COLUMBIA - Three men practiced minutes before the clock struck 9 a.m.
On the hour, Karl Remick, the assistant at the table, prepared the electronic dartboard for the first round of darts for the Missouri State Senior Games, held on Saturday at Hearnes Center.
Bill Cannon, a spunky 77-year-old from Ballwin, showed up a little after nine. He signed in and pulled up a chair to watch the three men play the first round. Cannon grabbed more green chairs from the pile by the wall as his buddies came to watch.
Remick let Cannon and two other men pick their “weapons” and have a practice round. After throwing three darts, Cannon decided it was time to start the game.
“I’ll go first, then. Age before beauty,” said Cannon.
His first round was decent, but his friend, Ed True, had a better one. In the eight rounds they played, True hit two bull’s-eyes, and it seemed as if he was going to win. Not feeling discouraged, Cannon congratulated his friend for the bull’s-eyes and joked about other events.
“I beat him at swimming all the time because he doesn’t swim,” said Cannon with a laugh.
On his very last throw, Cannon hit the triple 19, earning him the lead. He beat True 288 to 285. Cannon was dumbfounded when Remick told him the news.
“I’m not good, I’m just lucky,” said Cannon.
When his turn was over, Cannon sat down to watch the other contestants and joke with his friends.
Cannon has competed in the State Senior Games since 1988. He did not start playing darts until 2005.
“I’ve only been throwing darts 3 years but have placed every year,” said Cannon, “I just do this for the camaraderie of it all. It means more than the medal, though the medal feels good.”
He plays in other darts competitions and “medals every time.”
At 9:35 a.m., his friend reminded him it was almost time for the javelin competition. Cannon jumped to his feet and headed to his next event.