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Hi-Line Living: Havre dart league aims for a good time

 

April 4, 2014

Eric Seidle

Shamrock's team member Modesty Caven is photographed in midthrow during Wednesday night's league dart game.

The Havre Dart League has been shooting since September and will be pitted against each other soon in the citywide tournament at the end of April.

The league is made up of teams sponsored by local bars. The Oxford, Bullhook Bottoms, Shamrock's, The Tip-It and The Shanty all sponsor teams.

Every Wednesday and Thursday, teams play away games at each other's team bar.

Erin Bradshaw is a player for one of the Oxford teams that was going head to head with Bullhook Bottoms' team Wednesday night at Bullhook Bottoms.

Bradshaw said she was not the strongest dart player, but she enjoyed the game.

"It's mostly just something fun to do - get out of the house a little bit," Bradshaw said.

Ashley and Seth Pomeroy, who are on the same team as Bradshaw, said they have been playing for many years. Ashley Bradshaw said she started playing darts when she was 18 because her mother used to play.

Seth Bradshaw said they play different games on different nights: cricket and 501 on Wednesdays and just 501 on Thursdays.

Pomeroys' and Bradshaw's Oxford team had won 48 times and lost 72 as of the beginning of their games Wednesday night.

Jim DeVries is the dart coordinator for Baker's Amusement, a company that supplies bars in the Hi-Line with dart boards and pool tables.

DeVries said there are a couple of serious players, but most of the people playing are there just for fun.

"It's kind of just a fun night out thing," DeVries said. "You don't make any money in dart leagues, so if you're trying to seriously make some money, you're in the wrong place. Ninety-nine percent of the players are really just out for fun."

DeVries has been hosting the leagues for five years and has been shooting darts since he was 12-years-old in his father's bar.

Baker's Amusements supplies digital dart boards to many Hi-Line towns like Hingham, Rudyard, Chester and Big Sandy.

DeVries said the Hi-Line has always had their own dart league, but their old system of keeping scores and rankings was by hand. Now, the digital dart boards keep track of the scores, and the teams are entered into the computer directly on the board.

There are two leagues every year: one from September to December and another from January through April.

"(The leagues) used to be crazy," said Marcus Hansen, who plays for an Oxford team which was facing the Shamrock's team at the Oxford Wednesday night.

"It's fun," Breanna Johanneson, his teammate said. "It gets me out of the house."

At the end of the dart season, there is a City Dart Tournament where the teams face off for the final time. Anyone can sign up for the tournament, regardless of whether they have been playing during the season or not.

The tournament will be at the Eagles Club this year, April 25-27.

There will be two tournaments: one in which just the league teams play and another for which anyone can sign up a be picked for a team.

Seth Pomeroy said the teams have handicaps based on their records from league play.

"The end of the year tournament is open to anyone who wants to play," DeVries said. "You just walk in the bar and say you want to play."

Entry fee to the tournament is $5, and the cash prize for the top three winners depends on how many people pay the fee. DeVries reiterated that there is not a whole lot of money to be made at the tournament; it is mostly just for fun.

"If you're out to make money, you're crazy," DeVries said.

The winners used to get plaques for placing in the tournaments, but they switched to cash prizes because people surprisingly seemed to like the money better, DeVries said.

The four-person dart teams play once a week at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays. They face one opponent a week, but play 12 games in one night.

DeVries said the games last for varying amounts of time.

"It depends on how drunk they get," DeVries said jokingly. "But, generally they last for about two and a half hours."

"There are five teams on Thursday and nine on Wednesday," DeVries said.

DeVries also runs separate leagues in Chinook on Sundays.

To sign up for dart league in September, look for the flyers DeVries puts up at the bars a month or two before league starts.

 

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