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SATURDAY, JANUARY 27, 2007
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Tammy Davis of Huntsville calculates her score on a throw in the women's singles 301 competition of the 18th annual Shoot for the Moon dart tournament at the Holiday Inn in Decatur on Friday night. The event concludes Sunday.
Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
Tammy Davis of Huntsville calculates her score on a throw in the women's singles 301 competition of the 18th annual Shoot for the Moon dart tournament at the Holiday Inn in Decatur on Friday night. The event concludes Sunday.

Dart throwers aiming for $15,000
18th annual event attracts top players

By Michael Wetzel
mwetzel@decaturdaily.com 340-2462

Last spring, Roger Carter said he didn't even notice the stare of the television cameras when he competed for a slice of $1 million.

Terry Stewart of Smyrna, Tenn., lines up his throw in the men's singles 301 competition Friday.
Daily photo by Gary Cosby Jr.
Terry Stewart of Smyrna, Tenn., lines up his throw in the men's singles 301 competition Friday.
Carter was featured as one of the top 16 American dart throwers against the top 16 international throwers at the 2006 World Series of Darts in Connecticut. ESPN's cameras and lights covered the action.

"I didn't last long, just one round," said Carter, who is town this weekend competing in the 18th annual Shoot for the Moon dart competition. "I wasn't nervous and actually loved the cameras being there."

Tournament organizers say Carter, the 1996 North American Champion and five-time U.S. team member, is one to the top throwers to beat at the three-day event at the Holiday Inn in Decatur. It has a total purse of $15,000.

Carter, 45, laughs at the notion that he has a bull's eye on his back.

"No, I'm not the favorite here. I don't look at it like that. Any of these guys here can win this thing. I just hope to cover my expenses and have a great time this weekend."

But Carter, ranked 19th in the nation, isn't taking the Decatur tournament lightly.

A resident of Auburn, he said he practices three to four hours daily and would be disappointed if he didn't' take some money home.

Carter, a 25-year tournament veteran, said he won nearly $20,000 in 15 events on the 2006 dart circuit.

Sponsored by Dart World, Carter added, "It's tough to make a living by throwing darts alone."

He said the top throwers in the world can earn about $60,000 annually on winnings.

He said he works part-time as a heavy equipment operator.

Another Auburn thrower says she came to win the women's title here.

"I had a couple top eight finishes here in 2006," said 36-year-old Vera Emons, the current Alabama women's singles and doubles cricket champion.

"But this is such a fun tournament here. You see so many of your friends from the Southeast and the organizers do a great
job putting on the event."

She said she practiced 30 minutes a day preparing for Decatur. "Win or lose, most of us are here to compete and have a good time," she said.

Tournament director Bobby Benefield said about 200 throwers from across the nation are in town competing.

He said Saturday afternoon's competition in the 501 division will likely feature some of the top competitors and should be exciting for spectators to watch.

"We've got some of the top 20 people in the nation here," Benefield said during Friday night's men's and women's singles 301 competition which featured 101 competitors.

Bob King of Nashville says he has been coming to the Shoot for the Moon tournament for the past six years in Decatur and says it is one of the best run events he attends. "There's always great competition here and it runs so smooth," said King, 43, who has been competing 13 years. He is a seven-time Tennessee champion.

Jesse Johnson, the president of the hosting Rocket City Dart Association, said about $6,000 of the tournament's proceeds will go to about a dozen North Alabama charities.

Admission is free to spectators. The last event begins 1 p.m. Sunday.

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