It is that time of year where we are all looking out the window and waiting patiently for spring to make its appearance so we can enjoy some sunshine and warmer weather. March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb, but so far, as I sit here watching the snowflakes fall, it is still roaring pretty well in these parts. I am hoping that this is the last of the roaring lion we hear for the rest of the month. I am ready for the sun and I don’t know about you, but I sure am tired of being cold.
March also brings us thoughts of splashing waves, fighter jets screaming by in the morning, the quiet time spent watching cargo laden barges slowly creep forward across the horizon as you sit on your beachfront balcony, and hopefully some epic sunshine as everyone makes the trek to the beach for the Virginia Beach Dart Classic and their signature Pro Cricket Singles Event. The VBDC is in its 32nd year and it was featured in my book as one of the longest running tournaments in the USA. The Tidewater Area Darting Association is the host for the VBDC and the tournament staff is truly dedicated and always does a great job running the events all weekend. TADA was founded in 1973 and became an original member of the American Darts Organization (ADO) when it was chartered in 1976. The Wyndham Oceanfront has played host to this event for more years than even I can remember and the staff there are always awesome to the darters every year.
The first year of the VBDC was 1982 and your singles winners were Rick Ney for the Men’s Cricket Singles, Richard Long for the Men’s 501 singles, and Nancy Lilly for the Ladies 501 Singles. Unfortunately, back then, there wasn’t a Ladies Cricket Singles event. However, it was added into the line-up in 1986 and the first Ladies Cricket Singles Champion was Kathy Karpowich.
In 2000, a Men’s Pro Singles 301 event was added and the first winner for that event was Canada’s own multiple time World Champion, John Part. A Ladies Pro Singles 301 event was not added to the line-up of events until 2004 and the first winner was former New Yorker and now Arizonian, Tina DiGregorio. In 2012, the Men’s Pro Singles event was changed to the Pro-Cricket Singles event and the very first champion of that event was everyone’s old time favorite, and now retired Canadian player, Bob Sinnaeve. From 2000-2012, the only player to repeat as a champion of the men’s 301 event was former Ohioan and now Missourian, Brad Wethington. From 2004, the ladies 301 event saw multiple repeat champions with Stacy Bromberg winning 3 titles, and Cali West and Marilyn Popp both winning the title 2 times. The Ladies Pro Cricket Singles was introduced in 2013, and the very first champion of the event is Paula Murphy. But not only that, Paula has gone on to win every title since then and is the only champion of the Ladies Pro Cricket Singles event!
Take a bow, Paula Murphy! That is an amazing accomplishment!
The weekend starts off early with the Pro Cricket Singles qualifier events on Thursday, which are set to run every two hours, starting at 2pm for the men and 2:30pm for the ladies. The top 8 players from each of the men’s qualifiers and the top 4 from each of the ladies’ qualifiers will be seeded into the main event on Friday. The men will join a field of 32 previously seeded players and the ladies will join a field of 16 previously seeded players. It only costs $50 for the men per qualifier and $40 per qualifier for the ladies. However, if you choose to pay in advance to play all the qualifiers, it is $100 for all 4 for the men and $80 for all 4 for the ladies.
Paula Murphy leads the list as the #1 seed for the ladies and Larry Butler is the #1 seed for the men. The full list of seeds for the men and ladies are at the end of the blog. The men have a chance to win the top prize of $2500 and the ladies will be playing for a top prize of $1000. Can Tom Curtin and Paula Murphy repeat from last year? Or will we see new champions crowned?
Bright and early Saturday morning starts what has become one of the premier youth events in the USA. Many dedicated folks lend their support to the youth players and host a couple of different events for the kids to compete at, all located in separate rooms away from the adults. There is also a WDF Youth event. If you have kids that love to play darts, this is a must attend event for your kids. I wrote a blog about this event years ago and it has grown quite a bit since. And you are at the beach. What better fun for the kids than to be able to run around in the sand when the darts are done.
The 501 singles events are BDO sanctioned, which means the winner in each will receive an invite to compete in the World Masters in England later this year. Out of the 215 men and 77 women that signed up for the 501 singles events last year, Lisa Ayers and Joseph Huffman took home the titles and will no doubt be there to defend those titles. Who is going to prevail and take home the titles this year?
To add even more excitement to the event, I bet you didn’t know that 9 dart games are not just something that the players across the pond can throw. They can be thrown here on North American soil too! Canada’s own, Shawn Brenneman threw one in the 501 singles event and went on to finish in 2nd place to Joe Huffman.
So now that you have seen how much fun that can be had at the Virginia Beach Dart Classic tournament and the Pro Cricket Singles events, what is keeping you from attending? The VBDC is one of the biggest tournaments in the country and the place to be in March. You too can hop on the plane or hop in the car and get yourself to the beach! Hope to see you all there!
Men’s Seeding: Ladies Seeding: