What's not to like about a bunch of fat men throwing some arrows? Darts has been proven to be a very fast growing sport and has been ever-present in my life since I started watching it in 1995 on the television. Before that, I had been playing it already, mostly with my father.
Yes, a lot, but definitely not all darts players are fat. Actually, in the last couple of years, we see more and more fit players break through. Still, a lot of them are indeed fat, which is the reason for some people to believe it is not a sport. Well, it's up to you, but as a minimum, it is a very popular, exciting and well-paid game for the professionals. The prize money is increasing every year and a whole lot of huge events are currently on the calendar every year.
Every year, from December into the first week of January, the Professional Darts Corporation organizes their World Championship (there's another one held by the British Darts Organisation). For me personally, it's the most important sports event at the end of the year, and yes it's about to start, meaning I get excited.
Darts really is about the combination of loud crowds, people dressing up in the weirdest outfits, exciting games that can go up and down, high averages, high finishes, dramatic misses, bounce outs, but for sure also about the eccentric characters in the sport and, their walk-ons.
Here's a summary of 30 of the best available walk-ons done by darts players. I could think of a few more good ones, but I wasn't able to find them on Youtube where all these videos are from. These are ranked from 30 to 1 according to my preference. If you are not willing to see all 30 of them, then at least have a look at the top 10. Who knows it gets you excited too.
Before you do so, check your sound volume before playing these videos, some can be very loud.
30. Rob Cross - (The Merrymen - Feeling Hot Hot Hot)
Cross is the current world champion and will defend his title in December. His walk-on is not the most exciting, but he has to be included in this list. His nickname is Voltage, as he used to be an electrician.
29. Michael Smith (Walk The Moon - Shut Up And Dance)
Michael Smith, nicknamed Bully Boy is a very promising young player and always ready to entertain the crowd. His nickname was given to him, as he easily finishes his legs (501 points down to 0) with a dart in the bulls-eye.
28. Mensur Suljovic (Tina Turner - Simply The Best)
Suljovic is a Serbian refugee, who ended up in Austria, which is the country he is representing. He is a slow thrower, but despite that, he is very likable. He's generally quiet, but can sometimes cheer out really loud. He's nicknamed The Gentle.
27. Dave Chisnall (Vic Reeves & Wonderstuf - Dizzy)
Chisnall goes by the nickname Chizzy. When Chizzy is in good form he can make all his opponents dizzy, even the best players in the world.
26. James Wade (Thin Lizzy - The Boys Are Back In Town)
When James Wade walks on stage you know that the darts boys are back in town. His nickname is The Machine and he's married to the walk-on girl in this video, Sammi Marsh. Walk-on girls have been abandoned from the darts this year, to the disappointment of the fans, but also of the walk-on girls themselves. (Source)
25. Simon Whitlock (Men At Work - Down Under)
Simon Whitlock, the man from Australia, comes up with the song Down Under. Nicknamed the Wizard of Oz, just look at that beard. He's been around for a long time and is certainly one of the faces of darts.
24. Mervyn King (Motörhead - Bow Down To The King)
Merv the Swerve of darts makes the crowd bow down to the King. The last couple of years he's had a few issues with the audiences, however. As a result, he started playing with earplugs in, to make sure he's less distracted while playing.
23. Stephen Bunting (Family Guy - The Bird Is The Word)
There we have Mr. Selfspot. Stephen Bunting was often compared to Peter Griffin from Family Guy. That character has a famous sketch named "The Bird Is The Word" and Stephen Bunting has chosen a remix of that sketch as his walk-on song. He is nicknamed The Bullet.
22. Michael van Gerwen (The White Stripes - Seven Nations Army)
The best player in the world at the moment and of the last couple of years. Some come very close from time to time and he's been losing some matches from time to time, but there's no doubt that Michael is the best of the best. Mighty Mike will again start this year as the favorite. So far he's been world champion twice. Will he make it a third, or will one of the others win it in the end?
21. Kim Huybrechts (Jim Diamond - Hi Ho Silver)
The Belgian Hurricane used to walk-on with Rock You Like A Hurricane from the Scorpions but has adopted his new song when he started to play in the Premier League of Darts. The main reason behind that has probably to do with getting the crowd entertained and behind you.
20. Robert Thornton (The Proclaimers - I'm Gonna Be)
The Thorn walks 500 miles and when he's done, he will walk 500 more. Whenever he walks on stage, the crowd always gets entertained.
19. Andy Smith (Weird Al Yankovic - Eat It)
Was Stephen Bunting Mr. Selfspot? Well, maybe Andy Smith would be a good contender for that title as well. Darts players are often fat as discussed previously. Some players though are a bit more than fat. Andy Smith, nicknamed The Pie Man doesn't make it a secret that he likes to eat and chose the parody of Weird Al Yankovic of Michael Jackson's Beat It! as his walk-on song, removing the B and focus on the food.
18. Adrian Lewis (Perfecto Allstarz - Reach Up)
Lewis is a two-time back to back world champion and is one of the most talented players on the circuit. He's had a bit of a dip in his career the last year and a half, but he seems to be on his way back. He was even suspended for a period recently after an incident with another player in one of the smaller tournaments. There's no doubt Jackpot will be back, the question is when. He earned his nickname after he hit the jackpot in a casino in Las Vegas when he was underage and wasn't allowed to claim his win.
17. Steve Hine (Dizzee Rascal - Bonkers)
Steve Hine is the Muffin Man, and this walk-on shows him appearing on stage dressed up as a cook and a plate full of muffins that he gives to the crowd. As you can see, they love him.
16. Gary Anderson (House of Pain - Jump Around)
Another multiple world champion is the Flying Scotsman. Widely considered to be the current best-of-the-rest after Michael van Gerwen. When he walks on the crowd will go wild and will start jumping around. Anderson is a fan favorite and fans are often heard singing his name during matches.
15. Andy Fordham (Right Said Fred - I'm Too Sexy)
Fordham nicknamed The Viking is no longer active in the professional circuit. He's a one-time world champion and was (and is still) one of the most popular darts players ever. He earned his nickname due to his presence. He has a lot of health issues during the years, but also Fordham has a good level of self-spot, walking on with I'm Too Sexy For My Shirt.
14. Ronnie Baxter (Queen - Don't Stop Me Now)
The always smiling Ronnie Baxter was a very charismatic man in the world of darts. He showed the audience that he was ready to have a good time on stage and chose the perfect song to represent him Ronnie the Rocket does currently no longer play darts on the highest level.
13. Devon Petersen (Shakira - This Time For Africa)
From South Africa with love! Another likable player is Devon Petersen. He's a good player, but misses consistency and therefore only qualifies for the bigger tournaments from time to time. He's a crowd winner with his dance moves on stage though.
12. Vincent van der Voort (KC & The Sunshine Band - Give It Up)
Van der Voort was not that much of a popular player at the beginning of his career, but when Rafael van der Vaart played for Tottenham Hotspur and the fans were singing this song adapted to his name, Van der Voort adopted the song as his walk-on song. It was a massive success and he became a fan-favorite all over the world.
11. Phil Taylor (Snap - The Power)
Whereas Michael van Gerwen is the best of the current best, there's only one Phil Taylor. Darts fans have been walking in the Taylor wonderland ever since most of the people watching the sport can remember. He's the most dedicated person in the world of darts being a sixteen-time champion of the world and having won hundreds of other events during his career. The Power quit darts after last years world championship and will be a commentator and analyst for Sky Sports this year. See here the last ever walk-on of the legend.
10. Tony O'Shea (DJ Ötzi - Hey Baby)
Tony the Gorilla, or the Silverback also knows how to entertain the crowd. Especially when you walk on stage with the catchy song he has chosen. O'Shea has never left the BDO to play for the PDC and has suffered from some health issues in the last couple of years.
9. Jimmy Hendriks (Gala - Freed From Desire)
No, this is not the wrongly spelled name of the famous singer, but he is surely named after him. Jimmy is fairly unknown in the world of darts but is one of those players who reach a higher level from time to time. He is a funny character and went completely wild during his walk-on at the world championships last year. The video says Jerry, but that is incorrect.
8. Dimitri Van Den Bergh (Pharell Williams - Happy)
Another happy and bright character is Dimitri Van Den Bergh. The little Dream Maker is rising and reached the quarterfinals of the world championship last year. Still, at the moment he's most famous for his dance moves during his walk-on.
7. Dirk van Duijvenbode - (Typhoon - Glimpse of the Future)
Then Dirk van Duijvenbode is another interesting character. When he walks onto the stage it looks like he's coming straight from a rave without having any sleep in between. Dancing to the loud music makes this a very special entry in this category.
6. Martin Adams (Duran Duran - Hungry Like The Wolf)
A classic in the world of darts is Martin Adams, nicknamed Wolfie (look at the beard). He is no longer active on the professional level after some health issues but goes into the history books as one of the most entertaining and likable people in the sport. Als as one of the most controversial. With his skills, he could have easily been up there with the PDC top darters, but he as always been loyal to the BDO and never left them.
5. Peter Manley (Tony Christie - Amarillo)
When Peter Manley had to finish a leg he only needed one dart and one dart only. One Dart is exactly what his nickname was. He was either loved or hated, with Manley there is no middle way. His walk-ons on Tony Christie's Amarillo were very catchy back in the days. Manley is off the circuit already for quite some years now.
4. Peter Wright (Pitbull - Don't Stop The Party)
The current number three of the world has never been the world champion yet. Some people blame it on him losing his focus due to the way he dresses up and how he entertains the crowd and the walk-on girls before the match starts. I disagree with that. Fact is that when Peter Wright was not dressed up as a clown, he was a nobody in the sport. He was no famous character and he was not even close to the level of darts he can produce nowadays. He is definitely a potential winner this year.
3. Daryl Gurney (Neil Diamond - Sweet Caroline)
Daryl Gurney is one of the most talented players of the new generation. Earlier in his career, he was nicknamed The Dude, nowadays he's called Superchin, it's probably not hard to guess why. He might not always be popular with the crowds in the live venues, but everybody is always singing along during his walk-on.
2. Wayne Mardle (Hawaii 501)
Mardle is currently a popular commentator for Sky Sports, but before that, he was a world-class darts player. He never made it to the final of a world championship but has been in five semi-finals throughout his career. Mardle has been nicknamed Hawaii 501 (the shirt he was wearing and the points from where a leg of darts starts) and was a role model for the younger generation when it comes to walking on stage.
- Raymond van Barneveld (Survivor - Eye Of The Tiger)
Raymond van Barneveld is a five-time champion of the world and always had one of the better walk-ons. However, the walk-on in Rotterdam this year during the Premier League of darts in a sea of orange, with thousands of people singing Eye of the Tiger followed by a very loud "Barney-Army" chant is, in my opinion, the best walk-on ever.
So, there we are at the end of the list.
Which ones did you like the best?
In case you want to see some of the best darts thrown ever, then this video of Michael van Gerwen throwing 17 perfect darts even made Kermit The Frog and Miss Piggy dancing.