Friday night I was having dinner with my loving and wonderful wife (yes I’m sucking up, I love you Wendy!!) and I said “hey I’m still thinking about trying to make it to the tourney tomorrow” With a disapproving but understanding look on her face she said you mean the one in California? I said yes, it looks like there might still be a chance I could make the early flight, rent a car and drive to the tournament. Although she may have wanted to say NO she knew this was important to me so I was left to decide my own fate. Of course I was going to try and make it happen. Fast forward to 4:30am Saturday morning I checked the flights and there were open seats so I decided to go for it and make the trek from Owatonna Minnesota to Rialto California.
My travel to the tournament could not have been any smoother. My journey started with a 70 mile drive to the MSP airport followed by a 4 hour flight to LAX and lastly a 70+ mile drive to the venue. I pulled into the American Legion Post 422 in Rialto Ca. just before 11am. Out front the first person I see is Mr. Scotty Burnett and I said hey I heard there was a tournament here. Kind of fitting that the first person I see at this L-style sponsored event was Scotty Burnett. You see Scotty is the main reason I’m an L-style sponsored player, thank Scotty for all that you’ve done for me! Once inside I was very focused and determined…to find an ICE cold beer! Right away I could see I wasn’t the only one who decided to make the long trek to the tournament. This was going to be one tough tournament with players like Scotty Burnett, David Fatum, Eddie Lawrence, Chris Lim, Stacy Bromberg, Carlos Calderon and so many more including some great local players that I would later meet. Oh and did I mention that the one and only Mr. Paul Lim was there. This was sure to be a great tournament.
OK a little about the tournament. L-style holding true to their word about giving back to the dart players was the primary sponsor and was adding well over $1500 to the tournament along with additional money from RedEye Rhino and the bar. The tournament was split up into two groups. Medalist ranking 4 and under formed the low bracket and 5+ was in the high bracket. Champion Darts brought in extra boards (I think 18 boards total) to make sure everything ran quickly. Paul, Janet and Chris from Champion Darts also ran the brackets and they did a super job of keeping things going. RedEye Rhino kicked off the tournament by having some fun challenges matches to get everyone in the mood. This was the first event that I had a chance to see and meet the folks from RedEye Rhino and I must say I really like what they are doing to help the dart community. There was also a very large selection of L-style products available and Tsuyoshi and Mariko stayed until the very end to make sure everyone had a chance to stock up on what they needed.
Once the draw was done I found out that my partner was Melvin Mofsie but not knowing who he was I waited until our board was drawn and then I introduced myself. After seeing Melvin throw a few darts I knew I had a very solid partner and I felt like we would do just fine in the tournament. Melvin and I played well together and after winning quite a few matches we found ourselves in the final 4 of the winner’s side. Our next match was against David “The Scorpion” Fatum and Rey Novicio. After a couple close games we were headed into the tie-breaker game of cricket. In all fairness we were getting beat pretty bad by some great darts and we found ourselves down a few numbers and behind on points. With some luck and some sharpshooting on the bulls we were able to pullout a very close win. I walked away knowing we were lucky to have won that game but hey we never gave up. Our next match was against Paul Lim and Tony Bardales for the hill and although we gave them a good run they were just too good for us. A short time later it was David and Rey again and in another close match we were victorious and heading back to challenge Paul and Tony again. As I’m writing about beating David and Rey a second time I can’t help but think that Paul and Tony could be writing the same thing about Melvin and I. So although we gave them a very good run and took the match to the 5th game tie-breaker Paul and Tony indeed beat us a second time to capture the the first place prize of $1100.
OK I really had not intended to babble on this long. I just want to say a huge thank you to Chris Lim and Champion Darts for running such a great tournament as well as RedEye Rhino and the bar for hosting the tournament. Lastly thank you to L-style for giving back to the players and adding over $1500 to make for not only a great event but a very nice payout for all the winners. I hope there are many more events like this in the future.