How It All Started
In 2002, 4 of us (Derek Weston, Deborah Gordon and Jackie & Eileen Fettes) got together and came up with the idea to get an Aberdeen Open started up. We went to the Aberdeen Darts Association Committee and put forward the idea but were met with a blank expression and the comment that they were too busy to run such a competition.
So we held a meeting between ourselves and came up with the name of Granite City Open and started chasing major sponsors which we found in the name of Sizzlers BBQ and Grill and so the Granite City Open was formed.
July 2003was the first ever Granite City Open and it was held in the Ramada Jarvis Hotel in Market Street. Due to a computerised problem we don’t have a complete breakdown from our very first Open but we had around 250 entries between both men’s and ladies events and the big names who turned up were Ted Hankey, Gary Anderson, Gary Robson and Bob Taylor but none of those top names were to become the first ever Granite City Open Champion.
July 2004saw the Granite City Open being held in the same venue as 2003 but under a different name as the owners of the hotel seem to change more than the weather but we were always made welcome. The event was getting bigger and bigger with us being able to attract more sponsors for each of the main events which enabled us to set our total prize fund at £6000 and with the prize money getting bigger the open was able to attract some more of the big names including Martin Adams and Mervyn King and entry now reached just over the 350 mark and there was to be new names on the trophies for both singles events.
July 2005and once again the Granite City Open was held in the same venue and yes it did have another name from the year before but that could not stop the momentum the Open was gathering and entries were now over the 400 mark and the prize money had jumped to around the £7000 mark and the top names entering the event were continuing to grow as the open was regarded to be one of the best on the circuit. Once again there was to be a new name on the Men’s singles title but the ladies title was retained by the 2004 winner.
July 2006saw us change venues as yet more new owners had taken over our previous venue, but this time there was not the same anticipation as the new owners had set their sights higher for the hotel. So it was off to the Station Hotel where we have built up a good rapport with the management. We had to use 3 different halls to host this event as, although the hotel was bigger than the other venue, the main hall was smaller. This was to be an amazing year for the Granite City as entries reached 373 in the men’s and 133 in the ladies. The prize money also jumped up again with it now reaching £7,500.
June 2007to make up for the loss of space from the other venue we have decided to invest in new framing for going around the walls of the venue so we can gain several hundred square feet of which was dead space that we encountered last year. We also held meeting with our main sponsors and were able to get them to invest even more in our Open so we could become the highest prize money in the whole of Scotland at £10,000.
June 2008 saw 622 players enter between the mens and ladies singles which must be a record for a non-ranking event and prize money was £11.300. The mens title was heading back to Scotland after a 3 year absence and the ladies title went overseas for the second time, We have discussed with management with hotel to see owners about building a extension to ballroom as space is once again causing us headaches, Looking at setting prize fund for 2009 at over £12,000.
July 2009 As predicted the total prize fund exceeded the £12,000 mark. Entry this year was down to 583 as the Welsh Classic was held on the same weekend, but that didn’t stop World Champion Ted Hankey heading north. The Granite City also improved its format in the mens singles moving from 16 to 32 boards and changing from best of 5 to 7 legs. The Ladies playing area moved to the ground floor after the Station Hotel carried out some alterations to help improve the playing area. Two new names were about to be engraved on our trophies.
July 2010Entries went up this year after the Welsh Classic decided to change the dates. This year also saw the prize money reach £12,580. The concerns with the new fomat to the mens singles had been put to bed as even with the games going to the best of 7 legs, our control desks ran the show perfectly. On the Sunday, 2 new champions were crowned as once again another great event came to a conclusion.
July 2011 Record Entries of 659 saw the prize money exceed the £13,000 barrier and player talk reckons that this one was the best one yet. The mens singles title was once again staying in Scotland and finally the greatest ever ladies player got her name on our new trophy. For the Friday mixed pairs in 2012, we have decided to open up more boards for it as entry reached 166 this year. Plans are already in place for hosting our 10th Anniversary year in 2012.
June 2012 Our 10th Anniversary, 707 entries and a massive jump in prize money to £20,000 after sponsors asked to invest more into event, This was also to be our last year in Station Hotel as we had outgrown the venue. Deta wins ladies singles for 2nd time and a great friend of ours Stephen Bunting wins his first title at GCO.
June 2013 We have moved to the biggest venue in the city, the AECC and built a completely new 64 board set up. Our anticipation of massive entries never came to fruition as the fear of high drink and food prices were proved correct so it was back to the drawing board to try and find new venue again for 2014, although from a darting prospective, the new set up was superb and our live streaming went down a treat online.
August 2014 Our new home is the Menzies Hotel in Dyce, a little out from city centre but next to train station and lots of local amenities. As organisers it just felt right and by the end of the weekend the participants were also saying the same, little did they know that we lost a major sponsor last minute as the company had been bought out and they had to pull out. Unless a new sponsor is found the Granite City Open will have to fold, as being non-profit making we had no reserves to cover such setbacks.
August 2015 New sponsors were found and what a great event it turned out to be where around 500 players descended on the Menzies Hotel for the event. We now have a 5 times champion in the Ladies singles and a 3rd player becomes a 2 times winner in the Men’s singles competition. All in all, things are looking bright for next few years so can’t ask for more.