August 17, 2021 If there was any doubt on how the darting community would respond in the wake of its 15-month hibernation, it was quick dispelled at this year’s Team Dart. From start to finish, it was “business as usual,” punctuated by intense competition and fun for the nearly 2,300 players on hand at Westgate Las Vegas.
During his remarks to members at the organization’s Annual Meeting during the event, NDA President Preston Obrigewitsch noted:
“The most common comment I’ve been hearing from players this week is how happy they are to be back here playing darts. Amen to that. We are confident that when we are back together here next year, Team Dart will be back at full strength, and then some.”
Fact is, if international players and delegations from places like Canada, Germany and Spain were not faced with travel bans/restrictions and lengthy quarantines and could have participated in typical fashion, this year’s Team Dart player numbers would have rivalled the last tournament in April 2019.
Let’s get right to the highlights:
- NDA’s Team Dart celebrated its 35th anniversary, with daily raffles for prizes provided by Westgate—free meals, complimentary limo rides back to the airport, buckets of beer and Cabaret show tickets;
- On Sunday, June 13, NDA’ Team Dart “went pink,” with the debut of a Pink Ladies Doubles 501 event that was launched by a spirited Opening Ceremony featuring nearly 250 Pink Ladies players;
- A Pink Ladies fundraiser was conducted during the tournament, with beads, lanyards and raffles for other prizes awarded for donations. T. Glasgow, NDA’s management firm, contributed $1,000 to the Pink Ladies cause;
- On Opening Night, the tourney got off to a rockin’ start with a special Pool Party that featured free beer, snacks and the local Saints of Las Vegas band;
- More than $300,000 in prize money was doled out during the six days of play;
- Four individuals were inducted into the NDA Hall of Fame: Maggie Jones of Blackhawk Amusements, Sterling, IL; Stan Borup, High Country Promotions, Fort Collins, CO; Marcia Petersen, Vend Alaska, Anchorage, AK; and Shawn Smith, J & J Ventures, Evansville, IN;
- During its 2021 Annual Meeting, the membership elected four persons to serve three-year terms on its Board of Directors: Jim Piontek, Encompass Vending, Green Bay, WI;
Teresa Hammersmith, Ohio Vending, Elyria, OH; Tom Ceckitti, Shaffer Entertainment, Columbus, OH; and Kevin Gilmore, Dartz Alpha, Sycamore, IL;
- Also at the meeting, President Obrigewitsch acknowledged his predecessor, NDA Immediate Past President Pat Webb, for his leadership during the pandemic;
- In remarks at the tournament, Cami Christensen, president and general manager of Westgate, praised Team Dart for providing “a shot in the arm” to the hotel and its associates, and infusing much-needed confidence about the future for the hard-hit hospitality industry;
- And, when there is a five-way tie in the opening round of a five-team round robin—as was the case on the opening day of Team 501 play this year–you know it’s gonna be a unique, special edition. None of the veteran referees or Tournament Committee members recall seeing this happen during the 35-year history of Team Dart!
Throughout the June 10-16 tournament, the mood was upbeat and there was little evidence of the uncertainty and challenges everyone endured during the COVID crisis. Perhaps most impressive was the speed of the near-complete return to pre-pandemic tournament metrics, which bodes well for next year’s April 7-13, 2022 NDA Team Dart, which is less than 10 months hence!