I always wanted to write a book. This is probably the closest I'll come to it. I wish Shirley Lynn Hurley still had her website (passionatedarters.com) up and running as she had half my story already told. I started playing darts at my job during breaks in 1989. After a few months, a fellow I worked with invited me to shoot on their weekly men's league team at the Place Bar in Nikiski, Alaska. That fellow was Paul Muir. A few months later I was at the 1990 Alaska State Open tournament in Anchorage where I got some real exposure to competitive darts and was totally hooked on the sport.
In 1992 I won my first singles title at the Alaska State Open, which to this day, is the most memorable darts event I have ever played. In those days, it seemed we had an abundance of top players. In Anchorage, we had Ed Wilkinson, Clint Housley, J.T. Fellows, Jerry Cunningham, Steve Mangiapane, and Dale Greinke, to mention a few. Added to these guys, were Billy Keays, Richard Dewiell, and a couple more (that I can't recall) from the Valley. The Kenai Peninsula had their heavy hitters in the way of Paul Muir, Sherman Green, Ron Rust, Dean Alt, Brian Bixby, and Doyle Baier among others. All these guys were great shooters, but also displayed an element of class and professionalism that has not been matched since.
There were also some great women darters. Valdez and Fairbanks seemed to dominate the ladies dart scene with Terry Mundt and Deb Mahlen at the time, but they weren't alone. Dee Foote from Fairbanks was usually in the mix with all the ladies from Anchorage. Anchorage, being the hub of Alaska darts, was home to Carolyn McCauley, Karen Thompson, Jeri Jones, Musa Cunningham, Gerri Niswander, Shauna Munro and a few more I can't remember because I shyed away from that side of the room. I eventually started shooting my mixed doubles events with Carolyn McCauley in the early 90's and it was in 1994 that I met her daughter, Michele, whom I married in 1995. My dart partner and good friend, Paul Muir, married us at a ceremony at the 1995 Kenai Memorial dart tournament.
Michele and I honeymooned the following weekend at a dart tournament in Orlando, Florida. Shortly after that, we moved from Anchorage to Kenai. In 1998, I became the ADO Regional Director for Alaska, in addition to playing every tournament in Alaska. By 2000, I had played in tournaments in Homer, Kenai, Nome, Kotzebue, Anchorage, Wasilla, Fairbanks, Tok, Valdez, Lake Louise, Juneau, and a couple more in the Yukon Territory of Canada. I shot my first tournament in the lower 48 in 1992 at the Easy Money Open in Lexington, Kentucky. By 2000, I had played in Chicago, Las Vegas, Cleveland, New York, Houston, and Cincinnati. Most of these trips were to shoot in the ADO National Playoffs and Michele was usually with me to participate in the Women's National Playoff. In addition to tournaments, I was playing in leagues in Kenai, Anchorage, and Valdez.
By 2004, we had five kids under our roof and darts was taking a back seat to dance performances, hockey games, soccer, etc. We still made some tournaments in Alaska, but it usually involved bringing kids with us. In 2006, I gave up my position as ADO Regional Director and let darts take a back seat to my ever-increasing family obligations. In 2004, I had started an annual tournament in Cooper Landing, Alaska, that I had continued to run.
Now it's 2017. My three oldest children have moved out. Michele and I are left with two daughters at home and find that we have more time for darts. Five years ago we started playing in the Kenai Mixed Dart League as subs on a team with my brother and his wife, and my daughter and her husband. A few years ago my daughter and her husband moved out of state and we have been playing regularly every week. At the same time, we are looking at every tournament in Alaska and figuring out a way to play in them. A couple years ago, I expanded my dart playing into our local soft-tip league. My son, Kyle, now plays league and tournaments with us.
Today, I work as a Project Manager in Alaska's Oil and Gas industry. Michele works at a local Yoga studio and is an officer with the Kenai Peninsula Soccer Club and our local dart league. We run a several dart tournaments on the Kenai Peninsula and are involved with a few more around Alaska. I just took on the job as the ADO Region 1-1 Director for Alaska.