Fourth LaMar/Mercury Grand Slam attracting early angler and celebrity entries to fish

Gala celebrity event benefits the Tampa Bay based Pediatric Cancer Foundation


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., ---Anglers and celebrities are signing up earlier than before to fish in the fourth annual Chuck LaMar/Mercury Outboards Grand Slam celebrity fishing tournament Nov. 9 –11, to help catch the cure for pediatric cancer.

            “We expect to have a full field of 100 anglers and 50 celebrities fishing with us in this charity event,” said honorary chairman Chuck LaMar, the GM of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays who is also an avid angler.

“The weekend benefits the Pediatric Cancer Foundation (PCF) headquartered in the Bay area, for research funding to find a cure for the many cancers that strike children,” said LaMar. “Title sponsor Mercury Marine has been with us from the start along with a number of other $10,000 and $5,000 fishing and social package sponsors.”

“The cost to fish is $2,000 and that includes all of the social events as well,” he

said.  Anglers will be fishing for snook, trout and redfish in the catch and release contest, which also includes a fly-fishing division.


You don’t have to fish to help the cause; opportunity for public involvement

 “You don’t have to fish to help us in our efforts for pediatric cancer research,” said LaMar.

“We’re in the midst of planning the tournament’s celebrity gala on Friday, Nov. 9th, which will include silent and live auctions at the Renaissance Vinoy,” said LaMar.  “We hope soon to make some unique announcements about that evening’s affair.”

Ticket prices for the public’s involvement in the banquet and auctions have not been set but are expected to be announced soon by the PCF office at 813-269-0955.

“It will give the public a chance to meet the 50 celebrities fishing in the tournament,” said LaMar. "The dinner will be bigger and better than last year. What we raise will help a lot of sick youngsters,” he added. “From this event and the donations from the Steve Yerrid Foundation we have raised $388,000 for PCF,” said LaMar.


Celebrities signing up

Among the early confirmed celebrity entrants are Devil Rays' Wade Boggs and Billy Hatcher and former MLB managers and players Jim Fregosi, Bobby Dews, Joe Niekro, Leon Roberts and Jimmy Key; former NFL players include Hall of Famer Ted Hendricks, Mark Cooper, Gary Dunn and Tim Irwin; national TV fishing show hosts Shaw Grigsby, Orlando Wilson, Mark Sosin and Roland Martin; two-time NASA shuttle astronaut Bruce Melnick; Secret Service hero Eric Littlejohn; actors James B. Sikking of Hill Street Blues, Pelican Brief; Ed Marinaro of Hill Street Blues and Sisters, and Bo Svenson of Walking Tall; and the “emperor” of the E-Street Band saxophonist, recording artist and actor Clarence Clemons.

"We’ll have more announcements as other outstanding celebrities sign on," added LaMar.


Multitude of unique auction items

            “We expect to have well over 100 items in the silent and live auctions,” added LaMar. He said they include travel and leisure resort trips, golf packages, sports memorabilia, beautiful marine art and much more up for bid in Friday night’s gala party.

“We have a Mercury Outboards 90 horse-powered 17' Mako flats boat and trailer valued at nearly $20,000 as the top item up for bid in the live auction,” said tournament director Barbara Rebold.  “Other popular items are the lease of a Mercedes Benz for one full year from Crown Euro Cars, a great celebrity quail hunting trip at the Gilchrist Club near Gainesville and an entry into one of popular Mercury Redbone tournaments in the Fla. Keys.”

            “The night is also a sports collectors dream,” said LaMar.  Bill Acree, with the Atlanta Braves has donated jerseys and autographed baseballs from players like Tom Glavine, Andruw Jones, John Smolz, Greg Maddox and manager Bobby Cox.  Tony Dungy has sent a Tampa Bay Buccaneers football and the Lighting has an autographed hockey stick. We have a lot more sports items from around the major league coming in every week.”

“Roland Martin has given us a three night stay at Lime Cay in Islamorada. We also have U.S. Presidential memorabilia like cuff links and pens donated by former Secret Service agent Eric Littlejohn, which were one of the top auction items last year,” said Rebold.  “And there are a number of beautiful items for the ladies to bid on as well and family fun packages such as to Walt Disney World,” she added.  

            “We’ll have more items to announce later from the support of top sponsors like Mercury, Mako/Bay Pines Marine, Crown Euro Cars/Mercedes Benz USA, the Steve Yerrid Foundation and the DuPont Registry.


Winning angler advances to RolexIGFA tournament

“Something new this year is that the Chuck LaMar/Mercury Grand Slam has been selected as a qualifying event for the 2002 Rolex/IGFA Inshore Invitational Championship next Spring,” said Rebold.  “The winning angler will advance to compete against the winners of other top inshore tournaments like the Mercury Redbone series winners from the Keys.

“We’re really excited about this additional opportunity for our top angler,” she said.  “To sign up please call the PCF office in Tampa at 813-269-0955.”