COLUMBIA — Not as many darts were thrown Saturday morning in the Missouri State Senior Games.
“We used to have around 50 participants here,” said Karl Remick, darts commissioner and vice president of the American Darters Association. “We would have a line and two boards going. People would clap and cheer, it was really fun.”
But this year, only 12 people participated in the dart competition. Competitors had eight rounds, 24 darts total, to score as high as they could, Remick said to each competitor at various times throughout the morning.
Remick has been assisting at the games since 2000 and attends four senior games a year. He sarcastically blames the lack of dart participants on the economy.
“I blame everything on the economy,” Remick said with a laugh.
Participant John Ankeney, 53, began playing darts when he was 19 years old because his brother played.
“Back then I was too young to even get into bars, and these leagues are all in bars, so I had to ask permission to even play,” he said.
He has played on and off for 30 years, taking time off when his children were young. Ankeney currently plays in two steel-tip dart leagues, the Central Missouri Dart Association and the Columbia Dart Association.
He usually doesn’t play soft-tip darts, the type played at the Senior Games, which uses a plastic tip instead of a steel tip. The main differences between the two are type of equipment (boards and darts) and the type of games that are played.
“They’re more creative in soft tip,” Ankeney said. “They have more games.”
He usually plays in five events per tournament. He estimates that he's played in 45 events this year.
“It’s a simple game for simple people,” he said, joking.
Ankeney placed first in his age division (50-54) at the games. He was the only one in his age division, but his score of 560 was the highest of the day.
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