This year’s annual Blueberry Hill Open Dart Tournament will be the 50th consecutive year for the competition — and it will begin one day after the bar’s 50th anniversary.
Mark your calendar for the first tourney toss at 7 p.m. Sept. 9. The competition runs through Sept. 11 at the pub, 6305 Delmar Avenue.
The competition, billed as the “oldest continuous dart tourney in North America,” features seven events each in both the men’s and women’s divisions. Players will vie for $10,000 in total prize money.
On the eve of the competition, Sept. 8, there will be a 50th birthday party for the bar, which opened on that date in 1972. (The first dart tourney was in 1973.)
Part of the lore of the lounge is how darts got its start there, a tale that chief barkeep and bottle-washer Joe Edwards describes as “how I got conned into having darts at Blueberry Hill.”
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Edwards said that a few days after opening the joint, Ed Schafer, an Associated Press reporter who lived in the neighborhood, came in and bought a beer.
“He asked if we had a dart board. When I said I didn’t, he asked if I wanted to borrow one of his. I said ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’” Edwards said.
“The next day another guy comes in and orders a beer and asks where the dart board is. I told him we didn’t have one, so he downed his beer and left,” Edwards said.
“Then the next day, still a different guy comes in and asks if we have a dart board. When I told him we didn’t, he just left — without even spending the 35 cents we were charging then for beer,” he said.
“So when Ed came back in a few days later, I quickly told him I’d borrow his dart board and see how it goes,” said Edwards, whose bar quickly became a dart mecca.
“It was only later that Ed told me those guys were friends of his and he put them up to it,” Edwards said.
Another feature of this year’s tourney will be the presence of the “World’s Largest Dart,” which will be installed in the saloon’s front window in time for the birthday party.
“We haven’t displayed it in quite a while, but we’re bringing it back for the 50th anniversary,” he said.