Column #HR105 Memories of the Las Vegas Open

Monday, January 20, 2014
Column HR105
Memories of the Las Vegas Open

This effort should hit the “ether wave” prior to the Las Vegas Open.  The brainchild of the late Bob Murdock and his wife Marki, today  the tournament is the premier steel tip event in Las Vegas.  Memories of the Las Vegas Open are many and varied…

At the long gone Hacienda, was a Sunday morning invasion of the “Bountiful Buffet”  by a gaggle of Asian Bus Tour People.  One feature of the brunch, besides bottomless glasses of cheap champagne, were the really big Alaskan crab legs.  The invaders thought they had found nirvana as they wrapped the crab legs in paper napkins to snack on later while bus touring.  Yummy that.

Another memory…

The Las Vegas Plaza Hotel downtown was the site for more than one Las Vegas Open.  The ODC acted as the caller/MC for the staged finals.  Once he was asked by  Not A Fan:

“You get paid for that?”

“Yes.”

“You’re overpaid.”

Darters loved to gamble with Las Vegas and Atlantic City providing the only opportunities.  One Young Friend  loved to gamble.  Like all gamblers he did it well and not so well.  After building  a sizeable bankroll thanks to the Plaza he was rockin’ and rollin’.  Gamblers on a winning streak are only “quasi” normal.  Young Friend gave the ODC a large sum of cash to hold with the instruction:

“Don’t give me the money back until I’m ready to go home.  I’ll get you comped for dinner.”

The ODC had fallen in “heat” making a date for dinner with a fair young damsel.  Talk about being on a roll.  After standing in line at the steak house for over an hour while others entered the ODC spied the lady in question.

“Didn’t we have a date for dinner?”

“I changed my mind.”

Then the ODC was confronted by his Young Friend:

“Give me some of my money.”

“NO.  You said to hold it.”  Young Friend left.

Shortly later two security guards, accompanied by Young Friend, and confronted  the ODC:

“That’s him.”

“This man said you stole his money.”

“He told me to hold it.”

“Sure.  Give him his money or we’ll be forced to arrest you.”

Ya win some and lose some but two on the trot?

More memories…

Two years ago, the ODC actually played doubles with his pal John Boyne.  The draw was against a very good player who the ODC had implied was a “jerk” in writing.  Said Jerk just happened to be from the same area as the good folks that ran the tournament.  What are the chances?

The ODC and Pal John notified control when after 10 minutes the opposition failed to show.  No second call.  It was 20  minutes later when the opposition strolled up.  No “I’m sorry” – just a quick 2-nil victory and “sign the card.”  What are the chances?

The ODC was diligently practicing for his 2014 dart debut in preparation for his 2014 Asia Tour later in the spring.  He received a training injury thus causing his partner (name withheld to protect his reputation) to shed crocodile tears while whining:

“Maybe next year.”

Tournaments in Las Vegas have always depended on our good friends from the land of Hockey Pucks, Maple Leafs and nice people.  One of those is “Big” Tony Holyoake.  For years he was the Rolls Royce of Canadian players.  He was also one of those that supported the men that formed the PDC, as he reminded the ODC whose mind is “iffy” at best.

“I left the Canadian Dart Federation (NDFC) over the ‘break up.’  Mr. Croft’s exclusion of me from another Embassy while being ranked Canada’s #1.  It was  he and Bill’s way of getting at me for supporting the boys!”

The Embassy is now the BDO World Championship at Lakeside or at least some combination of those words.  For  non-PDC players it’s a combination of the World Series, Super Bowl and free beer all day while standing.   During this year’s play a “brouhaha” broke out between some players and the BDO.  The ODC is siding with the BDO.  That stance should bring an angry response from some old friends – probably led by his oldest English friend Dr. WB.

To understand the ODC’s stance the key is recognizing that the majority of dart players are not altruistic.  Their view of things, as the ODC’s Padre use to say, “depends on whose ox is getting gored.”  Exception are as rare.  They were the “Me” generation before there was a “Me” generation.

The BDO decreed that men finishing in the top four of the 2014 Lakeside would have their checks withheld until after the deadline for a free ride into the PDC Tour.  Good for the BDO.  The BDO is there to defend their brand and not to be a feeder system for the PDC.  Dart players are going to have to put on their big boy pants and stop whining.

During the playing of the Lakeside a “poster” (and probability a “poser” as well) brought forth the proposition that Eric Bristow had no room to talk about quality darts because “he (Bristow) never won a major PDC title.”  Bristow’s record contradicts that statement posted by “High Voltage.”  He might consider changing his name to “Low Intellect” or “NFC” for short.

Bristow had some not kind words for Ted Hankey and Co Stompe who jumped from the PDC back to the BDO.  “Cowards.”

The Las Vegas Open will again be a meeting place for darters from the four corners of the darting world.  The promoters have done a great job of resurrecting this early year meeting into a “premier” event.  Good for them.  Rest assured that the ODC will make an appearance on Saturday to mingle with the masses and do his part to meet the bar guarantee.

He’ll be carrying his custom darts but not playing.  His old pal The Kid use to wander around dart halls full of happy juice.  He always carried darts.  When asked why he’d answer, “Ballast, Cowboy, Ballast.”

For dart players every tournament is about mood which can be adjusted sometimes with the proper amount of various fluids.  The right mood ensures chances of cashing while a bad mood means trouble.  Pal Paul Challis has come up with a method to judge his mood:

“My wife has been complaining about me losing my temper a lot, so she bought me a mood ring to monitor my mood swings.  When I am happy it turns green, when I am not it leaves a red mark on her forehead.”

Stay thirsty my friends.

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Howie Reed
The one and only Howie Reed (the Old Dart Coach) goes back decades with the legends of our sport - he knows where the skeletons are buried. Just ask any of the ADO and WDF old-timers! His widely popular column, Toeing the Oche, is a must-read.

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