NDA: Jesse, tell us a bit about yourself—where you grew up and live now…and your family. Besides work (and darts) any hobbies or interests?
JESSE: I was raised in the Pacific Northwest until I was 15. My stepfather was from North Dakota and wanted to get home. Kicking and screaming, we started the trip eastward, which ended up to be a three day drive. After leaving several times, I realized that Mandan, ND is a great place to call home. I have 2 boys that have always kept me on my toes and have recently given me 2 grand babies! As soon as the North Dakota winter breaks, you can find me on a softball field more than I should be. My passion for softball allowed me to become a Bat rep for an amazing company, so even when I am not playing, I am at the fields to help other players.
NDA: What do you do for work?
JESSE: I have the pleasure of being a Sales Manager for car dealership. I get to spend my days helping salespeople grow and better their lives! At the same time, I get to experience the joy of helping people find a vehicle that fits their needs, wants and desires!
NDA: How and when did you start playing darts?
JESSE: I started playing in about 2004. I was bartending and a team needed a sub. I spent a few years subbing and not understanding the game. Then I saw a poster for a weekly tournament that rotated through different bars. That was the beginning of the end. My eyes where opened to a whole new level of play and I was hooked!
NDA: How often do you play now?
JESSE: During our winter league (24 weeks of play) I typically play 2 nights of leagues and try to make as many tournaments as possible.
NDA: Who is your dart league operator/coordinator and what’s the main value they bring to the table?
JESSE: I get to play for Dakota Music out of Bismarck ND. I am in a unique position that has allowed me to see a ton of the behind-closed-door things that our vendor does for us. The biggest value they bring us IS they are truly here for the players! Our coordinator Paul fights for his players more than most will ever realize. From our league formats to state tournaments Paul works hard to offer his players a very player focused experience.
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?
JESSE: Even though I know it’s wrong, like most players, my practice differs based on what I feel I’m struggling with. I try to get on the board for an hourish at least 2 nights a week during season. The athlete in me knows I should have a regimented practice to better myself, but I just not there right now.
NDA: What’s the coolest thing you have gotten to experience as a dart player?
JESSE: As a Dart Nerd I am almost too much of a fan to pick a moment when I was playing. The one that stands out is actually blowing a match because a few of the Big names where huddled right behind my board. I was throwing lights out and then my friends have named it “Fan Girling Out!” They had zero interest in my game but yes, my mental state went to holy crap it’s them! Not a great idea in a single elimination tournament.
NDA: What do you like most about darts?
JESSE: It’s such a combination of things. The comradery of competition stands out to me. It allows people from all walks of life and physical ability to stand on the same oche and not only compete but become life long friends. The board is the same for the pros and the person who picks up bar darts for the first time.
NDA: What advice would (or do) you give to new/novice dart players?
JESSE: Play to the ability that makes you happy! If you want to be serious, get with the best players you can and learn the game. Darts is so much more than physical ability. On the other hand, if you want to play league and have a good time, grab some people you enjoy being around and go for it. Play as much or as little that keeps the game fun. One of the things I watch and miss is seeing players get excited when they hit tons and 5 marks. At the heart of darts is doing it because it is fun and too many lose that as they grow in skill.
NDA: If you could pick one person you’d like to play a game of darts with, who would it be and why? (It doesn’t have to be a dart player…it can be anyone!
JESSE: There are a ton of people I could name who would be amazing, and I actually have learned a ton warming up and just talking darts with some amazing players. Paul Lim would have to be the one player I would love to spend some time with. His longevity at the top, the experience of watching the game evolve across the world, and his ability to adapt is legendary.
NDA: Assuming you have attended Team Dart, how many times have you competed in this event and how does it rate on the circuit of dart events you play in?
JESSE: This year would have been our third year attending Team Dart. For me, it is a must-attend event! We have a group of friends that travel together, and Team Dart allows for each of us to play in a competitive division. Team Dart allows the players to choose a few days to play or stay the entire time. Heck, I even get an accountant to step away from tax season for a weekend to come play doubles with me.
NDA: Unfortunately, we had to cancel this year’s Team Dart. Were you going out to Vegas this year? If yes, what are your thoughts on not being able to go to Vegas this month?
JESSE: I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. I am glad that NDA made the decision when they did since it allowed me to change our plans and get things cancelled. These are unprecedented times that are going to allow us to appreciate things even more once we are allowed to get out and about. I am already looking forward to next year’s event and heck I already have flight vouchers so I can’t say no!
NDA: What have you been doing to get through these challenging times? What is your typical day like?
JESSE: Staying as positive as I can for my team at work and my family. The only things we can control are our attitudes and the amount of effort we put forth. I’m lucky enough to still be working 6 days a week even though it’s reduced hours. I have been passing some nights with online dart tourneys and avoidance of all the home projects I should have done by now.
NDA: What is your favorite…
…Music or band: I listen to everything from Rap to country , #1 artist has to be Garth
…Food: Meat, I am carnivore for sure
…TV show: Happy
…Thing to do in Vegas (besides playing darts!): I am a Fremont Street junkie. I enjoy the old school party vibe downtown and we get visit our favorite bartender Rudy!
NDA: Anything else to add?
JESSE: I can’t wait to see the NDA crew at Regionals!
Published April 13, 2020