“Stay calm and breathe.” “Throw it. ”
Name: Clayanna Brandon
Hometown: Warner Robins, Georgia from Cowan, Tennessee
Darts Used: Red Dragon Snakebite World Champion 23g, Cosmo Carbon Fit Shaft Size 6, Cosmo Fit Flight Pro v4 and the regular Fit Flight Kite.
Occupation: Electronics Engineer
Motto: “Stay calm and breathe.” “Throw it.” Says in middle or end of throw
Favorite High Out:110 and 116
Favorite Double: 16
Get ready to laugh and be entertained with Clayanna Brandon! With her unique personality and love for darts. Let's see what she has to say about her darting journey and more
When asked about her introduction to the world of darts and how many years she's been playing, Clayanna revealed, “Dad got me into darts. I've been throwing darts off and on since I was 15 or 16, so about nine or ten years now. But it wasn't until I was finishing up college, when I was able to come to more venues and more events in general, that I started taking it more seriously.”
If Clayanna could have any superpower while playing darts, she playfully quipped, "Kinda cheap, but I'd go for telekinetic powers. Imagine being able to guide that dart exactly where you want it to go.
Being a female player in a male-dominated sport comes with its fair share of challenges. Clayanna mused, "People often underestimate me. It's kind of nice to have that element of surprise. At the end of the day, I have to throw my own darts.”
Handling the pressure of consistent performance and dealing with the ups and downs of competitive darts can be quite the challenge. Clayanna shared her secret to staying cool, saying, "I don't perform like a professional all the time, but when the going gets tough, I push through it. I remind myself that even when the dart is right on the wire, there is really nothing you can do to adjust. You just have to keep throwing and eventually they will fall where they need to. It can be super frustrating though."
Now, let's dive into event preferences. Clayanna doesn't have a clear favorite between average-based events and straight open women's events. She enthusiastically explained, "I'm not picky! Whether it's average-based or an open women's event, count me in. The DPFL has been great with its open average format, where you get to play opponents closer to your level. I enjoy both because they offer different challenges. Lower averages might make you have a better shot, but you still have to perform at your best. My dad and I have talked about how sometimes we unconsciously throw to our opponents' averages. But the same goes for playing against higher average players. Sometimes, not getting those doubles just pumps up your average as well as scoring more consistently and hitting bigger shots. In fact, in the DPFL Player Championship, John Steinhofer hit a 14-darter on me, and I followed with a 15-darter of my own. It was one of my best matches. So, I don’t have a preference of events one way or the other. Both are going to challenge you in some way to improve your game.”
Let's take a break from darts and meet Clayanna's furry friends. She proudly introduced her two little Yorkies, Kylo and Obi, named after characters from Star Wars. But that's not all! Her parents have a Maltipoo named Hux. Clayanna added, “ All of our family pets in recents years have been named after Star Wars, from two dogs named Yoda and Chewy, a cat named Vader, two Guinea pigs named Solo and Skywalker, and two robo hamsters named Padme and Leia.”When asked about what fictional character she would love to play a match against she said, “I'd love to play a fictional match of darts against Master Yoda.”
Now, get ready for a surprising location where Clayanna has played darts. Hold on to your seats because this one's a doozy! It happened in Assen, Netherlands. “My dad got invited over, and there were some extra spots available. Family members that were already going were offered spots. I found out just a month before the trip! During the round robin there, I ended up facing Sandy Haas in the round robin. I flew across the Atlantic, just to play someone I face all the time. Not to mention that Sandy and I are doubles partners very frequently. We had four people in each robin group and both Sandy and I made it out. But my first-round match after the knockout was against Robin Curry, another player I see frequently at tournaments in the US."
Unusual superstitions are common in the darting world, and Clayanna has come across some interesting ones. She recalled, "Back when I first started going to tournaments, I saw someone that would blow on the flight of their darts to juju the throwers darts on the way to the board hoping the dart would miss its target.”
Let's move on to Clayanna's inspirations in the darting world. She finds motivation from the female players she competes against in tournaments. Clayanna explained, "It's the women I play against who truly inspire me. Whether it's local tournaments in Nashville or Chattanooga or out of state tournaments, there are always tough women to face. My dad and I joke about my luck with who I tend to draw for the first round or who is waiting on me in the second round. But like Joe Chaney and my dad have told, it's all about playing against these top players, believing I can beat them. It's the mindset. And now, it's become a funny thing because I end up playing against these top women so much. As a collective, they inspire me to reach their level. Taking a couple of legs off them at first and eventually getting to the point where I can beat them in a match is the goal. Sandy Haas, Paula Murphy, and Cali West just to name a few have pushed me to play better. If you never play against the top players, you'll never beat them. To improve, you have to take on the better players."
Being a sponsored player with DPFL Darts has made a significant impact on Clayanna's darting career and overall experience in the darting community. She exclaimed, "It has opened up a world of opportunities. I've been able to reach out to people and encourage them to join the league. Being a sponsored player is a ton of fun, and it's helped get others involved too. I've received countless compliments on my shirt. During Autism Awareness Day, people loved my jersey as well as at the Huntsville Shoot for the Moon event when the design first came out.
Let's wrap up this entertaining interview with a funny question. If Clayanna had to choose a theme song to play every time she stepped up to the oche, she enthusiastically exclaimed, "It has to be Katy Perry's 'Roar'! That song is like a power-packed dose of positivity and motivation. It gets me in the zone and makes me feel like a true darting champion!"
And who are Clayanna's sponsors? Well, she proudly declares, "DPFL is my only sponsor currently! They've been with me throughout my darting journey, supporting and believing in me.
There you have it, folks! Clayanna Brandon, the charismatic DPFL sponsored player, brings a mix of talent, humor, and a love for darts to the stage. Her journey is filled with exciting adventures, furry friends, and a determination to conquer the darting world. Keep an eye out for this rising star, because she's a force to reckon with on the oche!