The darts world’s eight biggest heavyweights are in Leicester this week for the Champions League of Darts, and Paddy’s put up a stone-cold stunning trophy for them to grapple over!
We heard the complaints last year and brought in an expert consultant to help us come up with something a bit snazzier.
We got a lot of stick about our trophy for the Champions League of Darts last year. So we got some consultants in to help this year… pic.twitter.com/9kxOKU2ZXT
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) October 19, 2019
Unsurprisingly, Sheamus suggested we go with something he’s used to handling – a title belt!
We took that idea – well, you’re not going to say no to someone his size, ae you? – and tracked down the top belt-makers in the game, Wild Cat Belts.
They’re used to dealing with the demands of WWE’s impresario Vince McMahon, so coming up with a trophy for Paddy would’ve been easy.
— Raymond v Barneveld (@Raybar180) October 19, 2019
We talked to Andrew Lazarchik from Wild Cat Belts to find out more…
How do you come to be a big name in the belt making game?
Well, its been my life’s passion to make championship belts, ever since I was a kid in the eighties. I used to make them out of paper or other things laying around the house. I got better and better over the years and in 2005 iI officially went into business making championship belts. It has been said that to become an expert in anything you need to put in 10,000 of practice. I believe I’ve put that and more into creating Wildcat Championship Belts.
How much work goes into making one? How long does it take?
It all depends on the style belt. The Premium Style like the Paddy Power and WWE belts typically take around 12 weeks to produce. There are a lot of steps involved that I need to oversee the coordination of. Engraving, gold plating, leatherwork, painting, shipping, it goes on and on.
Can you reveal the most expensive belt you’ve ever been asked to make?
We’ve made some really expensive belts over the years, but they are typically expensive because they are rush orders and had to be done quickly. Probably the biggest belt we ever did, both literally and financially, was for the Pangea Jurassic World touring show that features life-sized robotic fighting dinosaurs. The belt was 9 feet long, 2 feet high and weighed over 50 pounds. It cost over $5000 to produce.
Who do you make belts for?
Anyone who wants one really. WWE is our biggest client, but we also do belts for other international organizations and events including the Nathan Famous Hot Dog Eating Championship, Google, Jeep, plus belts for individuals for retirement gifts, wedding gifts or even a Fantasy Sports award. We make belts for anyone.
What’s the most unusual request you’ve ever had from a client?
We recently did a Marijuana Championship which was unique. We get a lot of requests that never really pan out. The Dinosaur belt was definitely out most unique request/order. We’ve had interest from some unique employers on the Las Vegas, Nevada area which were very explicit!
We made a belt for the Skittles candy company where the side plates were made to look like protruding Skittles candy.
Is there anyone you’d love to see with one of your belts? A moment where you say “Wow, I made that!”?
That moment has already happened to me…twice. The first time was when my first major WWE belt debuted on tv. At Wrestlemania in 2016, Lita introduced the new WWE World Women’s Championship. They did a big unveiling in the middle of the ring and the whole crowd cheered.
I was in attendance for that even so it was pretty thrilling to be part of it. The second time was when I got to meet Stephanie McMahon and thank her for the continued business and more importantly to thank her for the entertainment her family has brought me over the years. She was super nice and a pleasure to speak with.
Want a belt of your own? Find out more about Wild Cat Belts here