Dart throwers from across Canada were at the Saskatoon Inn on Saturday, taking part in the 2019 Youth National Darts Championship.
The three-day event, which runs from May 16 to 19, featured roughly 100 players from provinces excluding P.E.I. and the territories.
Players were put into two separate divisions.
“Age ranges from 18 years old down to about 13 years old,” said Saskatchewan Darts president Elaine Walker.
“We have two divisions: we have a junior division and a senior division.”
The fourth such tournament in the province has a lot on the line for participants each day, and not just in terms of bragging rights or the promise of moving on to the worlds later this year.
“There is a bursary shot,” explained national hosting committee co-chair Laurie Kitzul. “So they actually win cash that can go towards their education.”
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For the 2019 provincial champion, Rianna December, the event is a way to sharpen skills for tougher competition.
The 17-year-old, one of the top-ranked players in the Americas — including Canada, the U.S.A. and the Caribbean in the under-18 female category — credits her father for getting here started in the sport six years ago.
“He brought me one night to play and I enjoyed it and kept playing,” December said.
Walker adds it’s not uncommon for youth players to continue playing darts as an adult at higher levels of the sport.
“We have a lot of younger players that move up in the adult league and make the team playing nationals for the adults,” Walker explained.
And with the influx of players coming and going, more players can always join at very little cost.
“It’s a really inexpensive sport to play and we sort of try to push that. You can spend $25 on a set of darts and $50 on a dartboard and you can set it up anywhere,” Kitzul stated.
The event concludes on Sunday with the World Masters Qualifiers.