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Fire Chief Tim Smith Stars in Show about Moonshiners in Virginia

Have you seen the show “Moonshiners” on the Discovery Channel yet?

There is also quite a discussion going on over at VAFireNews.com where the original post about the show was published. Check it out here.

Did you know that the lead character, Tim Smith, is also a Fire Chief? That is right. He is the Fire Chief of the Climax Volunteer Fire Department in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. That is about an hour from where I live.

From what I have seen on Facebook, it seems as though there are many people who think that Tim is running some huge illegal moonshine operation and was dumb enough to invite cameras behind the scenes…and then invite the cops as well. That isn’t the case at all. The show is about moonshining, the history, tradition, heritage, and everything else.

I originally put together a short article on VAFireNews.com titled “Virginia Fire Chief Finds Fame on Discovery Channel’s New Show Moonshiners“. I have known about the department due to my role as editor of VAFireNews.com, but have never visited the department. Most recently, I saw their new tanker at the funeral for two Rocky Mount, VA LODD’s last year (Franklin County). The link above also has related local news coverage of the show and Tim.

Tim’s wife Shelby is also a member of the department and his son JT hopes to become a junior firefighter in the future. JT is also a big part of the show Moonshiners.

You can read more about Tim Smith on his site TimSmithMoonshine.com.

Photo from the Discovery Channel

You have to realize that in Southwestern Virginia and down into North Carolina and Tennessee, moonshine has a heritage that has made the area what it is today. You can read more about moonshine on Wikipedia there is also a lot of information on the distilling of moonshine here.

Franklin County, Virginia is known as the Moonshine Capital of the World. That is where I get my moonshine from!

As far as I can tell, it seems as though there is a huge misunderstanding which comes from the drama of the television show and what is really happening. While I didn’t bug Tim with a bunch of questions I probably know the answers to already, I will offer this:

WSET:

“Nobody in the whole series was actually making any liquor, we wouldn’t allow that. If we knew somebody was making liquor they would have been in the next episode in handcuffs,” said Jesse Tate.

After writing the article on VAFireNews.com, I received a phone call from Tim.

Tim can’t disclose everything or answer every question because he is under contractual obligation with the Discovery Channel. However, I was able to ask some questions and get some answers.

Tim Smith has been the Fire Chief for Climax since 2004. He was just re-elected in November of this year. He is a mechanic, maintenance man to be exact, by trade and that is what pays the bills. He works 60 hours a week. His role at the fire department is voluntary. Tim also spent 6 years in the United States Army.

Tim tells me that the show “Moonshiners” is entertainment. The show, like all the other shows on tv, is meant to attract and audience. The show is made up of real people and maybe some added drama. The show was actually filmed a year ago in Pittsylvania, Virginia. Tim would like this to say …Most of the show was filmed in Pittsylvania County, Virginia He is an expert on the heritage of moonshine and its production.

He assures me the show is not about Police or the Fire Department it is about moonshining with a storyline.

Chief Tim Smith is in the center of the picture surrounded by other members of the Climax VFD. Picture courtesy of the Climax VFD.

However, he also tells me he has a keen belief that the shows prosperity could potentially benefit his fire department. For example, the Climax VFD is in dire need of an ambulance and/or 1st responder vehicle. The previous ambulance they had was donated by the Alta Vista Rescue Squad (also in Virginia). The engine blew a head gasket while sitting in the apparatus bay. They had the truck repaired only to have the engine lock up on them soon after. The fix would have cost the department around $9000, money they simply don’t have so they had to give the truck to the repair shop.

He told me they have applied for a grant of up to $20,000 to potentially buy a used unit, but they have not received word on the approval of the grant yet.

In the meantime, they have re-purposed their brush truck as a 1st responder vehicle and have gotten the applicable State EMS licenses for the vehicle.

The show Moonshiners is a 6 episode series on the Discovery Channel. Currently, there are no plans of a second season. However, with 3.2 million viewers you just never know!

Tim assures me that the community reaction to the show has been very positive.

As for the cynics, Tim adds “Maybe the same questions would be asked if a fire chief was found growing marijuana in the state of California. Is it Legal or Il-legal, to do that on a tv show? Example: Weed Wars.”

Captain Willie Wines Jr. and I are planning on heading down to visit with Chief Tim Smith and other members of the Climax VFD in the near future.

Comments - Add Yours

  • Bob

    Since Dave likes tea maybe he star in a show about teabaging.

  • Joe

    If volunteer firefighters want to be taken seriously they can’t do stuff like this. Make us all look bad.

    • Robert

      Yeah, just like all cops beat African Americans for no reason (More than one of them has, so that makes all of them bad?). It’s not smart to assume anyone will think any differently of you because Tim Smith ran a still like his father and grandfather before him. People truly respect fire fighters for the risks you all take to save lives…. Lots of Respect.
      But, people will take you a little more seriously if you stop adding more lights then necessary to your personal vehicle and don’t run red lights when there’s no call dispatched. That’s what is far more likely to come to the majority of people’s minds when someone says Volunteer Firefighter, not he must make moonshine, smoke pot or cheat on his taxes. Bet you’ve done at least one of the last two I mentioned more than once.

      • Joe

        Got it Robert…

        It’s OK to break the law because your father and grandfather did, and because most of the volunteer firefighters you know run red lights when they’re not on calls and smoke dope.

        Can’t say any of our volunteers or I have done any of those things (no lights on cars and a random drug screen program in place).

        Don’t know where you’re from but I hope I never need the FD or PD in your neck of the woods.

        Scary…

        • Robert

          Joe, you missed the point completely. You say he makes you all look bad. He doesn’t. That was the minimum you should have gathered from my statement. Another way to put it: Some dogs bight the hands of their owners, doesn’t mean they all do… and people still love their dogs. Chances are you have a dog, based on the percentage of people who own one in this country. My point is that the majority of US citizens have smoked pot and cheated on their taxes more than once. Making it more likely that people would suspect ANY volunteer firefighter, or person for that matter, to be a thief or a pothead prior to thinking they were a moonshiner.

          Moonshiners are pursued by law enforcement primarily for the reason of lost tax revenue, not because people die from shine… People die from legal liquor at a far far greater rate, and a moonshiner wouldn’t be in business for long if he kills his customer. So have you ever cheated on your taxes?(wrote off a few more uniforms, miles or didn’t claim a cash transaction here or there). If yes, you’re no better than Tim Smith cause that’s all he really did… Hope I broke it down enough for ya. LOL

  • Morris Lentz

    As a volunteer firefighter, I was appalled when I saw “Tim” was a member of the volunteer fire service and on top of that……..A FIRE CHIEF!!! If any of our members (especially the Chief) we discovered to have been associated with making illegal liquor, they would be immediately DISMISSED. This “Tim” guy has certainly placed a “black eye” on the volunteer fire service in our country by pretending to be a “Community Servant”. Shame on you. I’m sure I speak for a number of volunteer firefighters in our nation and say you need to turn in your gear. You’re not one of the few and proud that serve in the fire service as a volunteer. Morris Lentz – Assistant Chief / Rogersville Volunteer Fire Department

    • Patrick

      As for Tim needing to be stripped of his position as a firefighter, that’s ludicrous. He’s an American that, regardless of his family’s tradition being illegal, cares for his fellow man, and gives his time and risks his life to help others. If that’s not American, then what is?

      “If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.”
      -Thomas Jefferson

      • Connie

        Couldn’t have said it better Only wish Tim lived close to me and was a volunteer firefighter in my town I would be a proud American! The goverment only wants the money that moonshiners make like they need it they just need to mind their own affairs!

    • Mike

      Sounds like to me you think your overly important. Tim is a good guy who doesn’t volunteer because it make him somebody special. He does it because it needs to be done!

    • Rogersville citizen

      And being an election rigger is ok? You were caught red handed stealing the oppositions signs theres nothing worse than a thief and you Morris Lentz are the above ^

      • Morris Lentz

        Good one but incorrect. Not sure where you’re getting your false information but you hiding behind your post speaks volumes. Are you are who? I would certainly be more than happy to visit with in regards to your outlandish post.

    • tessa

      Ok , point taken…..now explain to me why you people are all upset about Tim , yet in a neighboring state you have the cheif of police and the DA making moonshine , have for decades…..the point is , it does happen , regardless of what your “day” job is…….difference is Tim is visual, wise up people…moonshine. is a part of the culture, just like hookers….deal with it….

  • DJ

    It seems like Morris Lentz needs to do a little research and understand the difference between real T.V. and Entertainment. You probably also believe that Marlana on Days of our Lives has been killed 8 times but somehow continues to keep popping up in eppisodes. I know, amazing, right.. If you want to watch REAL T.V. then you should continue watching your local news channel. Just so everyone understands, TRU T.V. is not True at all, it’s all entertainment as well. Geez, come on people.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003405399475 Isaiascadi

      A very huplfell post – Thank you very much I hope you will not mind me blogging about this post on my blog I will also link back to this post Thanks

  • Micheal Mac

    Whether it is real or fake, it still makes ALL fireman look bad and is a shameful disgrace. Climax VFD has applied for a federal grant? Good luck boys. Bet you will never see a dime thanks to your Chief’s TV antics. Bottom line: illegal moonshine, cocaine, child porn are against the law. Whats next for the show? Climax VFD running a meth lab at the station? Oh, its not real. Its just entertainment. Thanks Climax VFD for making our fire service look like a bunch of illiterate hill billies.
    Mike Mac
    Captain North Tish Fire Rescue

    • Lourdes

      Do you really think the Discovery Channel and Tim were dumb enough to really brew moonshine on this show? He’s going legal. and dude, I would hardly put cocaine and child porn in the same class as moonshine. Give me a break. A btw–nobody gives a shit about your Captain title.

      • Micheal Mac

        Hey pin head…i earned that title. So yeah people in my service care about the rank. Get off the couch smart ass and just TRY to do what we do. Oh, you got some doughnut crumbs on your shirt.

        • Lourdes

          DEAR CAPTAIN MICHAEL MAC OF THE NORTH TUSH–I MEAN TISH– FIRE RESCUE, WHY DONT YOU GO TAKE A CHILL PILL AND SHUT THE EFF UP. I’M A FULL-TIME WORKER. WHO PISSED IN YOUR WHEATIES? IF YOU DONT LIKE THE SHOW DONT WATCH IT

    • Patrick

      You might be a captain, but you need to educate yourself and possibly apply some common sense when bundling your illegal activities to prove a point. Child porn in the same sentence as moonshine? That’s like me remembering the story about the fire captain in a small town getting caught twice in a man’s barn having sex with a sheep, and saying that must be a hobby of Micheal Mac’s too. That would be wrong on my part… I would hope.

    • Patrick

      Also, you can liken meth to moonshine? Sure, they are both illegal, but on a moral level they’re in different stadiums.

      Meth (in regard to human consumption) was initially a product of the pharmaceutical industry in pursuit of a cure for the common cold… Leading to diet pills and A.D.D. medication… Both of which are used to illegally manufacture meth… Along with chemical oven cleaner and battery acid.

      Fermentation of organic substances producing alcohol was first observed by ancient man as a process that occurs naturally in nature, and is credited by numerous historical scholars as saving human kind (still to this day for sterilization purposes)

      To put it in lesser terms, like the editors of Looney Toons might do so a child could understand:

      Moonshine = Possibly 20 years in prison, and the reason for your neighbor’s divorce.

      Meth = The above, PLUS it eats your face from the inside out and blew up your house causing the evacuation and hospitalization of several members in your trailer park.

      Both illegal? Yes. Able to ruin lives? Absolutely. But not logically comparable to one another.

    • tessa

      Did u have a problem with Tim before this was brought to light ? I have seen fire departments put up with their “captains” doing worse. It just gets swept under the rug, just because it is now common knowledge , all of u have a problem with it ? Did the public have a problem when he was putting out a fire at their home ? Saving their loved ones ? Getoff the soap box and do a reality check , sparkie !

    • tessa

      No sunshine, u make youeself look bad …..he is a volunteer, doing it out of the goodness of his heart, volunteers do not get paid…are you willing to put your life on the line for your fellow man with no pay check attached ? Or will you just sit and whine about how “illiterate”. It makes YOU look ? I thinnk you did a fine job of that yourself……if my house was on fire , I think I would rather have someone dedicated like Tim answer the call instead of some judgemental “firefighter” who can’t see the forest for the trees……

    • Who?

      Never heard of “North Tish Fire Rescue”, and neither has Google………

  • Steve

    Wow, you guys sure are hard on a guy who’s just trying to make a living and maybe earn a little help on the side for his Fire Department. I applaud him for making such an entertaining and educational series. I think he’s doing a wonderful job and am proud that he has gained so much notoriety. I know an awful lot of volunteer firefighters and they are all pleased to see Tim on the show. He doesn’t make firemen look bad. He makes them look human.

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  • JC

    Moonshine is our heritage and none of you would be here if not for moonshine….. If your not from Appalachian you won’t understand it’s a way of life to provide for your family and don’t say get a real job if you ever visit this area you’ll find out you can’t raise a family on min wage which is what jobs pay around here…. Either way it don’t matter if your a doctor lawyer fire chief or chief of police….your roots tie into moonshine

    • Joe

      Tickle??
      Is that you??
      Put the bottle of moonshine down and sober up.

      Here’s an idea…how about going to school and learning a legitmate profession?

      Oops forgot who I was speaking to…sorry.

      • Robert

        Whether you like it or not Joe, Alcohol is the reason you are here, and depending on how your mom looked, it could be a direct reason for your existence. LOL.

        Seems like you may need to educate YOURSELF in the history of human civilization. And just because a person makes minimum wage doesn’t mean they need an education. So many in this country are making less than they’re worth, and 9% of Americans are considered unemployed by our government (17%+ actually unemployed), and millions are working minimum wage jobs because they got laid off from a job in their profession due to the economy. So please stop making yourself look ignorant on so many issues.

        • Courtney

          Funny stuff! ;)

        • Joe

          What’s that Tickle, I can’t hear you over the banjos:)

      • Patrick

        I agree with Robert, Joe has no idea what he is talking about. Funny how people can make themselves look feeble-minded when unable to provide a valid rebuttal. Instead, they provide something like Joe has written above.

  • Lance Strange WhitakersVFD- NC

    to those of you who say tim is a disgrace and is pretending to be a “Community Servant” and not one of the few and the proud you are dead wrong. I do not know this man at all but i feel that if his department feels he deserves the title and responsibility of “chief” than this man is just as much a hero and serves his community as much as anyone of us firemen do and to top it off Tim was also in the military this man is a hero point blank. Even if he really sold shine he would still be a hero anyone who would rish his or her own well being to aid perfect strangers is a hero every single person on this planet breaks laws everyone of us sins but you have to weigh the bad and the good and this man has done alot more good for this country and his community than harm

  • eric

    i am on a vfd and we also do ems as well and i am an emt and that is for free just to help a member of the comunity just like tim every knows that guy that has moonshine and until the death of popcorn the biggest draw maggie valley was him it is a misdemenor just like that pistol that you hide under the seat everybody does something that may be viewed as wronge but that is how you test your friends give the man a break rise above the hate

  • Marie

    OMG I am still amazed that people think this guy is stupid enough to show who he is and break the law ON TV.. If you think he is stupid enough to do that then you are stupid. I guess you think lizard lick towing and the pawn show is real too. Idiots.

    • Joe

      Lizard Lick isn’t real?

      Mannnn……

  • Matt

    Detractors are certainly not from appalachia. Obviously he isn’t actually making Liquor…ITS ILLEGAL!!! Entertainment people. That being said, i am the first generation of my family that has never made a batch or been involved. I do know what it takes and anyone who accuses a ‘shiner of being lazy and says they should get a job has no idea. Lazy people dont make liquor. Some of the hardest work you will ever do. Granddad did it in the ’30’s because there wasn’t anything else to do. GET A CLUE YANKEES!!

  • Quentin

    I was a VTF in the Mid-west 10 years ago. I moved to the Appalachian about a year ago. If had never lived here I would have agreed with some of the negative comments. Now that I have done my research and know the area I do have a better understanding. This area seems to have the roughest land, some of hardest working people and most are under paid. I can say it’s some of the nicest people have ever live around. I do think that the show should have put Tim or any other volunteer firemen in a position where they are preceded of doing illegal activities. I think in a way it does bring some negative feelings. But the big picture everyone should look at is he is a hero and it is entertainment. The show should have a quick disclaimer at the end of each show. A personal note I hope Climax VFD get there truck fixed and any grant they need. I know how hard it is to write the grant request and wait for the government to help VFD when they really need it.

    • Franko

      Maybe instead of a pancake breakfast Climax FD should have a Moon Shine fund raiser. According to Chief Smith they have more than enough money to buy a new engine. What the heck everyone does it right????

      • Ricardo H.

        Sure, you can buy his distilled water and help the CVFD at the same time. Thanks for the sarcastic love.

  • Tully

    Do the research people. Moonshineing is older than this entire country and will be here long after our Obamanation. We need to get back to the old ways of self sufficiantcy and in some cases relearn what our ancesters knew. Tickle said it best” if you love your country, You gotta love moonshine”. ….Just for the record….I am a Fire Officer on a metro department in North Georgia. I know of 4 still that are operational that belong to firemen. None of them sell what they make. It is given away freely because the old ways are still respected here too.

  • Tyna Gaines

    I live in Spotsylvania County, VA. My husband and I never miss an episode. My favorite person on the show is Tickle…If you love your country…u gone havta love Moonshine!!!
    Hope they bring it back for a 2nd season!!

  • matt

    IT Pissies me off to see some of the thing said yea like you are any better then any body else because you dont moonshine or belive in it so what every body has a right to there own oppions dont they and who are you to try and put any body down and tell you are perfect you cant talk and sence the only one that is perfect is god then you cant talk are you can it just doesint mean crap!!!

    • Micheal Mac

      Stay off the Moonshine and you might be able two put two sentences together that makes any sense.

      • Robert

        Baaa… Baaa… Your sheep is calling ya Captain. LOL

  • big daddy

    That moonshine may have been fake but that beer Tickle was drinking wasnt. My man was messed up.

  • RangerVic

    I have no problem with our volunteer firefighters having a good time. And if you don’t like it then move to another town! Great job Tim, streach those 15 minutes out as long as you can. Good luck brother.

  • Gunny

    Great show and beleive me there aren’t too many people who give a crap if somebody’s making a little shine in that part of VA. I grew up in Botetourt and Franklin County VA and there was always somebody with a jar of shine. Heck, it was my mother’s secret ingredient in the eggnog she gave out every year. Seems like Tim’s a good fire chief and a veteran. Just a good ole boy trying to make a living the old fashioned way.

  • john

    great show
    what really lirkes me is the so called ffheros who have a ff tag on the back of their street unit & drive like a !@#$%^&*
    speeding , passing on double soild lines, running red lights
    because they can

  • Laura

    it seems clear to us that Tim Smith is only trying to make ends meet. He is showing how moonshine is made, and the show tells the history of it. It also shows that country people will survive, and they have been doing that just fine for ages. The fact that Tim is also a Fire Chief shows he is not just in this for profit, but for a better cause.

  • Bob

    I will be dissappointed if the final show doesn’t end in a violent shootout, with all of the moonshiners and crooked cops laying dead, or dying! This show reminds me of the looney toons episode where the sheepdog is paid to protect the sheep, and the coyote is paid to steal them.
    If moonshining is ok, then what about the people that have died from the shiners shortcuts.
    I have found several old stills here in southwest VA, and none of them looked like theirs. The ones that I found were usually a small (55 gal. or less) barrel, and the worm was usually small also.
    I can’t wait to see the final shootout between these idiots.
    You know, someone could record all of this, and turn it in to real revenuers, and not these fake discovery channel cops, and collect the reward money.
    What’s next, Methmakers.

    • Patrick

      If you’re not joking… You’re ignorant to suggest one American shoot another for your own entertainment. LOL

    • jr23

      breaking bad

  • joe

    Can someone tell me why moonshine is illegal? It is legal to brew wine and beer (limited quantities). But why is making any alcohol illegal? Is it to protect corporate profits and taxes?

    • Robert

      Yes and yes. It all comes down to what the government gets, and they’ll spend more to put you in prison than they would ever actually loose by you not paying the $13.88 (0.38 VA state and 13.50 federal) tax that they lost on each gallon of your moonshine (assuming that if you didn’t make it, it would have been purchased legally in a store). There’s really no other logical reason. If it was due to loss of life then legal alcohol and cigarettes would be made illegal, but they’re not.

      • Jerry

        That’s not true department of corrections is a business and they actually make money by putting people in prison problem is tax payers like me and you foot the bill but they don’t care because they will make a profit regardless

    • Brandon

      Joe, it is legal to make moonshine for your own consumption (atleast in NC), just can’t sell it.

  • Patrick

    Our country relies far too much on the imprisonment of non-violent “criminals” as a punishment. We made a wrong turn as a free country when we began to allow the privatization of our prisons. Think about it, corporations are making billions of dollars annually because people are locked up, and keeping their cells full is what makes their share holders happy and furthers their wealth (rehabilitation only reduces the chances of them making even more money in the future). These corporations then turn to lobbying firms to influence the creation of stricter laws and even preventing laws from being abolished. Laws that the majority (“we, the people”) wish to have abolished. In other words, a number of US laws exist just to create less competition, or even create a new market for big business in this country. Just like the primary private financial supporter of Prohibition was the Standard Oil Company. They pushed to make alcohol illegal, by “influencing” our elected officials, hoping to prevent ethanol from ever competing with fossil fuels. Our system is consistently guided by the greed of few, and the few are determined by the amount of money they have access to. It’s wrong, Just like the pharmaceutical companies influencing your doctor (in the form of “spiffs”) to prescribe you medications for illnesses that could be treated with vitamins and/or natural cures that have no unwanted side effects…. And it’s legal.

    I bring forward these factors to show that just because there is a law, it doesn’t mean it’s a just law. I agree that the improper production of moonshine can cause death, but so can the reckless imprisonment of non-violent citizens, citizens that normally would not subject themselves to rooming with murderers and rapists, or leaving their families to fend for them selves for years at a time. By making something illegal, you create criminals, a black market and the greater possibility of dangerous concoctions (like marijuana soaked in diesel fuel or moonshine cut with bleach).

    Just like the “Moonshiner’s” show depicts, for the “little guy” to start a legal alcohol business, from a trade that’s been in one’s family for over 100 years, you need hundreds of thousands of dollars to (possibly) get permission to get started, when reasonable regulation, inspection of their product and an umbrella insurance policy (not a $200,000.00 bond) could allow an American to start a life long dream..

    As for Tim needing to be stripped of his position as a firefighter, that’s ludicrous. He’s an American that, regardless of his family’s tradition being illegal, cares for his fellow man, and gives his time and risks his life to help others. If that’s not American, then what is?

    “If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.”
    -Thomas Jefferson

    • Courtney

      You said it. I never saw it like that way till now. Very informative

    • Samuel Adams

      Thank you Patrick Henry. It seems you have debated the constitution and the pursuit of happiness to a grand level. I am sure the moonshiners are not collecting social services that taxes are providing.

  • Tara

    Laws are made to make criminals. End of story.

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  • Ron Walker

    If you fire Tim, you need to fire all fireman and volunteers that have a questionable past. Then who is going to do man the fire depts?

    He is going legitimate. That speaks volumes about his character.

    Let the first person without sin cast the first stone

    • REALITY CHECK

      Amen.

  • Resa

    It’s really sad when a man who is willing to risk his life to save a strangers gets insulted like this. How many of you would leave your families or warm bed at night to risk your life for FREE! Most of you would’nt stop to help a stranded motorist let alone run into a burning house to save someone. Why should he loose his position as chief? How does his participating in tv program geared toward a combination of a cultural history and entertainment affect his ability to continue to preform a job he has excelled at for a number of years? Oh it portays a bad image. I guess all the people making wine and beer at home with do it yourself kits are ok because the government got their cut. No bad image if you pay taxes. Moonshine is only illegal because uncle sam doesnt get paid. Maybe oneday for enough money you will be able to go to walmart buy the do it yourtself moonshine kit and Tim will be the guy next door.

    I’m proud to have moonshiners in my family history. Im proud of my culture(moonshine is AMERICAN CULTURE not just southern) and heritage. Yes I even enjoy my moonshine! Not quite as much as you Tickle but I’d love to share
    a pint with ya! Your the best! Not to mention incredibly cute!

    Long live the moonshiner! Shine on! Popcorn still says F@ck you!

  • Cheryl

    I am just confused…and please, don’t jump on me. I just would like a little help with my confusion.
    I am in East Tennessee, live at the base of the Smoky Mountains. My great Grandfather was a moonshine runner, many back then had to do that just to make a living and feed their families. He also worked for the railroad up in the Mountains.
    I am watching this show, mainly I did to see the Popcorn Sutton episodes.
    I just am confused as heck though. I know people are saying the show is fake, that they are not actually making moonshine on the show as that is illegal, BUT, how is it legal for a fireman, who , at any other time might arrest somebody for making an illegal substance, to be on a show, talking about his illegal business ?
    It’s hard to tell my kids, older though they are, how this is possible.
    I don’t always agree with the law, and personally don’t believe it should be illegal, BUT, the fact remains that it is, so how does a guy who works for the law, get away with doing this on TV ?
    Be easy on me, I honestly just want to find this out, to clear up the confusion in my own head.

  • REALITY CHECK

    This man was just trying to do right by his son and provide for him so he doesn’t have to end up with little to no education. I think we’re forgetting something here: IT’S FKING BOOZE!!!!!! Are you serious?! The people saying this man is a “bad guy” or that he somehow portrays a negative image for firefighters are complete morons. You can go to the store and buy the same sh*t so get the fk off it. The only reason why it’s illegal is because our greedy ass government isn’t seeing money from it. FK OFF. Go Timmy! My Papa is from West Virginia and moonshining is in my blood too. They should be ashamed of themselves for sentencing an elderly man and legend — Popcorn Sutton — to 18 months in prison for what they call a “crime” and pushing him to find his idea of a way out by taking his own life. FKING MURDERERS! This country has far worse “crimes” to worry about than someone making their own product and selling it to others. Looks like Ebay and Etsy should be busted too then. Stupid assholes. WAKE THE FK UP!

  • lance

    My great granddad made shine passed it down to my granddad who passed it to me I served two tours in iraq I love my country does it make me a bad person because I make a little shine

    • Samuel Adams

      Thank you for serving our country!

  • Jim

    Please!!!!!!!!!! Enough already. I see a lot of people who really, really, need to get a life and find something positive to say and do. I detect some large mentality problems here.

    And yes Tim, I knew your Dad and Grampa too. So DO IT when you can, if you can, where you can, as often as you can, and stay proud that you can.

    • Jim

      This Gretna boy wants to know;
      What’s moderation?

      • The Fire Critic

        Moderation (as far as this blog is concerned) is that the comments are within acceptable limits. This basically means that the comment does not have foul language, libel, or assualt on anyone else.

        Thanks for your comment(s).

  • Tammy Betterton

    I loved the show and thought about the intelligence that has to go into to producing moonshine not to mention the risk. I am hoping for another season but if not…I live close enough that I can see them around town :))) I congratulate the whole cast for an outstanding job !!!!!!

  • Mike

    Well I only drink in moderation…therefore moderation is an imaginary place that exist where ever I am!

  • Morris Lentz

    Hmmmmmmmm. Let’s see. Fire Chief Tim supports an illegal activity while “Tickle” promotes drinking and driving? Really? Did I not see “Tickle” driving his truck with a beer in his hand? Wow……thanks again Fire Chief Tim for condoning this type of behavior. Just make sure you send a copy of that seasons episode to the family that just lost their child due to a drunk driver on our highways. You people who support this crap are simply sick in the head. Sick.

    I keep hearing the comment “It’s just a show”. Well, I might give you that if this were a “fictional show” with a “fictional story line”. Is Tim is volunteer fire chief? YES. Does Tim produce moonshine? YES. Does he live in the community he portrays? YES.

    Stop making excuses. Thanks again Fire Chief Tim. You really make the Volunteer Fire Service look bad! As for federal grant funds? I’ll make a point to write my local congressman (and Tim’s local congressman) and ask them NOT to approve funds to this volunteer fire department with someone like “Fire Chief Tim” at the helm.

    • Nevermore Ahlstrom

      Ummm…. It’s only a tv show, he is a firefighter that plays the party on a tv show about moonshine, they’re not really brewing, so therefore…u sir are an idiot. I believe you should be stripped of your title and demoted down to an engine washer because you are WAYYY too slow to read what’s actually going on here. They ALL are acting, and showing what the life was like for moonshiners but with a modern twist! FOOL!

      • Morris Lentz

        No sir or ma’am. You in fact are the fool. So you condone the production of an illegal product that brings trouble and misery to a family. Again….. You are the fool. Sad.

  • Barry

    There is nothing wrong with this show. Just good ole boys trying to make a living. And if its not real then so what, it depicts the history of moon shining. I would like to see TIm make it legally though. If he is that passionate about his craft then he can’t help but be successful in making legal whiskey.

  • Ash

    I think it’s pathetic that some of you are bashing Tim and saying that he needs to be stripped of his chief ranking. This is a title in which he obviously has earned, and seeing as he keeps being re-elected, the community where he serves feels that he deserves it. He’s a man trying to do right for his son, and with the direction this country is heading, you do what you can to make ends meet. I’m not saying to go rob a bank, but moonshine isn’t as severe as you are making it out to be. My grandpa made it, and so did his grandpa. Are they bad people? No, they’re not. What separates people brewing legal alcohol from people Iike Tim is one simple thing; Uncle Sam isn’t taking a moonshiner’s hard-earned money. One permit is the difference between a legal distiller and a moonshiner. A permit that shows one person has the money to do the same thing that another person can’t afford. It doesnt make them any better than someone like Tim. Also, him making moonshine doesn’t take away from the fact that he would risk his own life to run into a burning building to save a complete stranger. He doesn’t give a bad name to volunteer firefighters. I guarantee that when a person hears the word “volunteer fire fighter” they don’t automatically think of moonshine, so thinking that is just kind of ignorant. Tim is a veteran and a service person just trying to make ends meet. He works hard, and it takes a special person to be willing to give their life in order to save someone else. So instead of trashing him, maybe you should respect him.

  • mitch becton

    i suspect any american who is willing to look at family history will find the SHAMEFUL ‘lol’lol’ making of moonshine. my ancestors came from austria many many years ago and one of the family trades was making of spirits landing in south georgia in the 1800’s this trade paid the bills and kept the family together in many cases and if you care not to look into your history your nothing more than the ostrich with his head in the sand. good luck tim and others.

  • Jane Doe

    It angers me that people are bashing Tim for being the fire chief and supposedly making moonshine on a tv show. I am sure that each and every person who holds a volunteer position in public office has never ever done anything wrong, never gotten a speeding ticket, never missed paying a bill and never had any trouble in their lives. When all public office officials have clean records then and only then should they critize anyone else.

    This show isn’t about encouraging illegal moonshine production. Just like segregation, wars, mass murders and slavery it has been part of America’s history. The show is educational on the history of moonshine but it also provides information on how other bootleggers can go legal. The scene where the nip joint is raided is a grim reminder that you can get into big trouble for having moonshine- not just producing it. So before you start pointing out the bad points of this show you need to point out the good ones too.

  • Jared

    Ok people I’m 17 and understand this stuff better than you. It’s about the history of the moonshining art. Not police and moonshine. It’s all a show. And I garrantee that you didn’t know Tim was a fire chief until reading this or looking it up. It’s called acting. It’s fake. Grow up and get over it. No wonder this world we live in these days is so messed up. Got people like you guys complaining about a tv show that’s fake and is all acting. Geez.

  • Corn Grinder

    Is Tim a fake moonshiner like Santorum (according to Ron Paul) is a fake conservative? I watched the show (several episodes) for the first time on Saturday and loved it. Nothing better than the smell of hot mash.

  • http://yahoo.com joel vivian

    a good fire chief got to make money of moonshine love to visit him and see hes fire department too

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  • njvol

    Don’t bash a guy who is willing to risk his life for his fellow man. We all are not angels, whether moonshining is illegal or not, its a SHOW! I am proud to know that Tim is doing what I did and thats VOLUNTEER his time to his community.

  • http://facebook lee stone

    bring tim and tickle back on tv as the moonshiners i loved the series it was a very good show i watched it over and over until my wife told me i was wearing the show out but what does she know i still like a little sip every now and then and i am 69 years younger so tim get another show going so i can kick back and enjoy it again take care tim and tickle hope to se you on tv again

  • David ratcliff

    I knew Tim ever since we attended NADC together in 1991 . He and tickle are both educated and intelligent people. Nothing wrong with what they’re doin and yes me and tickle drink the same kind of beer. Leave them boys alone and worry about your own skeletons!

  • B$

    I think ur all sad getting all angry and mean towards eachother cuz of something called freedom of speech the shows fake so no ones wrong but on the other hand most of the things they do and history told is true sure there acting isnt great but wht can u rly ask for and u guys tht are acting like ur tough shit for knowing these people…..seriously ur not tht kool im sure they can defend themselves so anyway I like the show hate that its fake but like the insight of history would have been a better show if they didnt lie bout it

  • Danny

    I think all of u r crazy, no man or woman has the right to judge another, I think what Tim is doing is a good thing, bringing notoriety to a legacy an putting Climax on the map even if just a little while, my uncle Harry did it an he was a good person, he always said what he throught, thoes of u who live in Climax for a while new that about him, an if he was alive he would tell Tim go for it.

  • Catpain Obvious

    Hey in Detroit the fire department would take a “Volunteer” fast and not care they would re Elect Kwame Kilpatrick a embezzler,thief and a known Womenizer for Mayor. And the voters just elected a Known criminal to the Senate in Mi so what if Tim was on TV.

  • Samuel Adams

    Tim is a smart dude. It is obvious this is all pretend TV and the liquid is not real alcohol. So all the dramatization of making/selling fake moonshine is entertainment, if folks watch it will generate interest and ratings for the show. I just hope the Show Producers pay them enough in salary for them to not have to sell their “moonshine” and to enjoy their craft without having to worry about law enforcement. This is the only way Tim and the others will have his cake and eat it too.

  • Firefan

    Isn’t that a good thing there’s a firefighter brewing moonshine?!!?

  • VICKIE

    CAN’T BELIEVE ALL THE SMALL MINDED PEOPLE THAT WROTE SUCH NEGATIVE COMMENTS ABOVE BUT LET ME TELL YOU WHAT I THINK, WELL I BETTER NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NEEDLESS TO SAY IM ON TIM’S SIDE AND I HAPPEN TO BE A NURSE.

  • http://Google Kelly

    Obviously the show Moonshiners is fake, but so is fast and furious,the outlaw Josie wells, collateral damage. The point is its entertaining and people watch tv for entertainment. My family ran moonshine for generations untill my dad became religious and quit. I know the show is fake. My family would have filled someone’s backside full of lead if they would have got close to their steel site. But it’s entertaining and I like to watch it.

  • Pam

    Some people are taking some of these comments personal. We all have rights to comment how we feel. This show is as fake as Amish Mafia and good entertainment. I have seen police officers that are so drunk that they shouldnt be driving but they do, and then give you a DUI That is not to say all policemen follow the same actions, nor do all firefighters sell moonshine so I dont think people should take this show or other shows to heart, nor should you take all comments personal. I think we are all intelligent enought to know better.

  • robert

    I met him in brilliant Ohio last Saturday. Seems like a good guy. I had a blast and it was pretty cool getting he autograph

    • Greg

      Brilliant OH?? I thought I was the only one who knew where Brilliant was!

  • ryan wynn

    Wish they would let this feller on that moonshiner show yap realy do

  • Linda A

    I likw both od the shows moonshiners and amish mafia. I’m a straight lace person and its fun to watch. Nothing else on TV on Cox worth watching. Tickle alway looks stone.. however, when he is straight, he sounds like an educated man..just saying
    I want to know if Tim is married? He should be my next man….

  • James montgomery

    You folks are taking this way 2 serious! Use common sense if you believed people were really allowed to commit a felony on tv someone needs to operate your motor vehicle you arent safe to operate heavy machinery. Guess you believe there were cameras in Bedrock too? Back off those poor folks you would have taken your 10mins of fame too. If theres a 2nd season ill watch again. Go get em tickle!!

  • robert

    No I live about 30 mins away from brilliant its not a far drive and even if it was it was deff worth driveing up there

  • Hannah J

    They are in Forest, Va in several episodes. I recognize the roads they drive on. Misspelled Forest in my previous post.

  • http://aol nick

    I love the show. The mtn. people are so indendpent the way we all use to be. God bless them.

  • brent bray

    nothing wroing with making moonshine, seams to be very enteraing I will watch every episode. Hope they have a second season.I like all the people in the show.And best wishes to the climax fire deparment.

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