Tom Oar of History Channel’s “Mountain Men” Is Heading To Western Virginia Sport Show
Living off the land far away from the conveniences of modern civilization might be just a dream for some, but not for Tom Oar. He and his wife, Nancy, live in Montana’s secluded Yaak River Valley. Tom has gained notoriety as one of the original personalities featured in History Channel’s television series, “Mountain Men.” Debuting in 2012, the show continues to air today, and Tom has been there from the first episode. He will be one of the celebrity guests at the upcoming Western Virginia Sport Show in Fishersville, Virginia. I caught up with the soft-spoken 75-year-old, who had just put off a late-season elk hunt due to blowing winds and bitter temperatures below zero.
Tom speaks about his adventurous history. He says, “Half of my life was spent with a rodeo career. I rode buckin’ horses for 25 years, and I rode bulls for 18 years. Well, I guess I rode my last saddle bronc when I was 41 years old, and, by then, Nancy and I had moved to Montana and found us a little spot in the woods, and we’ve lived off the land, really. I’ve been a trapper in the winter time. I’ve made a living selling furs, and years ago, I took up the hobby – it was a hobby, really, of brain tanning, and that’s what the Native Americans did before ‘the white man’ came here to this country. I mean, that’s what clothing was made with is brain tan deerskin mostly, but I kinda did it for a living, too. We got in to goin’ to rendezvous, black powder rendezvous, and at these rendezvous, the best dress to be wearing is buckskin clothing, and, so, for years, we’ve tanned buckskin, and then we started custom-making clothing, too. That’s kinda been my life. I haven’t really had a job, you know, just lived in the woods and lived off the land, really.”
So, what does Tom think is so intriguing about the “back-to-the-woods lifestyle” that people these days are interested in? “I don’t know, it’s this thing that we had when we were kids, I think, how when you’re a kid you went off in the woods and you built a little house or a little shack out in the woods, you know, lived in the woods, you know. I don’t know.” Tom says with a laugh. “It’s somethin’ that appealed to me even as a grown man.”
The show “Mountain Men” has made Tom known worldwide, which comes with some ups and some downs. He enjoys meeting with fans, but he has had to deal frequently with a loss of privacy. He explains, “We live out here in the woods. We live four miles from the British Columbia border and about fifteen miles east of the Idaho Panhandle. We live in the middle of the Kootenai National Forest. We had over 300 people that came to our house last summer to take our picture and shake our hand. We had honeymooners here two years ago from Switzerland! You know, it’s crazy!” Tom laughs.
Fans won’t have to travel that far away to see Tom and can meet him in a more appropriate space for a picture and handshake, since he will be at Augusta Expo for the Western Virginia Sport Show, one of just a few outdoor sport shows he attends each year. Tom says, “The fans are real important to me, and that’s really neat to meet all the different people and talk to ‘em. There’s always somethin’ of interest, and there’s always interesting people to meet.”
Again, Tom Oar plans to be at the Western Virginia Sport Show at Augusta Expo in Fishersville, Virginia on Saturday, February 23, 2019 for a meet-and-greet with anyone in attendance. More information is available online at www.westernvasportshow.com.