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Anne Kramer ISSUE 4 August.

The article contents and views are those of Anne Kramer and is unedited by NAPDA.

Where have the days gone?

The days where you could attend a tournament, win the singles event, and are given a huge trophy. Not to mention, I huge check (cheque) to go with it.
If you were a male, you could win the Men’s Singles event at a $10k tournament and get a fat $1,000.00 check along with that huge trophy. It was like that at tournaments all over the country and a pre-requisite that your open singles event paid first place at least 10% of your total tournament payout for the win. Back then; a player could make a living with these winnings.

Gone also are the days of playing on a stage where you had anywhere from 400/600 people cheering you on. To those that play and do not know the history of darts in America, here is a small history lesson for you regarding the North American Open first created by the Southern California Darts Association. One of NAPDA's top ranked players Stacy Bromberg holds the title title of most singles titles with 5 301 and 1 cricket, and is also the top titleholder for all events with 14 titles. The tournament began in 1970 at $2000, with 252 players in attendance, and 4 States and 1 Nation represented, and ended in 1999 at $45000, with 2020 players in attendance and 48 States and 14 Nations represented.
The $50,000 1988 event holds the record for the
most entries into the 301 Open Singles event at
707 entrants. In the 30 years of the event,
only 13 perfect 301 games were thrown.
Ray Fisher from Pennsylvania won the singles
title in 1972 using Widdy darts, and then in 1973
using brass darts. It was the premier event in
North America and could catapult a player from
being a relative unknown, into instant stardom.

A few of the NAODT winners were as follows: 
Ladies 301
Maureen Flowers 1977, '79, '81
Kathy   Maloney 1985, '86, '88, '93
Mandy Solomons 1989, '90, '92
Stacy Bromberg 1995, '96, '97, '98, '99
Men 301
Eric Bristow 1979, '83, '84, '86       
Steve Brown 1988, '89
John Kramer 1981, '99
Phil Taylor 1990, '91
and many more notable players.


In the earlier days, the winners of the singles events were given fully paid trips to the World Masters. In later days, they were extended invites to the World Masters. People were excited to go there and have the chance of playing some of the best players in the world. I was 16 when I went to my first NAODT in 1982. It was the most sensational event ever and everyone stayed to sit in the crowd and watch the staged finals on Sunday. The place was packed until it was all over.

Everyone wanted to see who the next champion would be. Some that were there were the ones you expected to see on that stage, and some were not. That was what made the event all the more fun. You never knew whom you were going to get drawn against.

Some of those same players that traveled that NAODT road to greatness could also be found this past weekend in Nashville, Tennessee for the Music City Classic. There are many things said about this tournament and everything was positive, which was why we made the choice to attend this year’s event. It was by far, the classiest tournament hall to ever been seen and it’s finals stage brought back fond memories to those past NAODT players, as it was equal to the big stage of darting history in the USA.

The coup de grace has to be the set-up of the tournament hall. It was obvious that a lot of thought and effort went into staging this event. Who would have thought that a simple thing like pipe and drape would lend such an atmosphere to an event? The entire hall looked classy. Subtle nuances like blocking off a walkway for the players on the board near the door and putting a table in a corner were not overlooked and made it very clear that someone took the time to think of all these details. When speaking to Chuck Pankow, he indicated that to him as a player, he attends different events, remembers what was good and what was bad, and takes this into consideration when preparing for the Classic.

And from a visiting player’s perspective, I can honestly tell you that while these things may seem so simple to most, it can mean the most to the players in attendance. And most especially to those players who have their matches called on the boards near the walkways or in the corners where there is generally people walking in your line of vision, or no table to put your stuff on. People remember these details from their experience and sometimes it can affect their overall impression of the event, whether they will recommend the event to their friends, or even whether they will choose to attend the following year.
The stage itself was in a class all by itself. Those who were fortunate enough to be able to play on the stage noted that it did not bounce, creak, or jiggle like stages often can do. The set-up was very sturdy. The backdrop was a very large version of a presentation board you would get for your kid’s school project. The production company that helped with many aspects of this event laminated all images onto the presentation board. Players were invited to play semi-final matches, as well as final matches, and the backdrop made a fantastic background for post-match photos.

Of course many thanks need to go to the crew for the weekend, Bob Clark, the co-director and the one in charge of the data entry, Richie King, the tournament central manager and the one in charge of the brackets, Kenny McEwen, who also worked with the brackets and did a fantastic job on the microphone all weekend calling matches, Jim Adams, also assisted with the brackets, Gerry Holt, for the T-shirt sales and bracket assistance, Ann Piarrot, Brittany VanderBerg, Tom Ross and Billee Adams for handling the sign ups, Rodman Rodman for all the graphic design, as well as Kerry Campbell and too many more to mention on the load in and load out crew.

In a conversation with Dave Holmes and Wayne Smith of NAPDA who were attending the event for the first time, we discussed my writing habits and it was mentioned that perhaps I should offer my opinion on certain things, so at this time, I will honor that request by stating that in my honest opinion, the Music City Classic should be considered a premier event to attend and everyone should put it on their calendar. In the chance that I would choose to invite a potential non dart related sponsor to view an event, I would most certainly choose this one, as I feel it showcases how we would like to world to perceive what we do every weekend. Will it ever grow to the size of the North American Open? Hard to say at this point, but I do know that they are very dedicated to putting forth a very professional event that could have the potential to achieve that same greatness from days gone by. And I know all of us that were there would like to thank Chuck and the crew for all that they did to give us such a great event.

Until next time!

Your can reach Anne at
Email: sleepykramer@yahoo.com
Website: Sleepy Kramer
Store: Sleepy Kramer Store


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