Meet the GLLV June Member of the month, Andrew Lazarchik, owner of Wildcat Championship Belts.
Wildcat Championship Belts produces custom designed, hand made championship belts for any event or occasion. Originally created to serve the needs of the pro wrestling and MMA industry, Wildcat Championship Belts has grown to serve many different companies and international events that require unique awards or merchandise. We have produced belts for WWE, Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, NASCAR, The Rock, VH1, Hulk Hogan, and many, many more. We offer a belt for any budget and feature various styles to choose from.
Growing up in Latrobe, Pennsylvania in the 80’s and 90’s, professional wrestling was a huge part of my life. It wasn’t exactly considered ‘cool’ to be a wrestling fan in those days, but I never let anyone else tell me what I should or shouldn’t like. I used to make belts out of paper at home all the time. My aunt Lois Lazarchik worked at Commercial National Bank and she would bring me scrap computer paper, which in those days was basically 100 feet of paper, perforated and folded every 11 inches. If I could find 3 sheets that were still connected, I was golden… just the right size to draw a Heavyweight Championship belt on, cut out and fit perfectly around my 11 year old waist.
As I got older and more ‘sophisticated’ in my approach to creating belts, I started using other materials around the house to make belts. My dad owned Strickler’s Drug Store and one of his customers was John Marks of Johns Roofing. Mr. Marks would bring me his scrap rubber roofing which I would use as belts, then I would buy brass door kick plates from Petrosky’s Hardware, cut them to shape, and use a hand held metal engraver and markers to create the artwork on the plates. It was at Petrosky’s Hardware where owner Pat Markiewicz passively said something that sticks with me to this day…”Andrew, with you - where there is a will, there is a way!” I’ve taken that to heart and still am reminded of that today.
Fast forward several years. When I was attending La Roche College, I broke in to the local pro wrestling scene where I would perform as a manager, referee, ring announcer, commentator and even a promoter. I promoted several wrestling shows at St. Vincent College in the early 2000’s. Still, belts were a true passion of mine and something I really wanted to get in to making. It wasn’t easy, I had to do months of research and make a lot of mistakes along the way, but I eventually came up with a streamlined process of making my championship belts. Since Wildcat Championship Belts official inception in May 2005, we’ve steadily grown to be the premier worldwide fabricator of championship belts. It started with a dream of a young boy in Latrobe, PA. After 10,000 hours of practice, when WWE, Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs, The Rock, Hulk Hogan or you make a request, Wildcat Championship Belts is ready to produce a quality, hand made product that is sure to impress.
Some clients include: WWE, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Miami Marlins, Verizon, Google, Washington Wizards, Miami Dolphins, Darius Rucker, Wells Fargo, T-Mobile, Home Depot, Amazon, Mike's Hard Lemonade, Jeep, Baker Hughes, New York Life, Windstream, Idealease, Sports Clips and many many more international companies.
We spoke to Andrew about membership in the Greater Latrobe Laurel Valley Chamber of Commerce. "I joined the chamber in 2015 as a way to increase my role in the community," he said. "My dad was a member as the owner of Strickler’s Drug store for many years, so I wanted to carry on that tradition. I've assisted with several chamber events over the years including sponsoring and developing the Banana Cream Pie Eating contest for the yearly Great American Banana Split Celebration. This year, I am a member of the planning committee for the Great American Banana Split Celebration. I believe I am also the only chamber member to have 'Latrobe, PA' tattooed on my body!"
Andrew comments on the reason he feels that chamber membership is important. "Many people might wonder why Wildcat Championship Belts would join the chamber or how the chamber could be a benefit. The majority of the belts that we make are corporate style awards. Wrestling & MMA promoters already know where to have championship belts made which is why our marketing focus is on the corporate community. What better way to thank an employee for their contribution or for meeting their sales goal or an employee’s longevity with your company than with a custom made championship belt!? We also make belts that chamber members might want to use in their personal life such as Fantasy Football championships, a yearly Family Fishing Competition championship or even a championship belt to commemorate their wedding day!"
He adds, "The chamber is all about networking and not only getting your name out there but learning about all the great business and business people in our area. It's a great way to help match up other business acquaintances with vendors and sources for their particular needs, not just mine."
Thank you, Andrew, for being a member! Perhaps you can start a trend with your Latrobe tattoo!
View Wildcat Championship Belt You Tube video here: