Little did Julie Weger know what was in store for her when she agreed to tag along with her brother to play darts in Paris (Ill.) 20 years ago.
“He needed a sub for a league one night and couldn’t find anyone, so he took me to the bar,” explained Weger on GLT's Sound Ideas. “It just went from there.”
Where it went from there has led the 42-year-old Normal resident to a professional career and such places as Hong Kong and numerous international, national and state championships.
“I wasn’t very good (in the beginning), but he didn’t care. He just needed a body to play,” said Weger, who was 19 at the time. Weger, who hails from Redmon—a small community in east Central Illinois—admits she didn’t play much after that because of work and attending Eastern Illinois University. She moved to Washington (Ill.) in 1998 and joined a dart league in Peoria.
“It took a couple of years, but I just got progressively better and better,” added Weger, who admits she hasn’t given much thought to how good she is.
“I don’t think it’s ever set,” she continued. “I mean I know I’m good, but I still have my ups and downs. I became competitive locally and started traveling within the state and surrounding states and doing quite well.
“It’s grown over the years. I played in my first U.S. competition my third year in 2000 in Florida and won."
Weger, who works for the Town of Normal, was chosen for the four-person USA team the last five years. The team consists of three males and one female from players across the United States. Her team placed third at the international event in Hong Kong where 16 countries were represented.
“Hong Kong was amazing and I’m hoping to go to Spain and Korea next year,” she added.
Weger said she participates in tournaments “about once a month” and doesn’t practice anymore.
“I used to, but now I don’t have time,” she added. “Now it’s just pretty much muscle memory. I still love the game of darts. I used to get really excited and couldn’t wait to go to tournaments and play. I don’t get quite excited as I used to and sometimes I have to take a break. I think it’s a growing up thing.”
Weger is able to offset some of her travel and other expenses through her partnership with Cosmo Fit Flight, a dart company in Japan.
“I’m a product player for them,” she said. “They give me products I use to promote them. My darts are theirs."
And how many championships has she won over the years?
“A lot,” said Weger, who was named the women’s MVP at the Bullshooter Would Tournament in 2016. “One of these days I’m going to have to sit and figure it out.”
And how long will she continue playing?
“I’m sure there is retirement in my future. I just haven’t hit that mark yet.”
If anyone knows about hitting marks, it’s Weger.
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