Dartoids World


Tuesday, September 12, 2023
Column HR423 


A huge thank you is due Lisa Farrell who has made a donation to the GOLDEN ERA DART PLAYERS STACY BROMBERG SENIOR OPEN (January 19-20, 2024) bringing the Ladies Singles prize fund to $1,000 – the first tournament EVER where the Gentleman’s and Ladies prize fund is equal.


Antoine Dominique “Fats” Domino was born February 26, 1928, and passed away on October 24, 2017.  His list of rock ‘n roll hits include, Ain’t That A Shame, I’m Walkin’, Blue Monday, I’m In Love Again, Walking To New Orleans, Whole Lotta Loving, Let The Four Winds Blow and I Want To Walk You Home.  His biggest hit was, of course, Blueberry Hill.  The Old Dart Coach saw Fats in 1956 on a Sunday morning playing for the opening of a used car lot in San Leandro, California, as Fats sipped on a pint of brown liquid that was not iced tea.

Fats was remembered when Blueberry Hill Bar & Grill held their annual dart tournament last weekend.  Blueberry Hill is the most famous pub tournament in the USA and probably the world.  Owners Joe and Linda Edwards opened “The Hill” in 1972 when the area, called the Delmar, had seen better days.  Since then, the area has bloomed as has The Hill.  Their jukebox, necessary for all pub dart tournaments, choses from 30,000 records on a rotating basis – although Fat’s records are always there.  “The Hill” was named #1 Jukebox in the United States by Billboard and Esquire and #1 in the World by the BBC.

This was the 51st Blueberry Hill Open which might be the longest continuous running tournament in the USA or the world.  The main events are the King and Queen of the Hill 501 and 301 singles.  Now, getting his photo on the Wall of Champions for his 501 win is Dustin Holt.  He’ll share that honor as King of the Hill with 301 winner Eric Gregory.  They become Kings of “The Hill” for a year.

The 501 runner-up deserves a mention.  Young Harrison Carter’s apple didn’t fall far from the family tree.  His proud pappy Roger was a star when Fats Domino was turning out hits like a politician does promises.  Young Carter reached the finals with a 2-1 win over good guy Brad Wethington.  Dustan Holt also took the Cricket singles.

Renee Ripol was clearly the star this year as she will reign as Queen of the Hill for winning both the 501 and 301 singles.  Ripol scored the hat trick winning the Women’s Crickets Doubles with her partner Brenda Roush.  The women’s cricket singles went to young star Tanja Bencic who came from one down to defeat Tammy Dauber 3-2.  Tanja took the decider with a bull, double bull for the win.  Tanja has made the move from youth star to defeating the best women around without losing a step.  She missed capturing the MVP by a mere 2 points to Renee Ripol.

The men of the Champion Darts Circuit found themselves in Bloomsburg, Indiana, for the final CDC events of the year.  Left on the CDC agenda is the Continental Cup Tour finals in October.  One of the year-long tour perks is that the top points leaders from the USA and Canada earn a trip to the PDC World Championship.

Alex Spellman punched his ticket to the Ally Pally by adding to his leading point total, taking out Leonard Gates 7-2 in event #10.  Canadian David Cameron guaranteed his London trip in event #11 when he took out Dan Laudy (6-1) and then squeaked by fellow Canadian Jim long in the semi 7-6 coming from 3-1 down.  The final against Stowe Buntz was an easy 7-2 win.  To reach the final Butz took out Leonard Gates (6-1) and Alex Spellman (7-5) which assured him as runner up for the year to Spellman, so he’ll be Ally Pally bound.

Leonard Gates took the final event 7-2, beating David Cameron.  Gates didn’t qualify for the Ally Pally but lately did score a sponsorship from a manufacturer that makes a product all darters use.  The guess is that maybe the clueless manufacture didn’t know or care that Gates is the most unpopular dart player, with other players, on the circuit.  He’s surly, disagreeable, and nasty.  Hopefully, he can do for the unnamed sponsor what Dylan Mulvaney did for Bud Light and Megan Rapinoe did for Subway and common sense.

The Polish Eagle, Krzysztof Ratajski, soared in the German Open winning his first title, ending a four-year drought.  Ratajski was never challenged from the top 16 on, flying free as a bird.  Against Danny Noppert, Ratajski led 4-0 and then coasted to a 6-3 win.  Josh Rock can only blame himself for losing 7-4 to Ratajski.  Rock, when tied at 3, missed 6 darts at a double allowing Ratajski to win in 21 darts for the 4-3 lead, heading to a 7-4 win.  “Family Guy” Stephen Bunning was never in the match losing 8-3 in the final.

Some have opined that PDC darters can act anyway they please on and off stage.  Not true.  The ODC is strongly in favor of regulating behavior.  The Darts Regulation Authority (DRA) disciplinary committee is on the case.  Two players were fined £250 for their actions.  Scott Willaims was put on record for his raising of two middle fingers at Luke Humphries.  Seems unfair as Willaims was probably just indicating that Humphries was #1.

Nathan Aspinall was also fined for an obscene gesture during the Grand Slam of Darts.  “The Asp” walked off the stage with a jerking gesture associated with male self-pleasure.  That action will cost him £250 which is chump change considering what it cost PeeWee Herman.  Not sure at what stage of the event this happened.  It’s possible that it followed Aspinall’s win over Luke Humphries 16-12, moving him into the finals.  “Excessive celebration”?

Drink and dart playing sometimes leads to temporary romance.  As Fats Domino sang, “I’m in Love Again” for a couple of days, it could have been “Whole Lotta Loving” maybe followed by “Blue Monday.”

Once Cupid shot his arrow of temporary love, hopefully he gave the darter a rose to keep him quiet about his Venus indiscretions.  Keep in mind there might be a next time.  If not “Ain’t That A Shame” as he “Walked to New Orleans.”


If you receive this column by way of Howie’s Facebook post you may notice on then masthead that Brookies Sports Bureau is missing.  David Brook sadly passed away last week.  He is remembered by all as a gentleman who befriended many darters.  He will always be remembered for his ginger hair, big smile and his gentle nature.  God Bless you Dave Brook.

Tip a pint for Mr. Brook.


  • Howie Reed

    Astute, often controversial, and always humorous, the Old Dart Coach, Howie Reed (a former rodeo cowboy and advertising executive), is heralded as the Dean of Darts Chroniclers - the most prolific and widely followed writer ever about our sport. He goes back decades with the legends and knows where the skeletons are buried (just ask any of the ADO and WDF old-timers!). Here are four well-known facts about the Old Dart Coach: 1) he is a Republican, 2) he loves the ladies, 3) he can drink most anybody under the table, and 4) he throws darts as bad as Dartoid.