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Bob and Jen Westerfield and their family with the Mall of America dart board on 4th floor storefront

Ohio family chooses vacation destination with dartboard, destination Badger

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By Ryan Bakken / Grand Forks Herald / 

Badger may be the Mallard Capital of Minnesota, but it’s usually not a summer vacation destination spot.

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It was this summer, however, for Bob and Jen Westerfield and their family, including 5-year-old twins Ben and Boyd and 3-year-old Elle. The Dayton, Ohio, family spent 42 road hours and an estimated $1,500 for gas for their thirsty 38-foot Winnebago to fulfill their quest...

...all because of a dart flung at a spinning dartboard.

For each of the last 10 years, the Westerfields have determined their vacation site by where a dart sticks on a U.S. map attached to the board. They’ve received national attention for their adventures, including from the “Fox and Friends” television show.

Of the 10 landing places, most Americans would likely recognize only Laramie, Wyo., and Yuma, Ariz. More commonly, they have vacationed at the likes of Zuni, N.M.; Superior, Neb.; Soda Spring, Idaho; and Circle, Mont.

For this year, the destination dart landed on Badger, a town of 375 that isn’t exactly Las Vegas or Times Square as a tourist attraction.

“Our dart vacation puts us in places we’d certainly not normally travel to, but that’s the whole point of it,” Bob said. “It takes you to places you wouldn’t go otherwise, but you always find something wonderful and enjoyable.”

The targeted city is just one stop — and often just a short stop — on the Westerfields’ vacation journeys. For instance, this year’s route to Badger included recreation stops in Madison, Wis.; the Mall of America; and a Park Rapids, Minn., resort. After a two-hour stay in Badger visiting with Mayor Jim Rinde and other residents, they moved on to a Baudette, Minn., resort for walleye fishing and then went through Canada on the return trip to Ohio. The round trip took 14 days.

“In Badger, like all small towns, the people are as friendly as can be,” Bob said. “They’re also as proud of their quaint town as somewhere that was voted the best in America.”

The Westerfields were treated to ice cream and a sweatshirt bearing Badger’s name. They received a short tour and were apprised of sightseeing options in the region, including the largesse of the Marvin Windows plant in Warroad, Minn. And they were forgiven when their Winnebago backed into a hanging flower basket on Badger’s main drag.

“We were very honored, just like any small town that is recognized,” Rinde said.

Next year’s destination-dart locale is Antlers, Okla.

“I don’t know what we’ll be doing in Antlers, but I’m looking forward to it,” Bob Westerfield said. “I know there will be several things about the trip that will be great.”

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