VIDEO: Colourful hair and outrageous outfits give Snakebite the confidence to perform
(C) Archant Norfolk 2013
Multi-coloured hair and outrageous outfits might not sound like a typical darts player’s attire, but for Peter Snakebite Wright, ranked number 16 in the world, his wacky image is what gives him the confidence to perform.
Dressed head-to-toe in fluorescent patterns, and with hair to match, Mr Wright, of Mendham, near Harleston, stole the show at the opening of the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) World Darts Championship last week – something he plans to repeat when he plays in the second round today.
The 43-year-old, who started playing darts at the age of 13, has played professionally for the last six years, and attracted sponsorship for the championship from LoudMouth golf, a brand that is worn by TV personality Keith Lemon.
Mr Wright said: “It’s like going to war – it’s my war paint.
“It makes me feel like I’m ready to play and it makes me feel confident.
“I used to get a few stares but now players respect me because they know I can play as well.
“It’s brilliant to have a clothes company sponsoring me and bringing some outrageous clothes to the darts scene.”
Mr Wright started experimenting with his image six years ago when his daughter dyed her hair.
With his wife, Jo, running her own hair salon – Medusa, in Lowestoft, which she recently renamed to fit in with her husband’s snake theme – the world was his oyster.
Mrs Wright said: “Naomi was experimenting with different colours so I would get them in at the salon for her to try. Peter said to me, ‘I would like to try that too.’ I said to him I would do it once and once only, and that was six years ago.
“We started using permanent dye but he wanted the colour changed every weekend.
“People think that it was me who pushed him into it but it all stemmed from him wanting to have it done.”
Now Mrs Wright airbrushes her husband’s hair with colours the morning of a match and uses a stencil to paint snakes on the side of his head to honour his nickname, which comes from his favourite drink.
Although Mr Wright has always worn loud shirts to match his hair-do, gaining sponsorship from LoudMouth has allowed him to make even more of a statement with outrageous shirts and trousers to match.
Mrs Wright said: “Loudmouth got in touch with us and said, ‘We’ve got some bright trousers we would like you to wear.’ We looked at their website and we thought ‘wow’. The clothes are Peter all over.
“They are supposed to wear black trousers but I said it was worth asking. I contacted the PDC to ask if there was any chance Peter could wear them and we were totally gobsmacked when they approved it.”
Mr Wright then had a day-and-a-half to get the clothes printed with his name and sponsors at Screens printers and embroiders in Lowestoft ready for the first round last Friday. He has left four more shirts in their care to be printed in case he makes it through to the finals over Christmas.
Mr Wright usually keeps his outfit a secret until he steps out to play, but revealed today’s attire will have a festive theme.
The Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) World Darts Championship kicked off at Alexandra Palace in London last Friday.
The £1m tournament sees 72 players competing for the £250,000 first prize and the coveted Sid Waddell Trophy.
Mr Wright beat Joe Cullen 3-0 in the first round and will now face Per Laursen in the second round tonight at 7pm.
Mr Wright said: “I’m looking forward to it. I’m going to try to win the first set and get the lead and then go from there.
“I feel good and the darts is going good.
“It used to faze me playing in front of a crowd but it doesn’t anymore. It’s my job so I just go out there and do it.”
Mr Wright has been training up to 11 hours a day for the past week in preparation for the next stage of the championship.
If he wins he could potentially face reigning champion Phil “The Power” Taylor on December 27, with the final then held on New Year’s Day.
Mr Wright said: “If I can get past Phil then I have got a real chance.
“I just focus on winning the next leg. I don’t worry about the money; I just want to be the world champion.”