Country Boys Update: Chris Johnson

KET talked with Chris Johnson and Cody Perkins, the subjects of David Sutherland’s film Country Boys, in May 2006.

Building a good life has been a challenge for Chris Johnson. He has found a solid job with a security company at a local coal mine, working 12-hour shifts. He still lives in a small trailer in Garrett, a tiny community outside Prestonsburg.

For fun, Chris enjoys wrestling with the Commonwealth Wrestling Association, where, fittingly enough, he goes by the name of Country Boy. He also likes Japanese anime and video games.

 Chris waits anxiously to attend college. He says he is delayed by financial need and the inability to get financial aid until age 24 because his father is dead and his mother has left the state.

He left Kentucky himself for a few months, following his mother and a desire to be near family, but he has returned—for good this time, he says.

“I always said I wanted to move around,” Chris said, “but it didn’t feel like home. Most of my family was raised here. I missed my friends. This is where I was born and raised, and it will be where I die.”

Although he says the documentary didn’t change his life much, Chris says he still would do it again “in a heartbeat.” He also still gets occasional calls from viewers wanting to chat.

His advice for others reflects his own ambivalence about family: “Make time for your family,” he says, “but also make time for yourself. If you can, keep those separate. If you live too much for them, you lose who you are.”