South Dakota man inducted into darts hall of fame
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South Dakota man inducted into darts hall of fame

ABERDEEN, S.D. — When Alvin Gerlach of Aberdeen took his first position on the National Dart Association board of directors, tournaments were run entirely with paper brackets.

He used a wall chart to track a tournament’s progress, and handed out scorecards that had to be filled out manually.

Today, everything is done electronically. A computer keeps track of scores, and an app informs players of their bracket placement — no paper needed.

That is largely thanks to Gerlach, who pushed to introduce the technology.

For his efforts, Gerlach was recently inducted to the Amusement and Music Operators Association-National Dart Association Hall of Fame, the Aberdeen American News reported.

The Amusement and Music Operators Association is a trade group that works with people and businesses involved in “the sales, marketing, distribution and manufacturing of currency-operated equipment,” according to its website.

Gerlach has worked at Hub Music & Vending since 1986 and became service manager in 1996. He has served two terms as president of the National Dart Association board since.

In 2003, Gerlach was looking for a way to expand his dart leagues.

“We had them here with Hub Music, but they were kind of weak,” he said.

So he got involved with the National Dart Association to learn how he could take his own league to the next level.

“Next thing you know, they’re asking me to take a position on the board,” he said.

Since then, Gerlach has been busy travelling to and organizing tournaments, sometimes putting in 15-hour days at the larger events.

The program he helped introduce is called CompuSport, which is an automated event managing system specialized for pool, darts, foosball and ping pong, according to its website.

“It’s an amazing tool,” Gerlach said. “The first time we ran it out in (Las) Vegas, the board members were skeptical of it. I insisted we try it because it’s a better system and a better experience for our players.”

Gerlach is also responsible for developing a junior dart tournament for the association. He noticed the people in adult tournaments were typically the same year after year.

“It wasn’t growing or getting new blood,” he said.

But the numbers have grown since the junior tournament started.

Gerlach has kids of his own, ages 13 and 8, who play in tournaments.

“It’s a great way to see it grow,” he said. “Junior tournaments are the best, hands down. You get to see (the kids) grow year to year. Physically, you can see how much taller they’ve gotten. And you can see their skill level increase over the years.”

Gerlach last served as board president in 2016 before he was termed out and retired from the board. Although he is part of the nominating committee for the hall of fame, he never saw himself as a candidate.

“I feel pretty humbled, I didn’t see it coming,” he said. “I love the NDA, and it’s been a great experience for me.”

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Information from: Aberdeen American News, http://www.aberdeennews.com

An AP Member Exchange shared by the Aberdeen American News.

Becca Simon, The Associated Press