KISSIMMEE-ST. CLOUD, Fla. - Reigning CITGO Bassmaster Classic champion Mike Iaconelli and celebrated fishing professionals Roland Martin and Shaw Grigsby led a star-studded cast of anglers who pitched in to help raise funds in the fight against cancer.

Their volunteer efforts alongside 17 of their fellow pros helped generate more than $42,000 during Kissimmee-St. Cloud's Fourth Annual Angling Against Cancer Benefit Dinner and Tournament Nov. 1-2.  

Proceeds from this annual event go to the V Foundation for Cancer Research.  Since being founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, the V Foundation has raised over $30 million and funded 190 cancer research grants.

Funds generated from the sales of a specially designed lure kit also contributed to the total amount raised.  "Lure for a Cure" debuted at this summer's CITGO Bassmaster Classic presented by Busch Beer as a tri-pack of top water lures designed by Heddon to produce fishing success while generating money toward finding cures for cancer. 

Lure for a Cure is the result of the combined efforts of Heddon Lures and Florida's Kissimmee-St. Cloud Convention & Visitors Bureau.  The kit boasts Heddon's popular Superspook Jr in three hot new colors designed and promoted by Kissimmee-St. Cloud pro Terry Segraves and fellow anglers Tim Horton and Sam Swett.

Segraves is credited with starting the Angling Against Cancer Benefit Dinner and Tournament four years ago as part of Kissimmee-St. Cloud's Anglers Challenge fishing promotion. The unique Angling Against Cancer fundraiser is centered around pros such as Iaconelli, Martin and Grigsby who unanimously support efforts to raise the money needed to cure cancer, the disease that claimed the life of Valvano and affects the lives of many others daily.  

This year's charity fundraiser kicked off at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Kissimmee.   Nearly 300 attended the dinner event last Saturday that also included pro angler introductions and career highlights, entertainment, and a live and silent auction.

The capper to Angling Against Cancer occurred the next day when those 20 professionals partnered with corporate sponsors to compete in a friendly, yet competitive tournament on Kissimmee-St. Cloud's famed Lake Toho.  

For the record, the Gerber Legendary Blades team of pro angler Tim Horton and Gerber representative Mark Schindel tied with the Griffin LLC partnership of Iaconelli and John Evertson.  Both teams brought five fish to the scales weighing 14.93 pounds to claim bragging rights as this year's Angling Against Cancer Tournament Champions.

In addition to the proceeds raised by the Angling Against Cancer event, reigning CITGO Bassmaster Classic champion Mike Iaconelli announced a program he called "Pounding Out A Cure" whereby he will donate $2 for every pound he catches in a professional tournament for the ensuing year.  Proceeds from this new program will be presented to the V Foundation at next year's Angling Against Cancer Benefit Dinner and Tournament. 

The 2003 celebrity Angling Against Cancer Anglers:

Scott Bell
Paul Elias
Chuck Economou
Pete Gluszek
Shaw Grigsby
Carroll Hagood
Charlie Hartley
Tim Horton
Mike Iaconelli
Elton Luce, Jr
Roland Martin
Scott Martin
Ralf Petty
Terry Scroggins
Mike Surman
Sam Swett
Peter Thliveros
David Walker
Kevin Wirth
Charlie Younger

Public Relations Department, Kissimmee-St. Cloud CVB
Phone 407-944-2427; 800-831-1844, x 427