The Indiana Jones Of Darts & The Curse Of The Limestone Cowboy

Discussion in 'General Dart Talk' started by Thorn2020, Jun 30, 2020 at 6:00 PM.

  1. Thorn2020

    Thorn2020 New Member

    Dear Everyone,

    Hello! By pure chance, I peaked in today and read about the impending end of the SEWA-dartplayer website. As a former frequent poster turned ghost, I’m happy to get one more chance to contribute some content…as a new member, because I couldn’t access my old account, lol, and had to sign up again.

    First, can I just say, Facebook is evil—I turned it off years ago and recommend you do the same…but, I do hope that this post makes its way through all the social networks to help find someone who might keep this website alive—as we all know, SEWA is filled with interesting and entertaining information about the game we love. Second, thank you to site creator Erik—a name I remember every time I’m on 209, hoping to leave 32. Third, thank you to all the mods, admins, and members, for your combined contributions and efforts, not only in SEWA, but in spreading the sport around the world. I could mention many of you by name, but you know who you are—you became my friends, online and off—and empowered me and my efforts to travel and share the love of darts around the world.

    Thank You.

    I believe SEWA did a lot for real people, including me, and deserves a proper sendoff. For me, that means writing one more Thorn Report, as a testament to the knowledge, experiences and connections it has given to us all. I hope it does not disappear.

    And, I hope this story finds its way to Bob. Feel free to copy and paste your hearts out, and spread the love of the game.

    THE INDIANA JONES OF DARTS and THE CURSE OF THE LIMESTONE COWBOY

    I fell in love with darts in Spring 2005, in a dive bar called Slabtown under the Fremont Bridge. I was a school teacher with a long commute, so I’d often stop midway home for a stress relieving beverage, preferably with a Blazer game on the big screen. But, I couldn’t take my eyes off the darts being thrown nearby.

    I’d borrow one of the bar sets—red, blue or yellow—those plastic shaft/flight combos that looked like they were from the 1970’s, with half inch brass barrels, light as hell, maybe five grams. Yellow was my favorite, because one “flight” had a cigarette burn, and I thought it was fun to beat people with the undisputed crappiest set. And I beat people a lot. Soon, the dart league guys started to say, “Hey man, you should join.”

    And, I did—with my own darts, a $40 set from SoftTipper I still use today—naming our first team the Portland Thorns (long before our women’s soccer team). We won the PortlandAreaDartsAssociation’s B Division championship, undefeated, in Fall 2005. I was hooked.

    Besides league, I began attending weekly and holiday shoots, winning my share of both as a single or partner. I even won the blind draw at the 2006 Oregon Open, mostly thanks to an outstanding out-of-town partner, but I helped, taking home a whopping $150 each! By now I knew strategy, most outs, and was posting reports and pics in the PADA website. I even created my own monthly shoots at Slabtown.

    Eager for more information, I heard about SEWA, joined as myself, Adam Smith, posting questions and experiences. Throughout 2006, I became more and more known as a good new local player and more and more active on SEWA.

    Two other things happened in 2006. Midsummer, I decided to move to South America for a year, and six months later I would leave for Uruguay. And between, in the autumn, Bob “The Limestone Cowboy” Anderson, former world champion of darts, would visit Portland for an exhibition. Oddly, I knew very little about the bigger dart world then—I might have heard of Bristow or Taylor, but little else. I knew nothing of Bob, and having to pay $20 to play someone?! I had no interest, and no idea what an opportunity I was ignorantly going to miss. While the exhibition began at the A&L pub, I was probably at Slabtown, throwing darts with my buddies, watching the Blazers. Then, I got a text.

    ChristinaO—a top local lady player, PADA board member, and active SEWAnaut—was inviting me last minute to come to the exhibition, fee waived. I’m only realizing today, she probably paid for me. She had watched my rise, seen my enthusiasm in the local dart scene and now online, and she knew what I didn’t yet appreciate—having Bob “The Limestone Cowboy” Anderson in Oregon is a big freaking deal. So, nothing to lose, I sprayed across the Fremont Bridge on a rainy cold typical Rip City night, parked outside the A&L, and entered. I found a packed dart hall, the crowd silently circled around two players—one I knew, and one I didn’t: Bob. The only sounds were the thump of each dart, and the scores being called by CraigB, another SEWA extraordinaire. Erik was there, and probably others I knew from the forum, but everyone was busy watching Bob beat player after player. Attendees got three games of 301 for their money, and two dozen regional players had already lost 0-3. Bob hadn’t lost a leg all night. They were almost done, and down to the last match, when I walked in. Out of the dark ChristinaO popped up, grabbed my arm, tiptoed into my ear and whispered, “This is the last player. You’re next.” I was the new last match.

    I don’t recall nerves—a benefit of being clueless about Bob. Maybe it was the Pabst. I also don’t recall the first two legs, other than losing. But I do recall the third, a bit. Bob was vanquishing me again, a handful of darts from sweeping the field with my defeat.

    It might have been luck, because I don’t remember setting up the out—I probably just hit a desperately needed triple on third dart. Then again, maybe I did set it up, like I was smart or something. Regardless, Bob “respected” me by pounding a ton or ton40, something big, to leave himself 24. One simple double twelve away from victory.

    So, there I am. Last leg of the night. Playing a world champion. It’s my turn, and I’m on an out. A big, difficult, rare, high out I had never hit before. The 161. I needed to take out 161 to beat a world champion.

    This is where my memory gets clearer, and I’ll tell you why. More than anything, I remember the expressions on the faces I glimpsed in the next moments. And the looks on those faces, including Bob’s, wasn’t just surprise—it was shock. Because, what I did next deserves many adjectives—fearless, idiotic, crazy, cocky, illogical, disrespectful, impressive, silly, unthinkable, overconfident, rookie mistake.

    I went for the triple 17. Now, all good players know that this route is possible, but far less probable than starting triple 20. When it landed, the air moved from the stifled gasps of the crowd. Even the motionless caller, CraigB, had his mouth half open. I even nano-glanced Bob, his eyebrow tilted slightly, his eye twinkled at my daring. Without reaction, I reset in rhythm and threw.

    When I hit the triple 20, everything I felt before happened again, but double: the gasps and jaw dropping, the jolt of energy, and Bob’s expression had gone from world champion to one every dart player knows, from newbies to pros—that look when you have to hope your opponent misses. I felt my first nerve, but reset and threw in rhythm.

    What happened next doesn’t matter. I missed and lost. The crowd let out a huge sigh of excitement, a mix of disappointment and thrill and hope for an underdog. Bob began thanking and shaking hands, starting with mine, and I can still see his smile and hidden relief as we shook, probably still a bit stunned by my shot selection and near perfection. With a sincere pat on my shoulder, he turned to shake hands with others. For those who care, my double bull game-winning world champion-beating shot was a little high and right, catching the skinniest part of the 4. Bob took his 24out in a dart or two.

    Despite my loss, I cherish this darts memory—just one of many experiences I can partially attribute to SEWA.

    But if you think this story is over, think again. In fact, this story won’t end until today, fifteen years later...
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020 at 8:35 AM
    VanO and Erik like this.
  2. Thorn2020

    Thorn2020 New Member

    After my match with Bob, I continued to grow as a local league player and promoter. But, by the start of 2007, I would be in Uruguay, South America—a country, nay, a continent that has almost no darts of any kind. My addiction was strong, so I imported a board, taught others to play, and continued to post in SEWA. As I traveled to new countries, I would always look for any sign of darts—an Irish bar in Cusco, a toy board in a Buenos Aires market, a pub with a paper wound board on the shore of Lake Titicaca—the slightest sign of darts would earn a new post. Finding darts became my McGuffin—the object that drives the plot—and I began writing about travel and darts. I began to feel like the Indiana Jones Of Darts.

    My SEWA name needed pizzaz, and I adopted “Thorn” as an online persona, to represent my home, the City of Roses. My connections on SEWA continued to expand, I did a series of “interviews” with players around the world, befriended many top players and pros, and started my own blog within SEWA called the Thorn Report.

    When I returned stateside in 2008, I rejoined league play in Portland, promoting darts locally and online, but I also kept traveling the world, always keeping a side eye for the darts. Eventually I would write for a regional soft-steel tip magazine called TheMedallion, then I became a regular columnist for BullsEyeNews magazine, and finally was hired as a writer for InsideDarts, a new UK magazine, alongside the likes of Russ "The Voice" Bray and Colin "Jaws" Lloyd, but unfortunately it failed. In 2010, I was asked to join the team at DartsAroundTheWorld, a new and exciting darts podcast website that enjoyed huge popularity, eventually creating DartBook, a social network for darters...until Facebook sued. (Did I mention Facebook sucks?) I even attended two BDO-WDF World Cup Of Darts in 2011 and 2013, in Ireland and Newfoundland, where I was treated like an honorary member of Team USA and Team Canada. In addition to meeting teams around the world, I’ve met many world champions since Bob Anderson—Scott Waites, Stephen Bunting, Glenn Durrant, Tony O’Shea, Deta Hedman, Fallon Sherrock, Paul Lim, and many more. I “let” John Lowe beat me twice at 701—pffft, two ton eighties, so what John! And, the Golden Girl herself--ten time world champ Trina Gulliver MBE--had lunch with me instead of the Queen of England in Windsor Castle, and that’s no joke.

    Sadly, since the early 2010's, a long bout with dartitis began to take the fun out of league. The DartsAroundTheWorld website closed shop, SEWA was slowing and stupid Facebook was growing. Plus, I managed to find my dream house, on a picturesque river in Oregon, and I never wanted to leave, being perfectly happy to just practice at home, trying to shake the yips. Disgusted by Facebook, I signed out for good, and my passion for online promotion waned as my digital connections withered and I slowly disappeared from the darts-travel writing world. But, my passion for the game has never changed. Nor has my compulsion to promote the sport.

    Of course, after throwing millions of darts since 2005, I’ve hit every high out there is, not only the logical way, but the illogical ways too—except for one. The 161out starting with T17.

    For fifteen years, in any game without money or pride on the line, when I have 161 left, I start triple 17. And, after fifteen years, two weeks ago, I finally did it in a practice game, all alone in my dart room overlooking the river. Bam! I knew I could do it! And, as soon as I hit it, finally completing a story that began a decade and half ago, a story that spans 50 countries on 5 continents, a story that encompasses everything I've done since my first days on SEWA, I felt like signing in and telling the story.

    So I am. For SEWA, for the love of darts, and finally breaking the Curse of the Limestone Cowboy.

    Over and double out.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2020 at 8:39 AM
    VanO and Erik like this.
  3. Erik

    Erik Site Owner Staff Member Site Admin Site Moderator

    Bravo! Excellent! Love it!

    Thanks for sharing Thorn (and I can join the new signin with the old one easily enough if you wish?).

    As for Bob, he was my catalyst back in 1993 or 4 (I can't even remember now) when I played him in an exhibition. Still have the board we played on which he signed and gave to me because I beat him on it :D and he signed it again in 06 when I repeated the win in Kennewick :D That was a great adventure and those who missed out really missed out! Bob is as much a professional comedian as he is a dart player and only those who spend time with him at an exhibition understand that.
     
  4. Thorn2020

    Thorn2020 New Member

    Yes, the few moments I met Bob, I could tell too, he is a special person with an amazing life and wife. Hopefully, someone shares the story to his facebook or twitter or email...

    I'm curious about all the SEWA old-timers here too, and hope they chime in if they can. It's strange the little things that will spark another SEWA-related memory.

    Fyi, for the curious, more SEWArriors are out there: Charis, is runs most of my DATW articles at GlobalDarts along with content by Dartoid, Steve Brown, and SleepyKramer. Many of my darts-travel videos are visible at my youtube channel, as well as my darts-parody songs Knuck You and Bumped Up Fists. And, I can be found or contacted via LinkedIn.

    Erik, join away. Great to hear from you. For SEWA...
     
  5. VanO

    VanO Moderator Site Moderator

    Thanks for sharing! Great stories and great life in darts!
     

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