Montana State University

MSU School of Art hosts World Champion Belt Buckle competition and exhibit

April 22, 2014

"Space Cowboy," a buckle made by Daniel Icaza of San Jose, Costa Rica, was the first place winner in last year’s MSU World Champion Belt Buckle competition. Icaza will visit MSU to co-jury this year’s competition.   High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571

BOZEMAN – Submissions are due Friday, April 25, for the third annual World Championship Belt Buckle Competition hosted by the Montana State University School of Art. 

Bryan Petersen, professor in the MSU School of Art and organizer of the online competition of wearable, one-of-a-kind wearable examples of handcrafted art in a belt buckle format, said that Daniel Icaza of Costa Rica, champion of last year’s contest, will visit the MSU School of Art Metalsmithing Department to co-jury the competition and speak with art students. Peterson will also co-judge the competition,

Petersen said the World Championship Belt Buckle Competition has grown in popularity and created a venue for buckle makers and artists working in contemporary art in the buckle format from throughout the world.

The competition has managed to sustain itself financially and create a visiting artist fund for the MSU Metalsmithing Department, Peterson said. For instance, the contest has allowed MSU’s student-run guild to hire Icaza to teach a technical workshop on a Japanese metalsmithing technique, called Mokume-Gane, in which layers of copper and brass are forge welded into a laminated billet and then patterned with either concentric circles or a linear patterns.  Icaza used the technique in his 2013 winning buckle entry, “Space Cowboy.”

The winner of this year’s contest will receive a belt buckle made by John Winston of Bunnell, Fla., who was runner-up in the 2013 competition. Winston has made pirate-themed belt buckles collected by such people as Johnny Depp, Jerry Bruckheimer and Steven Segal, and will be contributing a buckle in his renowned pirate style to the competition.

“Winston explains the significance of the buckle to pirates describing how they were some of the first to create and wear buckles, taking a cinch strap from a horse and fashioning a large brass buckle,” Petersen said.

For more information about the contest, go to or

Bryan Petersen (406) 994-2952, (912) 531-4625