Column #206 The World Series of Darts – the Countdown Begins!

December 20, 2005
Column 206
The World Series of Darts – the Countdown Begins!

As the momentum gathers for the World Series of Darts (WSOD) and the first qualifier on February 4 (in Virginia Beach) I find myself puzzled by a few things.

Despite the fact that the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC), American Darts Organization (ADO), Bull’s Eye News, and pretty much every darts forum on the Internet are covering developments, there are: 1)active darts players who are not aware of the event, 2) many players who, although aware, simply do not believe it will happen, and 3) pretty much an entire country of darters who think they are being treated unfairly.

The only thing that doesn’t surprise me is that the National Darts Association (NDA), the sanctioning body of the electronic game, thinks the event occurred three months ago.

To those hermits out there let me just say: Wake up!

To the non-believers: Stay tuned!

To the British: Blimey! By the time Uncle Sam takes his cut, a million bucks ain’t worth but a sack of crisps anyway.

And to the NDA: THE WHITE SOX WON!

There is also a thread of opinion out there, shared by many Brits and Yanks alike, that Chicken Little is more likely to get flattened by the big blue sky than an American is to be competitive, let alone come out the victor in this tournament.

No disrespect intended to the PDC professionals and the current ADO point leaders, but this opinion is uninformed (as many in both organizations know) and weakened by the fact that several stateside players whose skills have stood up well in the past against the best in the world, are not currently competing. Were this the case, the ADO rankings certainly, and possibly even the PDC rankings, would be shaken up a bit. Expect some of these darters to come out of retirement.

Finally, there’s some grumbling about the official rules – the strict dress code, no smoking or drinking during matches, and the provision that if any female qualifies she must “wear nothing.” (If you do not believe this: read the rules!) For my part, I enthusiastically support all of these rules and commend the PDC’s good judgment. I hope Jess Nicoll qualifies.

Now, HOT-OFF-THE-PRESS, organized in the order they will be held: the official dates, times, venues, and other details relating to each of the 12 qualifying events. Remember, there is no entry fee, you must be at least 21 years of age and a US citizen (or naturalized citizen) to compete, and no darter may compete in more than three of the qualifiers, plus Friday Night Madness (see below). So pick your shots carefully!

Note that in some cases, final details are still being sorted out, or verifiable information was not received in time for the posting of this column. Check the Bull’s Eye News website at www.bullseyenews.com for updates. Thank you to everybody who helped compile this data – and my apologies for any errors or omissions.

Saturday, February 4, 2006 (Virginia Beach, Virginia)
CONTACT: Chris Bender – 757-671-1290, 757-438-2599 or crb64@juno.com
START TIME: 1:00 p.m.
VENUE: Lake Wright Quality Inn and Suites, 6280 Northampton Boulevard, Norfolk, VA 23502 (757-461-6251)
ACCOMODATIONS: Lake Wright Quality Inn and Suites, 6280 Northampton Boulevard, Norfolk, VA 23502 (757- 461-5925 or 800- 228-5157)
LOCAL GUYS WHO COULD SURPRISE: Scott Ingrum, David Thibault, Chuck Kemp, Shane Meeks, Robert Dysangco, and Chuck Greer
COMMENT: Though smaller than some leagues from a membership standpoint, the Tidewater Area Darting Association (TADA) hosts the highest-paying of the ADO-sanctioned tournaments in the nation: the $30,000 Virginia Beach Classic. For years, the league has prioritized its youth program (possibly more so than any other league in the country), recognizing the important relationship between starting young, the growth of a league, and the future success of its players. Two of the names above are testament to the correctness of the TADA philosophy: former ADO national cricket champion, Meeks, and current Virginia state champion, Thibault, both began their careers in the TADA youth program. Players in the Tidewater area “are very proud and honored to be holding one of the qualifying events. Overall response to the WSOD has been extremely positive.”

Sunday, February 5, 2006 (Atlanta, Georgia)
CONTACT: Jim Boan – 800-747-2631 or atlantadarts@mindspring.com
START TIME: 1:00 p.m.
VENUE: Mazzy’s II, 2217 Roswell Rd., Marietta, GA 30062 (678-213-1688)
LOCAL GUYS WHO COULD SURPRISE: Alan Mathews, Mike Bundschu, Rob Spears, Jeff Todd, Ian Bryson, Rae Nash, and Tim Bennett
COMMENT: Site of the $15,000 Peachtree Open and home to Jim Boan’s Atlanta Darts at www.atlanta.darts.com, one of the premiere darts suppliers in America (and manufacturer of signature darts for Dan Lauby, Roger Carter, and Ray Carver, among others), Atlanta – long a hotbed of darts activity – views the WSOD as “the best thing to happen to the sport in America” and hopes to “do the city and state proud” by placing one of its own in the brackets at the Mohegan.

Saturday, February 11, 2006 (New Jersey)
CONTACT: LB Darts – 631-581-1420 or 631-581-9888 (Viking Pub) or bbart@optonline.net
START TIME: 11:00 a.m.
VENUE: Prime Hotel & Suites, 690 Route 46 East, Fairfield, NJ 07004 (973-227-9200)
ACCOMODATIONS: Prime Hotel & Suites, 690 Route 46 East, Fairfield, NJ 07004 (973-227-9200)
LOCAL GUYS WHO COULD SURPRISE: Buddy Lessig, Tommy “WaterBOY” Waterman, Ritchie & Garret Hamond, Dave Hascup, Stacy Stevens, Kevin Liebkemann, Billy Bell, Dave “New Wave” Marienthal, Chris Erner, Chris “Lawntractor” Launzinger, John Daddio, Scott Agnoli, Scott Parsells, Cory Jewit, and Howie “Big Dog” Dircks
COMMENT: YES, you read that correctly. Even Dave Marienthal has been spotted in front of the practice board recently. The “shot at a million smackers” is pulling the Jersey “Boyz” out of the woodwork. They’re HYPED! They intend to put one of their own in the finals. If they don’t, “someone’s legs, they gonna get broke.”

Saturday, March 4, 2006 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
CONTACT: Mike Broderick – 215-937-6748 or mike@phillydarts.com
START TIME: 2:00 p.m.
VENUE: Joker’s Bar & Grill – 7312 Castor Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19152 (215-725-6202)
ACCOMODATIONS: Radisson Hotel, US Route #1 at Old Lincoln Highway, Trevose, PA 19053 (215-638-8300) or the Red Roof Inn, 3100 Lincoln Highway, Trevose, PA 19053 (215-244-9422)
LOCAL GUYS WHO COULD SURPRISE: Bill Davis, Russ Jasinski, Walt Felton, Joe Furphy, George Barrette, Ed Konstanty, Paul Seladones, Willie Simpson, Michael Naulty, Ray Fischer, Todd Harrington, Barney Barnstad, JoJo Kearns, Joe Zacairo, and Tim O’Brien
COMMENT: “Some people say the odds are against the Americans; Philly says bring it on!” With a history that dates back to the very birth of darts in America, beginning with the American “widdy” game, the city has produced some of the best darters to ever step to the line in this country – so such bravado should not be surprising. Names like Fischer, Lippman, Young, Scheerbaum, Nutter, Ennis, Valleto, Yost, Theide, Blackwood, Finley, Robinson, Baltadonis, Silberzahn, Wobensmith, Rill, McInnis, Del Castillo, Umberger, Dougherty, and McShane (to name just a FEW) are embedded in the Philadelphia darting lore. Given this tradition of excellence, Philadelphia (which currently supports five leagues with almost 2,000 members) expects to see one of its own or at least someone from Pennsylvania – as in Darin Young or Johnny Kuczynski – finish high in the money, if not win, the WSOD. Broderick has created a message forum for darters to discuss the event: http://www.phillydarts.com/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=18.

Sunday, March 5, 2006 (Chicago, Illinois)
CONTACT: Jim Askham – 773-283-0401 or JimAatWCD@aol.com
START TIME: 1:00 p.m.
VENUE: Purple Hotel, 4500 W. Touhy Avenue, Lincolnwood, Illinois 60712
ACCOMODATIONS: Purple Hotel, 4500 Touhy Avenue, Lincolnwood, Illinois 60712 (847-677-1234)
LOCAL GUYS WHO COULD SURPRISE: Isen Veljic, Ed “Bam Bam” DeBehnke, Kurt Hartmann, Ron Johnson, Steve Pannuncialman, and Tony Booth
COMMENT: An area with a long darting tradition (home of the Windy City Darters and the long-running Windy City Open), Chicago is “delighted to be hosting a WSOD qualifier, has as many as 50 shooters who could raise eyebrows, and anticipates that the WSOD will be the precursor to future events that will thrust American talent onto the world stage.”

Saturday, March 11, 2006 (Washington D.C.)
CONTACT: Darren Parzow – 703-858-2983 or 202-276-3548 (cell) or director@wadadarts.org
START TIME: 12:00 p.m.
VENUE: Mighty Mike’s – 22330 Sterling Blvd., Sterling, VA 20164 (703-421-8920)
ACCOMODATIONS: Country Inn and Suites, 45620 Falke Plaza, Sterling, VA (703-435-2700) and the Holiday Inn, 1000 Sully Rd, Sterling, VA (703-471-7411)
LOCAL GUYS WHO COULD SURPRISE: Doug Watkins, Ricky “Truck” Davis, John Brown, and Brian Massey
COMMENT: Players in the D.C. area are “excited that darts is on its way to the recognition it deserves as a true sport in America. The possibility of $1,000,000 adds a bit to the excitement of course. The Washington Area Darts Association (WADA) is just a buzz about the WSOD. You mention the format, the venue, the possibility of being on T.V., and playing the best players in the world and you can see the glare in everyone’s eyes!”

Sunday, March 12, 2006 (Las Vegas, Nevada)
CONTACT: Pat Carrigan – 702-454-2845, 702-349-0048 (cell), or 702-318-4242 (office) or pcarrigan@rrpartners.com
START TIME: 12:00 p.m.
VENUE: Orleans Hotel & Casino, 4500 Tropicana Ave., Las Vegas, NV (702-365-7111 or 800-675-3267)
ACCOMODATIONS: It’s Vegas, baby – find the best deal you can!
LOCAL GUYS (and a girl!) WHO COULD SURPRISE: Al Dorn, and Stacy Bromberg
COMMENT: Hard core darters are limited in Las Vegas, but interest is growing in tandem with promotions about the WSOD. Vegas is Vegas – anything can happen. This qualifier is expected to attract a crowd from around the region and the country.

Saturday, March 18, 2006 (Windsor Locks, Connecticut)
CONTACT: Steve Wehrle – 860-277-0323 or wehrlesteve@yahoo.com
START TIME: 1:00 p.m.
VENUE: Double Tree Hotel, 16 Ella Grasso Turnpike, Windsor Locks, CT 06096 (860-627-5171 or 800-222-TREE)
ACCOMODATIONS: Double Tree Hotel, 16 Ella Grasso Turnpike, Windsor Locks, CT 06096 (860-627-5171 or 800-222-TREE)
LOCAL GUYS WHO COULD SURPRISE: Paul Steinmiller, Ray Ouimette, Mark Catalano, Jacque Bourque, Dave Berube, and Rod Gill
COMMENT: As Bethel, Connecticut is the birthplace of showman extraordinaire P.T. Barnum, it’s only fitting that Connecticut is host to both one of the qualifiers and what is certain to be the Greatest Darts Show on Earth.

Sunday, March 19, 2006 (Houston, Texas)
CONTACT: Dennis Aitken (281-804-7827 or daitken170@earthlink.net ) and Janice Mansfield (281-513-7709)
START TIME: 11:00 a.m.
VENUE: Mr. B’s Billiards & Sports Bar, 803 S. Mason Rd., Katy, TX 77449 (281-398-2424)
LOCAL GUYS WHO COULD SURPRISE: Pat Cook, Chris Helms, Daryl Montgomery, Donnie Joe, and (soft-tipper) Donnie Ramcharan
COMMENT: Founded 32 years ago, the 500-plus member Houston Darts Association annually sponsors the popular Bluebonnet Classic and Houston Open – both long-time staples on the ADO event calendar. Houston also boasts a large and very capable soft-tip community and hosts a Bullshooter regional each year. Interest in the WSOD is building daily and expected to “soar” the moment formal promotion of the Houston qualifier begins. As there are many talented darters in metropolitan area and the region, turnout at this qualifier is anticipated to be as high as or higher than any other.

Saturday, April 1, 2006 (Marlborough, Massachusetts – near Worcester)
CONTACT: Thomas Sammarco – 508-376-2640 or 508-376-1053 or t.sammarco@verizon.net
START TIME: 12:00 p.m.
VENUE: 265 Lakeside Avenue, Marlborough, MA (508-481-3000)
ACCOMODATIONS: 265 Lakeside Avenue, Marboro, MA 01752 (508-481-3000)
LOCAL GUYS WHO COULD SURPRISE: Charlie Colby, Ron Pacek, Charlie Centano, Bruce Bellows, Matt Doyle, Mark Cronin, Jim Cayer, Ron Noel, and Tom Cocker
COMMENT: Information about Worcester, the city with the name that few from outside Massachusetts can pronounce or spell correctly, is difficult to come by – and verifiable information about the darts scene is particularly elusive. What can be told is this: 1) Worcester rhymes with rooster; 2) as is the case in pretty much every city in America, the Worcester Dart League (www.worcester-dart.com) hosts an active and competitive calendar, and 3) Worcestershire Sauce was not invented here. While Worcester darts may be relatively unknown beyond the city limits, this is no reason to discount any of the names above, each who “have in them the darts to shock a hell of a lot of people.” Darters here are thrilled that their city has been selected for one of the WSOD qualifiers.

Sunday, April 2, 2006 (Ronkonkoma, New York)
CONTACT: LB Darts – 631-581-1420 or 631-581-9888 (Viking Pub) or bbart@optonline.net
START TIME: 12:00 p.m.
VENUE: Holiday Inn Airport (Islip – MacArthur), 3845 Veterans Memorial Hwy, Lake Ronkonkoma, NY 11779 (631-585-9500)
ACCOMODATIONS: Holiday Inn Airport (Islip – MacArthur), 3845 Veterans Memorial Hwy, Lake Ronkonkoma, NY 11779 (631-585-9500)
LOCAL GUYS WHO COULD SURPRISE: Joe Swick, Matt Malone, Jaime Donovan, Jim Widmayer, and Joe “Geo” Giordano.
COMMENT: “Yo Dahdoid! Whaddya, stoopid? Fuhgeddaboudit! We gonna whup da Brit muddahs.”

Saturday, April 22, 2006 (Boston, Massachusetts)
CONTACT: Thomas Sammarco – 508-376-2640 or 508-376-1053 (home) or t.sammarco@verizon.net
START TIME: 12:00 p.m.
VENUE: Good Times Emporium, 30 Assembly Square Drive, Somerville, MA 02145 (617-628-5559)
LOCAL GUYS WHO COULD SURPRISE: Ray Carver, Tom Sawyer, Tom Curtin, Ron Packard, Gerome Verdaro, Pete Morrison, Denny Conlon, Jim Spinosa, Bob Given, Dave Kelly, Sean Moran, and Avery Barry (WATCH OUT for this young guy!). Also, from the Cape: Roy Chad, Mick O’Toole, Mike and Steve Maguire, and Tyson Downey. And from Providence: Fred Kreuger.
COMMENT: Established in 1974, the Minute Man Dart League (MMDL) is the largest in the world, with some 5,000 members throwing on over six hundred teams out of hundreds of establishments in eastern Massachusetts. If history and sheer numbers count for anything, the MMDL should be well represented by the time the WSOD rolls into the Mohegan Sun Casino. Anticipation is definitely building within the MMDL ranks – just check out the forum discussions at the league’s excellent website, created by Craig Bryant, at www.mmdl.org.

So there you have it – the whirlwind schedule of qualifying events!

As previously reported, the final four of the sixteen American participants will qualify at the Mohegan Sun Casino on Friday, May 19 during a competition called Friday Night Madness. There will be an entry fee of $50 (pre-registration for $40 is available at www.bullseyenews.com). Again, to compete a player must be 21 years of age or older and be able to prove their citizenship with an original copy of a birth certificate, passport, or naturalization certificate.

For three hours, beginning at 7:00 p.m., players will “challenge the board” at 501, with officials keeping track of the number of darts thrown. One a participant tallies what they are confident is an acceptably low score, it will posted a “leaders board” that will be prominently displayed in the venue. At 10:00 p.m., the top sixteen 501 scorers (as well as any ties) will move into a knockout bracket (best of seven legs) to determine the four players who will join the other twelve Americans during the next two days of competition.

The first round of the WSOD will begin at noon on Saturday with best of eleven leg matches. All sixteen of the PDC professionals will be seeded in – so each qualifying American will face intense competition straight away. There will be no redraw at any point so players will progress accordingly.

The top sixteen round will follow the first round on Saturday. This will also be the best of eleven legs.

The quarter finals will start at noon on Sunday, followed by the semi finals and finals. The quarter finals will be the best of seventeen legs. The semi finals will go 21 legs. And the finals will be battled out over 25 legs.

Stay tuned over the coming weeks for Dartoid profiles of some of the American hopefuls, reports following each qualifier, and a series of columns from the Mohegan spectacular.

Until next year, happy holidays and best wishes.

To Johnny Kuczynski, Ray Carver, and Darin Young, who are about to “warm up” for the WSOD in the first round of the world championships at Circus Tavern, respectively, against Lionel Sams (ranked 16th in the world), Ronnie Baxter (ranked 3rd), and Mark Dudbridge (ranked 10th): GOOD LUCK!

And to Jess Nicoll: please practice!

From the Field,

Dartoid

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Dartoid
Author of the column that since 1995 has been featured by Bull’s Eye News, the American Darts Organization’s (ADO) Double Eagle and numerous other darts publications and websites around the globe.

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