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Chattanooga Choo Choo Classic Darts Tournament
March 25, 1999

 By Michael Gilbert

Although I am not a tournament player, I have been to a few tournaments in the Southeast. The one thing that most of them had in common was they were played in small, usual smoky, always very crowed rooms. Having said that, I would like to tell you about the Chattanooga Choo Choo Classic Darts Tournament.

In previous years, the Choo Choo Classic has been held in way too crowded rooms also, but not this year. The room to which I refer measured 240'x110'. There were a total of 48 boards set up and there was room for at least 20 more. There were two hot tubs set up and working. A four sided bar. Dart repairs, food and video games. Still, there was room for even more things.

The move to this larger facility was done partly due to the crowding problem but also that we were becoming tired of more and more conditions set by our previous room provider (who shall remain nameless, no need to burn bridges). As Vice-President of the Greater Chattanooga Darting Association (GCDA), I have first hand knowledge of the pains involved with setting up a tournament, procuring a building, contacting venders and sponsors.

As I write this article, I am still suffering from fatigue from working too many hours and getting way too little sleep. Even then, I still feel as if this event was a huge success!

Because we had so much room, it allowed us to do something we had only dreamed of doing in previous events. We had displayed a beautiful Harley-Davidson and sold pictures through a digital camera hooked up to a printer with an assortment of Hooters Girls sitting on the bike. We had a section with video games for the youths. We had a separate area for throwing finals with plenty of room for spectators. And with 60' ceilings, cigarette smoke was not a factor.

All proceeds from this dart tournament will go to the area 4 Special Olympics. Last year we raised $10,000, $8,000 of which came directly from last year's tournament, $2,000 was donated by the GCDA. We hope to beat that figure this year, but as of the date of this article, all the moneys have yet to be counted and paid.

I would like to Thank all the people who helped with this dart event and there were a lot! First is Annette Palmer, Tournament Director. When it comes to begging for donations, I know no one better than Annette. Then there is all the Hooters girls. Not only did they have some very impressive figures, the figures they raised were equally impressive, they rose at least $3,000 over the weekend by selling raffle tickets alone. Most of the GCDA council member spent all weekend making the tournament work and there were many other volunteers, too numerous to name here. Of course, I must thank all the area business who donated prizes and food. We even gave away a foosball table!

The 1998 Choo Choo Classic was a success in my opinion. I had the honor of doing the announcing for all the events and got a lot of feed back about what everyone thought. Many told me that they really appreciated the extra space the large room afforded them. Some said that the different ways we set up entertainment were the best thing, like the charity Blackjack, or the Craps table. My personal favorite was the Hooters Girl's who were constantly floating around the room raising money for charity, who raised well over $3,000 for Area 4 Special Olympics.

Tournament Results