Recreation Sports Wisconsin

DARTBALLS OF FIRE: C.F. to Host State Dartball Tournament

for the first time, Chippewa Falls will be host to the Wisconsin 9-Man Dartball Tournament

McKenna Scherer |

BATTER UP. Roughly 1,000 participants are anticipated to flood into Chippewa Falls for the 84th Wisconsin State 9-Man Dartball Tournament. (Submitted image)
BATTER UP. Roughly 1,000 participants are anticipated to flood into Chippewa Falls for the 84th Wisconsin State 9-Man Dartball Tournament. (Submitted image)

If you’ve stepped foot into just about any bar, you’ve likely seen folks with a drink in one hand and a dart in the other, hobbling on one leg as they chuck toward the dart machine. Dartball is not that. Dartball is like the big brother of the casual tavern pastime, a longstanding and competitive traditional game that combines two sports: darts and baseball. Chippewa Falls will host the 84th Wisconsin State 9-Man Dartball Tournament, slated for April 6-7.

The Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds will welcome about 100 men’s teams and 16 women’s teams from throughout the state, with more than 1,000 participating players. It will mark the first time Chippewa Falls has hosted the tourney – though it isn’t the first time it’s been in the wider Chippewa Valley.

“Many participants today have learned the game from their elders who taught them the skills and techniques to improve their batting averages,” Tournament Director Travis Logslett said in a recent media release. “With the Chippewa Valley hosting this prestigious tournament once every eight years, the community eagerly awaits the influx of players and spectators, ready to embrace this unique sporting spectacle.”

This spring will be the 11th time since 1939 that the state tournament has been held in the Valley, with the last event held in the area in 2018 (although dartball has been played since about 1937). According to the media release, dartball has been played throughout Wisconsin in churches, halls, and other gathering places for decades, the game woven with intricacies that keep players and viewers on their toes.

Dartball board. (Submitted image)
Dartball board. (Submitted image)

So, how do you play dartball? The player throwing the dart is called the batter. Each dart thrown is the same as a hit in baseball, the dart being thrown at a 4-foot-by-4-foot board with a ball diamond field design. The dart’s destination determines the outcome of each pitch. The batter continues to throw darts until they are safe or out, just like in baseball. The game continues until there have been three strikes or three outs, with colored areas on the board determining whether the batter is safe, out, or has thrown a foul or strike. There are also double plays and sacrifices that can move runners around the bases. At tournaments in Wisconsin, players shoot 20 feet from the board, and all darts are pitched underhand.

Hundreds of players will find their footing in the statewide competition in the new Custard Coliseum and the L.E. Phillips Buildings at the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds, with the tournament kicking off at 9:30am on April 6 and 7. Additionally, the event will celebrate the induction of esteemed players into the Dartball Hall of Fame at 11:30am on Saturday, April 6.

Get in on the action by marking your calendar! Admission to the tournament is free. Learn more about area dartball by getting in touch with the Eau Claire Dartball Club.