Kenai Darts is Growing!
December 16, 2017
When I started playing darts in Kenai in 1989, we had three dart associations and the annual Kenai Open Dart Tournament was a $10,000+ event at the Soldotna Sports Center. A few years ago, when Michele and I started playing league darts again, our only option was the Kenai Mixed Dart League (KMDL) on Thursday nights. There was a soft tip league on Wednesday nights, and we started playing in that a couple years later. The Kenai Women's Dart Association and the Kenai Men's Dart Associations have been gone for almost a decade now. The weekly blind Saturday night blind draws that we used to have at the AMVETS have been gone for about 10 years as well.
This year, we started a weekly blind draw at the Eagles Aerie 3525 in Kenai on Saturday nights. The weekly blind draw is averaging about 20 players per week with a peak of 32 one Saturday. The blind draw has been a great venue to introduce new players to the sport and we have even had a couple old-timers show up. It has served has a great recruitment tool for adding players to both the KMDL and the Kenai Soft Tip Dart League KSTDL. The Saturday night blind draw is at 7 PM every Saturday and features a double elimination Chicago format. We have done a couple theme nights and have some great ones coming up. December 23rd will be our ugly Christmas sweater night. December 30th will be our black light party, and January 6th will be our "Widdie" night. We have lots of door prizes every Saturday and free food! All that for an entry fee of $10.
The KMDL grew by two teams this season, with the VFW in Soldotna fielding a team for the first time. Check out our website at kmdl.leaguerepublic.com . Buddy Munro is the newly elected President of the league. He is supported by Vice President Bud Vinson and Secretary/Treasurer Michele Olson.
The Kenai Soft Tip League also grew by two teams and saw the Kenai Elks as a new venue. I really enjoy this soft tip league and especially the way it is managed. Cliff Bergeron is the President of the league. I'm not sure who the other officers are, but I know Crystal Stonecipher is very involved with helping Cliff in keeping the stats up to date. You can read more about the Kenai Soft tip league at my KSTDL page at http://www.jeffsdarts.com/kenai-soft-tip.html . You can check out their website at kenaistips.leaguerepublic.com .
We have a Monday night men's league starting up on January 8th. We already have three four-person teams and expect to see a couple more. The season will run through March and feature the same format as the old Wednesday night men's league. We'll have a meeting at 7 PM on January 1st at the Eagles Aerie 3525 in Kenai. At the meeting, we'll finalize team rosters and create the schedule. Like many leagues in the country, we have a hard time finding women. This last September, as we recruited for the KMDL, we had a hard time filling team rosters because of the requirement to have two women on the team. A few venues couldn't register teams because they couldn't find women to play. Now we have several guys who can't play on Thursday nights because their is simply not room for them. I am one of those guys! This Monday night league will give these men an opportunity to play league darts and give other a second night of darts. Of course, we'll allow women to play as subs on these teams until they can get a league of their own.
Many of you know I sell dart supplies at my tournaments and keep a cabinet at the AMVETS on K-Beach Road. I started doing this after the local suppliers we had disappeared. I have sold a lot of Voks Darts, dartboards, and dart supplies these past few months. Just this past week, I sold four sets of Voks, four dartboards, and a handful of supplies.
Right around the corner from the American Legion in Kenai, we stopped in on the match where Kenai Joes was hosting the VFW Tiddly Diddlers. Kenai Joes is the oldest bar in Kenai, and has featured darts for has long has I can remember. The team at Kenai Joes is captained by Coco Mallett, who happens to be the only guy in the league that has played darts around here longer than I have. This is another family team featuring Coco's son, Ryan, and Coco's older brother, "Bones". All these guys are regulars at our weekly blind draw as well. I couldn't get out of here without doing a shot of whiskey with Coco. The Tiddly Diddlers is our newest team, featuring John and Tabitha Walker, and Jared and Mariah Brown. Kenai Joes ended up putting up an 11-4 win over the VFW.
My night started off at the AMVETS where I dropped of Michele's team. The AMVETS Post 4 has two dart teams that play out of here in the KMDL. The Point Whores dominate the league in standings and have for the past five years. They recorded a 15-0 win on this night. As I drank a cold Guinness at the bar, my long-time friend Jerry Cooper walked in for a visit. Jerry and I have worked together over the years and have played darts together in leagues and tournaments. Since I wasn't playing on this night, I had decided that I would go around and visit a few of our league matches and promote our upcoming men's league. Jerry decided to accompany me on my road trip.
My Thursday Night Pub Crawl
December 15, 2017
This past Thursday night I served as the designated driver for the two AMVETS dart teams. The Point Whores is Michele's team. I used to play on this team, but separated to form my own team, the Point Mongers. As the dart season started in October, we started accumulating men who wanted to get on a team and I soon relinquished my spot on the team to allow room for these guys. It actually worked out real well for me as I also play on Wednesday's and Saturday's in addition to the many dart tournaments around Alaska. After dropping off the Point Mongers at the American Legion for an away match, I rounded up the Point Whores for their home match against the Eagles I.
Our first stop was at the Eagles Aerie 3525 where the Vagabond 2 was visiting the Ornery Eagles. I had two new Unicorn Eclipse Pro dartboards to drop off here to replace a couple of the boards that had become pretty worn out. With three teams playing out of here and a weekly blind draw event, it's no wonder they go through dartboards. On this night, I visited the women's restroom for the first time when Jerry Cooper took me in there to see a picture that his uncle had painted a long time ago. Not sure how the match turned out.
Our next stop was at the American Legion were I had dropped of my team - The Point Mongers. The American Legion team is mostly made up of the Segura/Wilson family and have been playing in the KMDL for decades. If you look in the upper left corner of the picture above, you'll see Jerry Cooper at the bar. He's the one that looks like Hagrit in the Harry Potter movies. The Point Mongers ended up defeating the Legion by a score of 11-4. After we left, Kyle Olson threw his first 180 which also happened to be the first one thrown in the KMDL this year.
We finally made our way back to the AMVETS where I expected to see Michele's team ready for us to take them home. As it turned out, the match was running unusually late due to everyone on the home team having a BAC that I'm sure was over the legal limit, as did Jerry Cooper, who I think felt he had to make up for my lack of drinking that night. Had I known the match was running so late, I would have made the trip out to the Roadhouse to visit their match against the Eagles III. Soon after Jerry's wife, Kate, came by and scooped him up, the match finally finished. We went by the American Legion to grab my team, but only Sharon Peterson still remained as the rest of the team got tired of waiting and found another ride. After a brief night cap at Kenai Joes (like anyone needed another drink) we made the rounds to drop off the remaining members of our teams to finally arrive home around midnight.
After Kenai Joes, we headed back onto K-Beach Road to pay a visit to the Vagabond. On this night, the Vagabond Red-Eye Wranglers were hosting the Albatross. Our league President, Buddy Munro, plays for the Albatross and lead the team to an upset victory over the Wranglers with a narrow 8-7 score.