NDA: Bob, tell us a bit about yourself—where you
grew up and live now…and your family. Besides work, any hobbies
BOB: I grew up in Colorado. I was born
in Cañon City and moved shortly thereafter to the Fort Collins and Loveland
area. That’s where we hung our hat and where the business
My wife, Sheri and I have four children: Kylie, 16;
Drew, 14; Jason, 10; and Kate, 6. As far as hobbies, I
enjoy hunting and restoring old classic cars and trucks. I also
do a lot of night fishing with the boys for walleye.
NDA: How did you get into the coin op business
and specifically, darts?
BOB: Eighteen years ago, I bought a pinball machine at
a garage sale for $350. It reminded me how much I loved to
play, so I contacted a bowling alley in Greeley and asked about their
pinball machines and they didn’t have any to play. I had some
cash from my lawn service company that I had recently sold, so I talked to
the owner of the bowling alley and we quickly came to an agreement on
adding some pinball machines to his location. My grandfather, Gramps, lent
me $5,000 to buy some video games and that was how it all began! I was
also selling trucks at the time and so I decided that when I got to 20
locations on my route, I would leave the truck business, which I did. We
are now at over 100 locations! I’m about 30 miles from the Wyoming border
and I had bar owners in the Cheyenne area who asked me to start dart
leagues. Excited for a new adventure, I bought 10 boards
in 2015, and started my dart leagues and joined the NDA.
NDA: As owner of Paradise Pinball &
Amusements, what do you see as the core strengths of the company?
BOB: We are family owned, and I try to emphasize that
approach with my bar owners, most of whom are also family
businesses. Because of this approach, we have an
understanding of their needs and bring that to the relationship with our
Paradise customers, league coordinators and extending to players as well.
NDA: What do you like most about
BOB: I like the fact that most dart players are out to
have a good time. They play and have fun. They’re
awesome and they are thankful for anything we do for them, and we
appreciate and support them in return.
NDA: You’ve been around countless
novice players. What’s the best piece of advice you give to a
BOB: Part of it is practice, practice,
practice. We try to nurture and encourage our new
players. We tell them they don’t have to be great players to
join a league and to have fun. We have always had leagues
for beginners. In fact, one of my top players in Cheyenne
is very good with new players and will often play with people who have
never played before. Several years ago, he and I put
together six, four-person teams of new players and we showed them the
game. Four of those six teams are still with us today.
Once they experience it, they come back. Our leagues have been
growing every year and this spring would have been the biggest season we’ve
NDA: If you could play darts with (or against)
any person (living or deceased—whether a dart player or not), who would it
be and why?
BOB: My grandpa. We used to
throw darts in his garage when I was a kid He passed away six
years ago. He never worked in the industry or played
competitive darts, but he would regularly take me to the local arcade and
give me a roll of quarters—which was a lot back then—and we’d play in the
arcade for hours. He was my inspiration to get into the
business and helped me with the money to get it up and
running. I still have his steel-tip darts. He
was just a great guy.
NDA: You’ve been around this
industry/sport for a while now. What’s the biggest change
you have seen over the years?
BOB: The incredible impact of
technology. We’re running remote leagues 130 miles
away…co-op leagues in locations in different states. We
want leagues in our locations, but we’re so spread out around here that it
makes it challenging. In Wyoming, there are about 600,000
people and there may be one bar in a town and the next one is 40 miles
away. Technology has made it possible to overcome this
challenge. It’s exploding. And with
different forms of payment systems—again made available through
technology—it’s even easier.
NDA: You have been involved in the
leadership of NDA’s sister association, AMOA (Amusement & Music
Operators Association), for several years and just recently joined the NDA
board as AMOA’s liaison on/with NDA’s leadership. Any specific
goals as you begin your tenure in this capacity?
BOB: I hope to bring knowledge from both
associations to create a cohesiveness and help make both organizations
stronger. I am passionate about the association work that I have been a
part of to date and I am really excited for the opportunity to be involved
with the NDA leadership in this capacity.
NDA: The geographic area you live and work
in has not been as adversely impacted by the coronavirus nearly as much as
other, more densely-populated areas. What’s the current status
with re-openings in your trade areas?
BOB: We’re sitting in a holding
pattern. In both Wyoming and Colorado, we’re looking
at Phase 1 of the re-opening, where some retail businesses are allowed to
re-open with limitations, on May 1. But, with a 10-person
occupancy limit—which includes staff—many have not re-opened
yet. Phases 2 and 3 are when bars and restaurants will open
with limited seating. It’s been a real challenge to
have any clear view of the future with what the new normal will be. This
industry is made up of resilient people and I know we will come back
NDA: What have you and your family been
doing to get through these challenging times? What
is your typical day like?
BOB: Honestly, I’ve been staying extremely
busy. I’m doing things around the house that I haven’t had time
to do. As far as work goes, our shop at work has never been
cleaner and we’ve caught up on game repair, so we’re ready to rock when
things open up. We’ve also been moving some old equipment
and I’ve been spending more time with the family than ever, which has been
NDA: No one has a playbook on this, but
what is your outlook during the next 6-9 months?
BOB: I’m not sure, but we expect that many
will pull back from their routines for a while. There are
concerns and unknowns about the virus coming back, so that’s a factor on
how things go, but we’re focused on the re-launch and getting back up and
And as far as darts, it’s a social thing. I know
our players are anxious to get back to playing. They miss
their friends. We’re planning some things—like a big blind
draw tournament, perhaps—where we can use some money to support our local
communities. Everyone is looking forward to getting back
NDA: What is your favorite…
…Movie: Days of Thunder or Braveheart
…Music or band: Led Zeppelin
and a local group, Big Head Todd and the Monsters. I rented their band
a bubbler jukebox for a music video of one of their popular
songs: “I Get Smooth.” You can check it out on
…Food: Good BBQ—all kinds.
…TV show: Dukes of Hazzard, A-Team, Fall Guy
…Things to do in Vegas (besides being involved with shows and
tournament there)—I like to visit the Pinball Hall of Fame there,
and Kount’s Kustoms car shop. And, while they’re harder to find
these days, a good buffet.
NDA: Anything else to add?
BOB: I love this great industry that I’ve had the
privilege to call my work home. I love all the people I’ve
had the privilege to know--from other operators and those on industry
association boards to all the great location owners and league players.
It’s truly a great industry and I just want to say to everyone: hang
in there and hopefully, we will all be back in our favorite places playing
a game of darts with some friends soon!