The Cleveland Darter Club (CDC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to "promoting the ancient and honorable sport of darts". Based in Cleveland, Ohio, the CDC was founded in 1969 and is a charter member of the American Darts Organization (ADO). The CDC was inducted into the National Darts Hall of Fame in 2009.
Below is a synopsis of the CDC's history as compiled and authored by CDC member Jeff Inman [1995-0050] and pivoted here by Eric Belloma [2006-1006]. Thanks to these efforts we all can appreciate a little history of our sport and the Cleveland Darter Club as a whole.
Table of Contents
In the Beginning...
Back To Top The CDC can trace its origins to December 28, 1969, when Tom Yurcich, who learned to shoot darts while in service during the Vietnam War, brought a dart board into his downtown Cleveland Park Building art studio and began playing games with fellow artist Steve Farkas. During this time, The Harbor Inn, a local establishment located on the west bank of The Flats, became a popular gathering place for local dart enthusiasts. Harbor Inn owner Wally Pisorn, an avid darter himself, was a big promoter of darts during the CDC's early years and remains so today.
The Dart Shop and Legal Establishment of the CDC
Back To Top In early 1971, the CDC established a dart store, The Cleveland Darter Shop ("The Dart Shop"), which began purchasing dart equipment and supplies from national suppliers and selling them to local darts players. The Dart Shop was originally located in the Park Building (and later relocated to the Harbor Inn). The establishment of the Dart Shop led to the need for the legal formation of The Cleveland Darter Club. The first officers were Steve Farkas (President), Ernie Peto (Vice President), Tom Yurcich (Secretary), and Jim Wolan (Treasurer).
The Early Tournaments
Back To Top The Club's first official dart tournament occurred on April 6-7, 1971 at The Dart Shop. It was a handicap bull's-eye tournament played on an "American style" paper conical dart board. (Official results are not available but legend has it that the local mailman won this first CDC dart tournament).
On June 25, 1971, the CDC hosted its first English Dart Tournament at The Harbor Inn. It was a Cricket tournament. Steve Farkas credits the subsequent article published in The Plain Dealer on August 4, 1971 as a major impetus for the subsequent rapid growth in popularity that darts experienced in Cleveland during this time.
The first doubles dart tournament in Cleveland was held on August 24, 1971, also at The Harbor Inn. It was promoted as a "Harbor Inn versus Philadelphia" tournament, but in reality only four Philadelphians showed up. According to Steve Farkas, "Charlie 'Junior' Young, Ed Yost, Clem Sadowski and either Danny Valletto or Joe Pacchanelli showed up. There was a prize of $250 and they walked away with $225, because the winners had to knock out the other Philly team in an earlier round. Clevelander Gary Farkas and, his cousin, John Wheeler, came in second…losing by one double out." Added Farkas: "We also had a bull's-eye board there for nine darts. And whoever had the most bull's-eyes after nine darts would take home a case of imported beer. After the third time that the Philadelphia guys hit 7, 8 or 9 bull's-eyes, no one else wanted to play. So we went to Wally (Pisorn) and he voluntarily decided to help us pay off the winners. Well, not voluntarily, I think we had to twist his arm. But he was open to the idea." The winner of the bull's-eye contest was Charlie Young, who, after receiving the case of beer, commented "We better get this out to the car, before they decide to take it back from us." Interestingly, the Philadelphia shooters weren't even English dart shooters. They shot American Darts on a board with the doubles and triples on the outer portion of the board, using wooden Darts (aka "Widdy Darts").
The First Cleveland Dart League
Back To Top The CDC established its first dart league in the Fall of 1971, consisting of 16 teams (two 8-team divisions). The bars that were involved were: The Parkway Lounge; McHugh's Tavern; Cosmos Lounge; Lion's Den; Carney's Place; Harbor Inn Cafe; and Bar 71. Charlie "Chief" Andracchio was named the Club's first League President.
The Cleveland Dart Extravaganza
Back To Top The Cleveland Darter Club plays host to the annual Cleveland Dart Extravaganza, an international darts tournament which began in 1972.
The first Cleveland Dart Extravaganza was held on February 26-27, 1972 at the Sheraton Hotel (now the Renaissance Hotel) in Downtown Cleveland. According to Farkas, "The first person we contacted at the hotel was Bob Feller (who worked in public relations with the hotel). He helped us with the arrangements. The winner of singles 301 was Robin Varian from New Canaan, Connecticut. Doubles was won by Dick Yost and Danny Valletto from Philadelphia. And the women's singles was won by Sandy Tinnerman from Washington, D.C. (She later moved to Dayton, Ohio.) Four-man was won by Joe Pacchanelli, Ray Fischer, Norm Finely, all from Philly, and Tom Fleetwood, Culver City, California. Fleetwood represented Unicorn Darts and the Southern California Darts Association."
Some other interesting facts from the First Extravaganza:
The Extravaganza was held annually through the year 2002, when Extravaganza 31 took place. At its peak, the Extravaganza paid out $50,000 and attracted some of the top players in the world. The Extravaganza was then suspended, due primarily to financial concerns. After a 6-year hiatus, the 32nd Extravaganza was held on May 1 - 3, 2009 with over $10,000 paid out in prize money. The Extravaganza continues to be played on an annual basis. The 38th Extravaganza was held on May 1-3, 2015 and had a payout of over $15,000.
The International Spider!
Back To Top In 1975, Tom Yurcich teamed up with Steve Farkas and others to establish the International Spider, the first nationally distributed darts publication in the United States. The International Spider was later sold to Jay Tomlinson, who founded Bull's-Eye News.
The International Spider was preceded by The Spider, a locally distributed CDC publication which was billed as "The Voice of The Cleveland Darter Club." Volume 1, Issue 1 of The Spider was published in April/May 1973.
Back To Top Today, the CDC remains actively involved with the promotion and management of dart leagues, tournaments and other darts-related activities. Currently the CDC has over 900 active members playing on 120+ teams at roughly 85 bar affiliates in and around the Greater Cleveland area.
Back To Top The CDC offers dart leagues on 3 different nights (Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays), and holds 3 sessions throughout the year (Fall, Winter and Summer). Each league consists of teams that are scheduled into separate divisions based on skill level then geographical proximity.
Teams are classified as Bronze, Silver or Gold, depending on the team’s skill level, with Gold being the highest skill level and Bronze being primarily for beginning level darters.
The Cleveland Darter Club’s leagues are money leagues, meaning each team is responsible for making upfront league fee payments (generally sponsored by the team’s bar, although not a requirement). At the conclusion of the session, each team is given a cash award based on their final divisional placement. For the Summer session, non-cash awards (e.g., jackets, polo shirts, or tee shirts) are awarded in lieu of cash.
Back To Top Tournament Trails, established by a group of CDC members back in 1979, is a program which allows its members the opportunity to participate in regularly scheduled tournaments at various locations throughout the week. Members compete not only for money but for “trails points” which can be redeemed at certain “cut-off dates” throughout the year for a trip to one of a number of national dart tournaments. Winners receive airfare, hotel accommodations, entry fees and expense money.
Currently, the CDC offers several weekly trails events at various locations through the Greater Cleveland area.
Back To Top The CDC All-Star Team competes annually at the Quad City Challenge on the Sunday following the Buckeye Open dart tournament (usually on the third weekend of November) in Columbus, Ohio. In addition to Cleveland, all-star teams from Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton compete in this event. The CDC All-Star Team has recorded the most first place finishes and going into the 2015 event, the CDC has won 17 of the last 25 Quad City Challenges.
The CDC All-Star Team is comprised of members who must qualify through a 2-Phase qualifying process. The top 28 men and 14 women make up the team.
The Cleveland Darter Hall of Fame
Back To Top The Cleveland Darter Hall of Fame was established on August 29, 2009 at The Harbor Inn as part of the Club’s 40th Anniversary celebration. To date, 31 individuals have been inducted into The Cleveland Darter Hall of Fame.
Organization and Management
Back To Top The management of The Cleveland Darter Club is a primary responsibility of its Board of Directors, who are elected by vote of the General Membership. The Board consists of nine Board members, including four officers: President, Vice President, Recording Secretary and Treasurer. The President is responsible for appointing, with Board approval, Committee Chairpersons to oversee the various committees, including the Trails Committee, the All-Star Committee, the Extravaganza Committee, and the Hall of Fame Committee, as well as the League Manager, ADO Representative, and Web Page Administrator.
All board members and committee chairpersons are volunteers, with the exception of the League Manager and Web Page Administrator who are engaged as independent contractors.