Steve Darnell: Who is the star of Vegas Rat Rods?

Steve Darnell, star of Vegas Rat Rods
Vegas Rat Rods’ Steve Darnell with beauty queen Angelia Layton. Pic: @welderupvegas/Instagram

We know Steve Darnell from his TV series Vegas Rat Rods, but what was he doing before then and how did the show start?

Steve was raised in Billings, Montana, and attended Skyview High School. As a youngster, he was a keen wrestler and was part of the wrestling team at school.

In fact, it was Steve’s wrestling coach, Rich Malia, who saw Steve’s talent with engineering and suggested that he sign up for an automotive trades program.

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Rich had wanted to give his daughter a bicycle as a present, and asked Steve if he could build one.

Apparently, the bicycle has been passed down the family and is still being used today!

Steve using at work on a hot rod for Vegas Rat Rods Season 3. Pic: @welderupvegas/Instagram

Steve became a rancher in his native Montana, later starting Welder Up to serve the farming and agriculture industries.

This meant, of course, that he was repairing heavy machinery, not cars. So how did he make the leap?

Well, in 2008, Steve built an unusual hot rod; plumbing a twin-turbocharged, 5.9-liter Cummins diesel engine into a 1933 Dodge sedan.

The car ruffled a few feathers among veteran hot rod builders, but attracted a lot of attention at car shows.

Hot Rod magazine ran a feature on the car, which was when Welder Up started to be inundated with requests for custom cars.

Steve decided to move the focus of Welder Up on to cars and move the business to Los Angeles, a place he had lived on and off over the years.

The business soon took off, and Steve was approached by a Canadian production company.

Together, they pitched the idea of Vegas Rat Rods to Discovery. It was picked up by Discovery’s Canadian network before being aired in the US.

Since 2014, Steve’s blend of likeability and creativity has ensured the show’s ratings are high, with the rest of the Welder Up crew combining to help to produce some amazing cars and win a lot of fans.

In fact, all of these guys have become celebrities in the world of cars and customizing.

Vegas Rat Rods airs Mondays at 10/9c on Discovery.

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