All-female fishing tournament raises funds for women fighting cancer
Submitted by Destination Niagara USA
“Reelin’ for a Cure” is returning to Olcott and Wilson harbors from 6 a.m. to noon Friday, Aug. 19. In its seventh year, the fishing tournament will host hundreds of women angling for prize money, bragging rights and the opportunity to raise money for women battling cancer.
The event was started by Stephanie Pierleoni in 2016 as a way to introduce women to the sport of fishing – while raising money for a good cause. She participated in a similar event at the east end of Lake Ontario, and realized this was something she could replicate in her own backyard.
“Initially, I noticed that I was the only woman at many fishing tournaments, but now so many more females get involved in the sport,” she said.
At the time “Reelin’ for a Cure” was conceived, Pierleoni had multiple friends and family members battling cancer, so the tournament evolved to become a benefit for women’s cancer causes.
Each year, the “Reelin’ for a Cure” committee designates a different cancer-related benefactor for donations, with the funds being raised through raffles and sponsorships. This year, the proceeds will benefit the Ovarian Cancer Project, a local charity dedicated to providing education about the risk factors and symptoms of ovarian cancer, as well as support for those battling the disease.
The $250 registration fee per team is pooled to create prize money for tournament winners, with an expected pot of close to $10,000. Cash prizes and trophies will be awarded for first through fifth places, as well as a plaque for the biggest fish. Every participant is required to purchase a one-day fishing license, which can be done online through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website, or at an outdoor store or tackle shop.
Teams can have a maximum of six female participants, but boats may carry up to two additional men to assist with the vessel, as long as they do not participate in fishing. Following the weigh-in, participants enjoy an after-party in Krull Park, and can even take home their catch from the day.
Pierleoni noted the “tremendous support” she receives from the community and sponsors.
“Everyone at the event has been touched by cancer at some point, so it’s an important cause, but it’s also important to bring people into the fishery,” she said.
Frank Campbell, outdoor promotions director with Destination Niagara USA, volunteers for the annual event.
“ ‘Reelin’ for a Cure’ creates a unique opportunity for participants to explore the beauty of Lake Ontario and enjoy fishing, while simultaneously benefitting a local cancer charity. It’s truly a win-win for everyone involved,” Campbell said.
Groups interested in participating can still register via a registration form on the “Reelin’ for a Cure” website. For more information or to register, visit http://reelinforacure.com/.
The mission of Destination Niagara USA is to expand the economic prosperity of the Niagara Falls USA communities by generating individual and group visitation. For more information, visit niagarafallsusa.com.