Daily Dart Peeps Profile: NDA Player Jerry Kopecky, South Dakota

NDA: Jerry, tell us a bit about yourself—where you grew up and live now…and your family.   Besides work (and darts) any hobbies or interests? 

JERRY: I live in Aberdeen, South Dakota.   I’ve lived here my whole life.  My roots are here and know my way around these parts.   I’m married—for 22 years—and have two children.  I enjoy hunting and fishing, riding motorcycles and working on cars, and just hanging out with my family and friends.

 NDA: How and when did you start playing darts?    

 JERRY:  I started playing in 1994.  A buddy of mine asked me to sub on his team and before you knew it, I was hooked and playing full-time.

NDA:  How often do you play now?

JERRY:  In fall season, I play two nights a week and in summer, one night.   I also play in a remote North Dakota online league as well.

NDA:  What do you do for work?

JERRY:  I work for MG Leagues/Hub Music.   I’m a service tech on the route.

NDA: Who is your dart league coordinator and what’s the main value he/she brings to the table?

JERRY:  I feel we have the best coordinator anywhere.  Alvin Gerlach is a great guy and very knowledgeable, but what I like most about him is that he is all about sportsmanship.  He is passionate about the game and his players and he is there to help us, not just as dart players, but as people.

NDA: When you’re not playing, do you get in much practice time?   If so, what is your practice regime like?   What specific skills do you work on?

JERRY:  When I’m not playing league, I’m not practicing as much as I should.  When I elevated my game, I was practicing a couple of hours at a time.   I’d play “Around the World” or work strictly on bullseyes or doubles, which really helps your 01 game skills.

NDA: What’s the coolest thing you have gotten to experience as a dart player?

JERRY:   While I don’t consider myself an elite player, I’m an above-average one who has had the chance to play with and against a lot of elite dart players.   What’s been great for me is to take their input and advice to heart and see results.   For example, while playing in Kansas City, I met some very strong international players and that was a very cool experience.   So, for me, traveling to tournaments and being around some of the best players and picking up ways to improve my game is what continues to be awesome for me.

NDA: What do you like most about darts?

JERRY:   First would be the big dart family.   Here in Aberdeen, we have a very strong, close dart community here.  Second is the competition.   And again, here in my area and in South Dakota, the skill level here is unbelievable.   I think there are more skilled dart players in this state than anywhere else in the country.   And third, are the tournaments.  I love the tournaments here, as well as the NDA regionals and Team Dart, obviously.    You get to meet and become friends with so many people through darts.    We met players from a Canadian team at Team Dart that we are good friends with now and stay in touch on Facebook.    It’s great.

NDA:  What advice would (or do) you give to new/novice dart players?

JERRY:  As far as things for beginners to work on, I would tell new players to find a grip they feel comfortable with and the same for their stance.   Before they throw a dart, I think the fundamentals of having a solid grip and throwing position are really important.

NDA:  If you could pick one person you’d like to play a game of darts with, who would it be and why?   

JERRY:   I’d have to say Peter Wright (reigning PDC World Champion)    I love his style and presence…from the way he dresses to the way he handles himself when playing.

NDA: You have attended Team Dart in Las Vegas.  How many years have you been competing in this event and how does it rate on the circuit of dart events you play in? 

JERRY:  I’ve been to Team Dart twice and this year would have been my third time.   I go to a lot of tournaments, but both times I went to Vegas, it’s been amazing.   There are so many good players from all over.    It’s very well run.   I know some of the volunteers and staff and they do a phenomenal job keeping things running smoothly.   And it’s Vegas, so it’s a special event to experience.

NDA:   This year’s Team Dart was shaping up to be a solid event.  Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, NDA was forced to cancel.   Now that it’s been a few weeks since the decision twas made, how do you feel about things?

JERRY:   Of course, like everyone, I was disappointed.  It’s something that, as players, we all look forward to, from the very start of our league season.    But, it was the right decision to make.  The health of everyone involved is way more important than a dart tournament.    And we already have something to look forward to next year.

NDA:  What have you been doing to get through these challenging times?    What is your typical day like? 

 JERRY:    I’m fortunate that here, I am still going to work and get to come home to my wife, kids and grand daughter, so my daily schedule hasn’t been affected nearly as much as many other places.  With leagues not running, I’m practicing a bit and taking things day-by-day and hoping things return to normal soon.

NDA:  What is your favorite…

…Movie:  Days of Thunder

…Music or band:   Five Finger Death Punch

…Food:   Pizza–meatlovers

…TV show:  Chicago PD, Chicago Fire and Chicago Med

…Thing to do in Vegas (besides playing darts!):    Fremont Street.  I really like Old Vegas, but also enjoy being on the Strip itself and seeing all the attractions and things to do there.

NDA: Anything else to add?

JERRY:   Just a “thank you” to NDA for it does for players and the darts industry.

Published April 15, 2020

Posted in