia.
Viewers witness practices that are rarely, if ever, seen on television and meet local legends of moonshining.
“Think the days of bootleggers, backwoods stills and ‘white lighting’ are over?” states the Moonshiners website. “Not a chance! It’s a multi-million dollar industry. But perhaps more importantly to the moonshiners, it’s a tradition dating back hundreds of years, passed down to them from their forefathers. It’s part of their history and culture. While this practice is surprisingly alive and well, it’s not always legal.”