When fall sets in, there's a shift in trends. It's a time for pumpkin spice lattes, sweaters, and all-new seasons and premieres of your favorite television shows. This is the time when the networks are kicking off their fall lineups, and the Discovery Channel is no different. One of the shows that will be airing this fall on the Discovery Channel is "Vegas Rat Rods," a show that chronicles the car builds of the Welder Up crew. This will be the 4th season following the "Vegas Rat Rods" cast, and here's a great sneak peek of the premiere episode.
(I want to thank the Discovery Channel for this clip from the first episode of Season 4)
Rat rods are mash-up vehicles that pay homage to vehicles of the '50s and the '60s but are done in a customized and individual way. They're the kinds of vehicles that are meant to be driven and aren't made to be perfect. They're customized pieces of automotive art, and no one does it better than the guys at Welder up. They've gained loyal fans over the last 3 seasons, and there's serious anticipation for the upcoming 4th season.
Like all of the great motoring shows that the Discovery Channel has to offer, this show is unique and fun. The shop crew is a group of guys and gals that you could see yourself hanging out with after work on a Friday night. Here are 20 facts that both "Vegas Rat Rod" fans and curious Discovery Channel viewers will want to know about the cast, builds, and things you don't get to see.
20 Season 4
Season 4 is going to be jam-packed with the intense builds and fun that fans expect and new watchers will appreciate. New episodes will air Monday nights at 10 pm and Tuesday nights at 9 pm (yes, it's good enough to get episodes on twice a week). *Spoiler Alert* The season will pay respect to the hardworking, blue-collar ironworkers of the world. The first episode features an amazing 1958 Apache being transformed into a badass vintage dirt bike hauler and a resurrection of Evel Knievel's Formula 1 dragster. It's must-see motoring television for gearheads and Discovery fans alike.
19 Canadian Connection
The show is considered a sleeper of a hit show. Steve Darnell (the owner of the Welder Up shop and business) never intended to have a television show, but that all changed when he was approached by a Canadian production company.
The show started out as part of the lineup for the Discovery Channel's Canadian network, and it turned into a major viewing draw.
The viewing numbers that the show produced allowed for it to expand into the United States market, and now, it's going into season 4.
18 North, Strong, And Free
Because the show was airing in Canada, it was necessary for the shop to employ a certain number of Canadian personalities. This was necessary in order for the viewers in Canada to be able to connect with the show on a more personal level. These personalities included Cheyenne Ruether (who won't be in season 4), Grant Schwartz, and Twiggy Tallant. This mix of American and Canadian cast members has ended up becoming a way to continue to appeal to viewers on both sides of the border when it transferred over to the US network.
17 Gaining A Reputation
The Discovery Channel has a list of reality-type television shows with personalities that are unforgettable and addicting to watch. Some of these personalities have noticed the skill and quality of work that the Welder Up crew puts out, and they've expressed an interest in wanting to work with or hire the crew to do some work for them. Names such as Todd Hoffman of "Gold Rush," Wild Bill from "Deadliest Catch," Thomas Weeks from "Misfit Garage," and "Horny" Mike Henry from "Counting Cars have all shown serious interest in what the Welder Up shop is doing.
16 Steve Darnell's Ambition
Although television was never his ultimate goal, his success has spawned some ambition in the business owner. It's said that he's expressed a desire to pitch other shows. According to Steve, "I've got about three of them that I'd like to do." It seems that he's been bitten by the bug and has been considering some things. The types of shows that he'd like to pitch haven't been discussed, but this could be something to watch out for in the future. He's definitely the type of guy that's not afraid to step outside the box a bit.
15 Finger Death Punch
Steve Darnell has proven to be a creative guy that definitely wants to get his hands into numerous things. In 2013, the band '5 Finger Death Punch' redid "House of the Rising Sun," the 1964 classic by The Animals. The video had a Mad Max feel to it and was shot out in the middle of the desert. Steve Darnell provided numerous props and cars for the video shoot that the band's fans would recognize in the show as well. His creativity knows no real bounds, and it shows his willingness to embark on new endeavors.
14 Humble Beginnings
The roots of the Welder Up shop are rooted in the ranching life of the great state of Montana. Darnell was originally a rancher who then decided to open a shop that fixed heavy machinery and agricultural equipment for fellow ranchers and other companies. He didn't customize his first rat rod until 2008, but when he took that car to a local car show, it turned out to be quite popular. This car was even featured in Hot Rod Magazine, where he began to gain some popularity within the hot rod community. From these humble beginnings, the rest is history.
Particular brands will seek sponsorship with particular shows in order to grow their popularity and demonstrate their quality in real-life situations. Some of the sponsored brands on "Vegas Rat Rods" include FASS Diesel Fuel Systems, Portacool, XDP Diesel Power, NX Nitrous Express, and Edwards Iron Works. The products produced by the brands are used on the show in order for them to be exposed to other companies and businesses within the car-building, -manufacturing, and -restoration industries. This benefits both the show and the brands themselves in the form of profits.
12 Inspiration To Others
For those who watch the show and those who haven't yet but plan on it, one of the things that are important to Steve and the crew is family. He sees his show as more than your typical motoring show. He has ulterior motives when it comes to the message that he wants to send to viewers.
His ultimate hope is that he can inspire fathers to get into the garage with their kids in order to teach them hard work and family bonding. "I'm so passionate because hard work is how I got here."
11 Major Money
Every member of the crew at Welder Up takes great pride in what he or she does, and all of them consider it to be just as much about art as it is about cars. The combination of the decades of experience the crew has, their supreme creativity, and the quality of the work that the shop puts out has resulted in many of the builds they do costing upwards of $100,000. These cars are one of a kind, and when customers receive one, they can be sure that there isn't going to be another one out there like it. It makes you wonder—what's Steve Darnell's overall net worth at this point? With the combination of a business, a television show, and merchandise, who knows?
10 Family Pride
His love for family is also evident in the pride that he has for where he comes from. His father and grandfather were major influences in his life, and he's proud of the men that he descends from. His grandfather was a World War II veteran who returned home and became a truck driver. His father started his own steel factory business during the difficult financial times of the 1970s. These men put in long hours and hard work in order to be what they became, and Steve works hard to continue that work ethic and legacy in his daily life and work.
9 An Emotional Build
"Some of my interviews, I couldn't even get through. I mean, I was bawling half of the time because it was pretty emotional."
The "Rose" Rod was built and gifted to the shop manager during a difficult time in his life.
His 2-year-old son was diagnosed with pediatric cancer, and in Welder Up way, they showed their love and support in the form of a car. Steve explained that the idea for the car originated in 2008, and it was going to be for breast cancer. It was put to the side until the right time to do the build, and when this happened to the shop family, it was the perfect time to do the build.
8 Twiggy Tallant
Twiggy is originally from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and she came to work in the shop in quite an interesting and roundabout way. Her original goals included wanting to become a model and performer, and while she was working as a model, she was hired to work at a car show. At that show, she would lay eyes on her first rat rod, and that was that. She became absolutely intrigued, and her career goals completely changed. She then enrolled in an automotive technology course and later was able to become an apprentice to Steve Darnell. That is one heck of a career change, and she calls it a "love at first sight" type of situation.
7 Dave Leflen
Also known as "Barber Dave," he's the quirky funny guy in the shop. He's incredibly passionate about what he does, including his barber shop (yes, he also owns a barbershop). A couple hours from Las Vegas is where he's established a barbershop fittingly called "Barber Dave's." He pours the same passion he has for cars into his shop. When he set up the shop, he knew that he wanted to create a local barbershop that his customers would love coming to. He's established a successful side business and a slew of loyal customers who'll only go to Barber Dave's.
6 Travis Deeter
Travis is a Las Vegas native who practically grew up at the Las Vegas drag strip. In his younger years, he began working on drag bikes and cars, and his love of all things automotive grew from there. "I am a welder, fabricator, and artist," Travis says about his skills. He, like the other people in the shop, considers himself so much more than one thing. He uses this approach to bring the ideas and designs to fruition in a sweet balance of car and art.
5 Merlon Johnson
His name is quite fitting because of his wizard-like skills in the shop. He brings 40 years of experience and a specialization in turbo diesel motors. His experience dates all the way back to the age of 7.
His first engine job was putting a 175cc motor into a go-cart, and his interest and skills only grew from there.
He's an important member of the crew, and he's the kind of guy that the young guys can learn from. The experience that he has is being actively passed on to the next generation of gearheads.
4 Justin Kramer
"Don't talk about it; be about it" is the motto that Justin brings to the shop. He's proven to be a welder extraordinaire who can weld any kind of metal you put in front of him. His love of welding started when he discovered his grandmother's welder in the barn. According to his personal description on the shop site, he burnt down his grandmother's barn at the age of 13 while teaching himself how to weld. He's a representation of the new generation of mechanics and fabricators, and he's proud of what he does.
3 Chase Darnell
Along with his brother Kash, Chase is one of the newest members of the Welder Up shop crew. They're the sons of shop owner Steve Darnell. They're learning all that the experienced pros at the shop can teach them. He and his brother are working to be masters at their trade. It's their father's vision that the boys will inherit the business and continue the work that he's teaching them all about. Chase and his brother seem to be chips off of the old block, as the saying goes. They're keeping it all in the family.
2 Kash Darnell
The family legacy continues with Kash and his brother. Their father is instilling in them the same things that their great-grandfather and grandfather instilled in him. It's all about hard work, dedication, and striving to be the best at what they do. They're just beginning to learn the business, but their grooming to do the work started at a young age. They've long watched their father work hard, and they want to continue in his footsteps. It's a special thing for Steve to be able to work with his sons.
1 Steve Darnell
The ringleader of the crew, Steve is the strong-willed owner of Welder Up. Steve's love of fabrication and metal work goes all the way back to high school. While on the wrestling team, his coach asked a favor of him. He knew about Steve's talents, and he asked Steve to build a gift for his daughter. He wanted him to build a custom-made bicycle, and Steve delivered gladly. In a great ending to that story, his work was quality even then because it's said the daughter still has the bike that Darnell made for her.
Sources: rodauthority.com; screenrant.com; welderup.com