Another End of the Road Dart Tourney is in the books. The turn-out was up from last year as we saw a great representation from the Kenai crowd. We also saw representation from Kodiak (Tony Belzer), which we haven't seen in over a decade. Despite the Homer Dart League folding this year, we still had five players from Homer that participated in the weekend. Colt and Dali, along with the usual staff, did a great job accommodating the group of dart players that peaked at 26 players for the Saturday night Blind Draw. Events did run late on Saturday after delays in the Open 501 Doubles pushed everything out. Combined with the hour we lost to daylight savings time, Michele and I didn't get out of there until after 3:30 AM, and Dali and Darren (bartender) were there even later! Despite the late night on Saturday, we still had 10 entries for the Doubles Cricket event on Sunday morning.
Look for next year's tourney on March 8-10, 2019. Even though the Homer Dart League has been dissolved, Wasabi's continues to be a great place for a dart tournament and we'll always see some players from Homer. Even though Michele and I run the tournament now, Colt and Dali still set up all the equipment and come up with most of the door prizes, making this one of the easiest tournaments to run for Michele and I. Sonja Olson and Sean Palmer helped us with registration at times, which really helped keep things moving and allowed Michele and I to play. With the improved participation, Colt and I believe it's time to bring back the 301 Singles on Friday. Look for that to be back on the schedule for Friday around 5 PM. We barely had enough boards for the singles on Saturday, and will likely set up more boards for at least that one event. Could be that we move back downstairs where Colt can set up 24 boards.
I took a few pictures, but could use more. If anyone that was there has some pictures that they would like me to post, just email them to me and I'll place them on this page after the results. I am missing some last names for some of the players in the results below. If anyone can help me fill those in, I'll get them posted as they come in. I am missing 5-8th place finishers in the Mixed Doubles and will get them posted when I figure that out.
Friday Blind Draw- 1st-Kyle Olson/Michele Olson, 2nd-Joe Kilbourn/Carrie Keays, T4-Chris Cronce/Susie Aguvluk, Jay Montez/Jim McClay.
Open Doubles- 1st-Dean Fleer, Sean Palmer, 2nd-Colt Belmonte, Zach Stapel, T4- Jeff Garlough/Jeff Olson, Kyle Olson/Joe Kilbourn
Women's Singles Cricket- 1st- Sonja Olson, 2nd-Carrie Keays, T4-Michele Olson, Angie Cramer
Men's Singles Cricket- 1st-Dean Fleer, 2nd-Sean Palmer, T4-Royce Holm, Chris Cronce
Mixed Doubles- 1st-Joey Olson/Sonja Olson, 2nd-Kyle Olson/Michele Olson, T4-Jeff Olson/Susie Aguvluk, Dean Fleer/Trista Fetchonhier
Saturday Blind Draw- 1st-Jeff Garlough/Dean Fleer, 2nd-Carrie Keays/Joe Kilbourn, T4-Michele Olson/Joey Olson, Jonny Wilson/Paul Muir
Women's Singles 501- 1st-Sonja Olson, 2nd-Trista Fetchonhier, T4-Michele Olson, Angie Cramer
Men's Singles 501 - 1st-Dean Fleer, 2nd-Sean Palmer, T4-Joey Olson, Zach Stapel
The only 180 thrown this weekend was by Tony Belzer from Kodiak during the 501 Doubles on Saturday. Tony and Mel finished second in the event after Michele and Pepper ran though everyone to capture 1st place money plus the $50 bonus for the highest placing "all-female" team. Michele also won the $50 bonus with Dali for the Cricket doubles on Sunday.
If there is a darting venue that has better scenery than Squirez in Juneau, it is Wasabi's in Homer. Wasabi's sits about 10 miles down East End Road in Homer, Alaska and overlooks Katchemak Bay. Wasabi's is owned by Colt Belmonte and Dali Frazier, who are also members of the Homer Dart League (HDL). In past years, the tournament has been downstairs, but was staged upstairs this year, allowing us to check out this view all weekend long. Our weekend began with an American Darts Organization National Qualifier for the U.S. Team Program. Susie Aguvluk and I will make the trip to Denver, CO in October to represent Alaska in the national event.
We have seen a handful of young players at our leagues in Kenai and at our tournaments. Austin Diaz, Kyle Olson, and Jonny Wilson (pictured above) hung with us for most of the weekend, but didn't make it for the Sunday morning event. A lot of players skipped out on Sunday as we recovered from a late night and the loss of an hour when time jumped ahead an hour during the blind draw event for daylight savings time.
After the national qualifier, we had a couple hours to kill before the blind draw event, and drove back to town to check into our hotel. Abe Alborn is the owner of King's Landing Hotel and gave us darters a killer deal on rooms for the weekend. Abe is also a member of the Homer Dart League. Most of the players stayed here, which made it real convenient for getting to and from Wasabi's.
The 2018 End of the Road Classic
Zach Stapel (pictured on the left) has been a regular at the tourney for a while now. We also see him at our Kenai blind draws once in a while. Zach even made the trip to Stamford, CT a couple years ago to represent Alaska in the ADO Allstars event.
We also had Paul Muir (pictured below) make the trip to Homer from Nikiski. It's been a while since we've seen Paul at a dart tournament. Paul is the guy who got me into darts in 1989 and married Michele and I in 1995.
Saturday saw lots of players from Kenai in the various events. Anchorage was represented by Dean Fleer and Sean Palmer, who flew in Saturday morning. Wasilla had a contingency of females (Carrie Keays, Trista Fetchonhier, and Anastasia Clarey), which helped boost the women's entries for 501 higher than the entries for men. Joe Kilbourn came from Colorado for his first End of the Road dart tourney. I think Joe is probably the only one that ate more than me during the weekend.
It's been no secret that the level of participation in this annual tourney has declined in the past couple years. Colt and Dali invited Michele and I to run the tournament so that they could concentrate on operating the bar and restaurant and have time to play darts. This worked out beautifully! Colt and Dali had all their equipment set up before I got there. I didn't have to haul down any of my stuff and set it up, which is quite a bit of work for me at most of the events I run. Once Michele and I got there, Colt and Dali didn't have to do anything with the tournament. For the first time in years, Colt played in every event. Thanks to K&L Distributers, we had some awesome door prizes that we gave away over the weekend. The Friday night blind draw saw our highest number of local players (nine). I met HDL members, Leah Hernandez, Bob Hibdon, and Jim McClay for the first time.
Like the Juneau tournament a few weeks ago, several players stuck around after Sunday's 501 singles to help Colt teardown the equipment and convert the room back to a restaurant. Michele and I stayed to visit with Colt, Dali and Zach Stapel until almost 7:00 PM before starting our 90 minute drive back to Kenai. We discussed a couple changes for next year and settled on March 9-11, 2018 for the 26th End of the Road dart tourney.
There were 12 boards set up for the tourney, which was plenty for this event as our peak participation was at 26 for the cricket singles on Saturday. Eleven of the boards were set up in the front room. I didn't even know there was a board 12 until an hour into the blind draw event on Friday. The highlight of the weekend for me, was the food. From appetizers to deserts, the food at Wasabi's unbelievable. Colt and Dali don't cut corners on ingredients, and they have spent a lot of time to create some unique servings. During the weekend, I got to try out the Octopus Poke, the Potstickers with sake pesto, the Sliders with Kobe corned beef and gruyere cheese, the Shrimp and Grits, the Smoked Duck Tacos, the Mac and Cheese with scallops, the Seafood Stew, and one bite of the Mango Layer Cake because my wife would not share any more than that. I am a big pizza guy, so I had to try the Duck Bacon Pizza. It's no wonder they ran out of this on Saturday. I started eating my Duck Bacon Pizza Saturday afternoon and left none for my wife, which is probably why I only got one bite of the Mango Layer Cake. Wasabi's also has a Sushi Bar, but it was closed for the weekend as we needed the space and their sushi chef (Colt) was playing darts. You can see their whole menu at http://wasabisrestaurant.com/.
The 2018 Results...
Friday Blind Draw- 1st-Jeff Garlough/Sonja Olson, 2nd-Jeff Olson/Sharon Peterson, T4-Colt Belmonte/Dali Frazier, Tim H/Helga Walker, T8-Tony Belzer/BJ Lebeck, Pat Walker/Kyle ?, Travis Burnett/Trista Fetchonhier, Aaron Holland/Michele Olson.
Open Doubles 501- 1st-Michele Olson/Pepper Burnett, 2nd-Tony Belzer/Mel ?, T4- Jonny Wilson/Jason Spry, Kyle Olson/Jeff Olson, T8-Pat Walker/Helga Walker, BJ Lebeck/Jeri ?, Travis Burnett/Beau Forrest, Aaron Holland/Jeff Garlough.
Women's Singles 501- 1st- Helga Walker, 2nd-Sonja Olson, T4-Michele Olson, Angie Cramer, T8-Jeri ?, Sharon Peterson, Trista Fetchonhier, Pepper Burnett.
Men's Singles 501- 1st-Jeff Olson, 2nd-Jonny Wilson, T4-Pat Walker, Travis Burnett, T8-Colt Belmonte, Beau Forrest, Tony Belzer, Jeff Garlough.
Mixed Doubles- 1st-Adam Link/Sharon Peterson, 2nd-Jeff Olson/Michele Olson, T4-Travis Burnett/Pepper Burnett, Tony Belzer/BJ Lebeck.
Saturday Blind Draw- 1st-Adam Link/Angie Cramer, 2nd-Zach Stapel/Helga Walker, T4-Colt Belmonte/Sonja Olson, Travis Burnett/Dali Frazier, T8-Kyle Olson/Pepper Burnett, Tony Belzer/Grace ?, Aaron Holland/Sharon Peterson, Jonny Wilson/Jeri.
Open Doubles Cricket - 1st-Joey Olson/Zach Stapel, 2nd-Jeff Olson/Kyle Olson, T4-Travis Burnett/Beau Forrest, Jonny Wilson/Jason Spry, T8-Adam Link/Andy Walker, Jeff Garlough/Colt Belmeonte, BJ Lebeck/Jeri ?, Michele Olson/Dali Frazier.