CLARKSBURG -- Cooperstown, N.Y. Canton, Ohio. Toronto, Ontario. Clarksburg, W.Va.?
Yes, Clarksburg is now the official and permanent home of the National Darts Hall of Fame. The next step, said Hall of Fame President Jim Poliquin, is to find a building and set up shop.
"The first 10 years, it was kind of a dream. After that, we had enough people (inducted) that it went from a dream to being a goal," Poliquin said.
But why West Virginia? And even more, why Clarksburg?
"Essentially, because there are no pro sports in West Virginia," Poliquin said. "The city was also very receptive and helpful. They wanted this as much as we did. I've never seen such an open door policy in any city that has dart tournaments as here."
Poliquin said former national champion Jerry Umberger, who was in town for last summer's Hall of Fame Tournament, was especially impressed with how city officials have embraced the Hall of Fame concept. Umberger literally stopped his car in the middle of Main Street when he saw the banner welcoming all the darters, Poliquin said. Umberger said he had never seen anything like that before, he said.
This summer will be the second consecutive year the Hall of Fame Tournament, as well as the West Virginia State Championships, will be held in Clarksburg. The tourneys are slated for the weekend of July 20-22 at the old Movie Cafe in downtown.
Being named as the official home of the Hall of Fame and the tournament is a great coup for North Central West Virginia, said Jim Wall, president of the West Virginia Dart Association.
None of this would have been possible without the participation of the local dart group as well as downtown business owner Claudene Cross, said Keith Mascia, president of Clarksburg Area Darts.
"The local group was very instrumental in this," Mascia said. "Claudene put together a package and brought it to Jim (Poliquin) and all of the Clarksburg darters had a big involvement."
Staff writer James Fisher can be reached at 626-1446 or by e-mail at email@example.com.