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It’s a “gripping” story. MLB, NHL, Tour de France and more

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(ABC4 NEWS – AMERICAN FORK, UT) As you walk into the headquarters of American Fork based, Lizard Skins, it becomes clear that these guys are deep into sports.

The General Manager, Brad Barker, gave me the grand tour. I was immediately drawn to a very cool display of baseball bats. I saw a black bat that had obviously been used a lot. There was a spot with the paint missing and the florescent green grip tape had a lot of wear.

Barker gave me the story on this well-loved bat. “That’s David Peralta from the Arizona diamondbacks. There are a lot of superstitions in baseball and David was on a 21-game hit streak and he didn’t want to change any of his routines and therefore he continued to use the same bat.”

You see the various bats with signatures, obvious game use and a variety of colorful bat grip tape. Do these guys make bats? No. They make the grip tape.

As the tour continued, Barker showed me a wall of Sports Illustrated magazine covers on one wall. We turn the corner and I see signed jerseys from MLB players that have been in the World Series. Let me say that again…Lizard Skins grip tape has been using the World Series. All from a company in American Fork, Utah. Wow.

It’s cool to think that this company is literally “playing in the big leagues.” I asked Barker to give us some names. He rattled off an impressive lineup; “David Ortiz, Mookie Betts, Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Randal Grichuk, Eric Hosmer, Anthony Rizzo, Brett Gardner, Dexter Fowler and the list really keeps going on and on.”

Lizard Skins is the official bat grip supplier of Major League Baseball. It all started with a little hometown help. Barker explained where it started; “John Buck who is

from Utah. John at the time was with the New York Mets. other players were seeing John use the product and we started sampling the product through teams and players.”

The company specializes in something they call the “hand to grip interface”. They started in 1993 serving the cycling industry.

“We had developed a handlebar tape that changed the industry and became a standard for the industry. taking that technology and adapting it to other sports and basing it off of interests that myself and others had, were baseball and hockey;” Barker said.

It’s amazing to see this Utah company on the world stage. I saw another wall with signed bicycle jerseys. Brad told me; “We work with three pro tour cycling teams that race in all the major cycling events like the Tour de France. That would be Movistar, Lotto-Soudal and AG2R.”

What’s next for Lizard Skins?

A smile covered Barker’s face and he coyly said; “Specializing in the hand to grip interface, we do have a new project we are working on. You’ll have to wait, and see come the beginning of the year when that launches.”

Dad Joke Alert – I’m looking forward to what could be another “gripping story.”

With another Utah Success Story, I’m Doug Jessop, ABC4 News.

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