Ghost on the Coast dart competition offers good, cheap fun

spalisin@thesunnews.comOctober 29, 2010 

  • What | 13th annual "Ghost on the Coast" darts tournament

    When | Today-Sunday

    Where | Sea Mist Oceanfront Resort Conference Center, 1200 S. Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach

    How much | Free admission; contest entry fee $10 per person today, $20-$30 per person/team Saturday and Sunday, depending on event

    Info | 828-1171 or ghostonthecoast.com

  • Played with three darts, with soft or steel tips, on a board 18 inches in diameter, with 30 numbered pie-shape segments surrounding a bull's eye.

    Board hung flush to the wall, 5 feet, 8 inches from the floor to the center of the bull's-eye.

    Distance from front of the dartboard to the throwing line: 7 feet 9 1/4 inches.

    Game variations include Cricket, Baseball, Legs, Fifty-One by Fives, and Round the World

    Source: www.darting.com

  • 1976 | American Darts Association, based in Las Vegas, established with 7,500 members spanning 30 charter member clubs

    1979 | World Cup II in Las Vegas, first major international darts event outside Great Britain

    1983 | First Ladies' World Masters playoffs

    1988 | Challenge of Champions broadcast on ESPN

    1993 | United States the first country to host World Cup twice

    2000 | Stacy Bromberg the lone dart player named to Sports Illustrated's "Greatest Sports Figures of the Century" list for Nevada, and Singapore native Paul Lim named one of the top 50 athletes of the 20th century by Singapore Sports Commission

    Source: www.adodarts.com

Everything looks right on target for the 13th annual "Ghost on the Coast" dart tournament in Myrtle Beach.

The action at Sea Mist Oceanfront Resort Conference Center opens tonight and continues through Sunday.

Bud Grazioli of Myrtle Beach, director of the tournament with about 40 dartboards, remembered his father running a darts competition every Halloween in Surfside Beach. He said Ghost on the Coast found its annual place at the end of October because good deals on hotel rates prevail, usually with autumn warmth that families and golfers can enjoy.

"It clicked and it felt so natural that we stayed with it," Grazioli said.

"It's not too hot, not too cold. Where else can you go for $40 a night and have a good time? ... You can stay three or four nights and not break the bank."

Grazioli spoke about the casual, family friendly nature of the tournament and the sport itself. About 400 such "shooters" turn out for Ghost on the Coast in a smoke-free environment to throw steel-tip darts. The opening-night blind draw usually attracts close to 300 entries. Spectators are welcome.

"It's not just a bar game for young men," Grazioli said.

Although taverns provide the most common place of business for darts, the sport consumes professionals who practice for several hours a day and travel the country to compete, Grazioli said.

"They play in leagues," he said. "They go to tourneys every weekend."

Dressing up darts

Grazioli notes there are added amenities of the tournment here every Halloween weekend.

"We take it to the next level," he said, "because we have events and a costume contest."

Although not a dress-up faceoff in a traditional sense, during the Saturday night mixed triples, "If you're the last person still playing in costume, you get the prize," Grazioli said.

He thinks darts continue to make inroads in the U.S. even as its popularity remains constant around the world.

"You can't walk into a pub in England and not find at least one dartboard," Grazioli said.

Advances in electronics, like automatic scoring, also draw new players to darts.

"It simplifies the game more for beginners," Grazioli said.

However, anyone tossing darts at Ghost on the Coast keeps score by hand on paper sheets.

"It could scare people who are bad with math," Grazioli joked, promoting thebenefits of knowing how to tally scores manually, drawing a parallel to bowling.

Overall, he said this tournament draws crowds - locals and travelers - who find fun in a getaway from "the everyday trials of work and anything else."

Family affair

Patrick Ellis of Myrtle Beach said he has enjoyed throwing darts for a decade.

"My wife's involved; my kids are involved," said Ellis, who also takes trips to North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Virginia for tournaments.

Putting in about two hours daily in practice, Ellis said the competition, not the prize money, keeps him glued to this hobby.

"Darts is a very addictive game," he said. "You want to get better and better at it."

Ellis also pointed out the easy access darts gives people.

"You can have a one-stool bar and people will come," he said. "Not a lot of space or equipment is required."

No matter the income level, size or agility of a person, darts doesn't present limits on its patrons, Ellis said, citing its all-inclusive attribute.

"You don't have to be a super-athlete to do it," he said.

Contact STEVE PALISIN at 444-1764.

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