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Local quartet wins state titles in Minnesota

The four members of Mike's Bay Town Bar and Grill's dart team are (From left) Pete Peterson, Brad Westberg, Linn Riester and Chuck Karlstad. Photo by Sean Scallon1 / 2
Chuck Karlstad takes aim at electronic dartboard inside the T-Bar in Ellsworth, shoorting for Mike's Bay Town Bar and Grill of Bay City during league play. The Bay Town foursome has won numerous state tournament titles in Minnesota. Photo by Sean Scallon2 / 2

One hopes the state of Minnesota doesn't mind that a group of Wisconsinites wins titles at their own state dart tournament.

If they don't, then Linn Riester of Hager City, Chuck Karlstad of Ellsworth and Pete Peterson and Brad Westberg of Pepin can continue to win such awards at future Gopher State dart meets.

This local quartet shoots for Mike's Bay Town Bar and Grill in Bay City and has competed and won various titles at the Minnesota state tournament or MOMA, over the past decade. They competed in this year's tournament which was in January at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Minneapolis.

It may seem strange that this Wisconsin team can simply cross the river and win titles in singles, doubles and team play in both cricket and 01 dart games since 2003. But as Karlstad said, it's a matter of paying association fees.

"You have to shoot for a league, as we do around here," Karlstad said. "If that league is sanctioned in Minnesota and Wisconsin, as we are, then we can go and shoot in their tournament. That's different from say, Iowa, where you have to shoot within the state to participate in their state meet. I know guys down in the La Crosse area who do that because they live close by."

Winners of state competitions can shoot in the national tournament in Las Vegas every year which Peterson, Westberg, Riester and Karlstad have done. In the same way, this national meet also includes teams from all over the world such as Japan, Germany, Sweeden, Spain and Canada.

Riester said that the Wisconsin state tournament is one of the toughest in the country. They considered finishing second there, as they did in 2003, a big accomplishment.

"Wisconsin's tournament is very tough," Riester said. "There's nearly 1,000 teams there and Wisconsin dart throwers dominate in national competition."

The 01 game is simpler than cricket. In 01, most throwers aim right for the dead center ring, going for the 50-point bulls-eye. The cricket game involves shooting for numbers 20 down through 15 on the outer rings and trying to throw three darts in those areas.

"It's much more complex and involves more strategy than 01," Karlstad said.

Both Riester and Karlstad have been throwing darts for over 20 years. Riester said he enjoys the competition.

"I love competing, win or lose," Riester said. "I just love to compete whether during a league competition, a Saturday tournament or big event like state or nationals."

Karlstad says that a good amount of practice keeps his skills and that of teammates sharp.

"It's not as easy as it looks," Karlstad said. "I like to practice two to three times a week. There are guys who are pros, sponsored by bar or company, that practice almost every day and make a living at it. It's game people have to have a knack for and love to do."