Chamberlain non-profit hosts annual fishing tournament to raise funds for local cancer patients

Kelli Potter
Ag News

Fishing for a Cure, Inc., a nonprofit organization in Chamberlain, recently hosted its fifth annual “Ladies Only Fishing Tournament”.

The fishing tournament raises funds to help cancer patients and their families in Brule, Buffalo and Lyman counties in central South Dakota with travel to and from appointments, hotel stays while at appointments, groceries, utility bills, and other needs.

Fishing for a Cure, Inc., treasurer Kelli Potter said 100%t of the money raised during the event stays local.

“We keep every penny local,” Potter said. “We don’t make a profit on this. Everything we make goes to help local residents fighting cancer.”

After hearing that the ladies only fishing tournament, which originally went to benefit the Susan G Komen Foundation, was going to be discontinued, Potter says she and another committee member, Brenda Burull, decided to jump in to keep the tournament going, but wanted to make sure that the money stayed local.

“We wanted to keep it local,” Potter explained. “That was our whole deal, if we were going to do it, we didn’t want the money to leave, knowing how little of that money comes back to our area.”

When the ladies took over the tournament, Sanford in Chamberlain was already handing out cash cards to cancer patients to help with expenses, and to begin with, the funds raised from the fishing tournament went to them. Then it was realized that there were Avera patients missing out, as well as  patients further west, so the committee took the fund over.

Cash cards are given to a social worker at Sanford and the group gets referrals from the Avera clinic, as well as from members of the communities of Brule, Buffalo and Lyman Counties.

The reason for the "ladies only" tournament is to keep it more about the cause, not for the fishing. People don’t have to be an avid fisherman to participate. In fact, Burull and Potter rarely fish themselves. They want people who don’t fish to come out, celebrate and make it about the cause.

While it is a “ladies only” fishing tourney, any cancer patient can benefit. The only stipulation is that they reside in Brule, Buffalo or Lyman County.

A committee of less than a dozen women will do events throughout the year just to get the word out so people know about the organization, and they can get referrals and are able to help as many people within the tri-county area as possible.  The tournament planning starts at the beginning of the year and finishes after all of the numbers are tallied mid-July.

“Local support is incredible,” Potter said. “The businesses and individuals that contribute make the event what it is.” 

This year, the Chamberlain River City Friday Night’s event donated all the money they raised for the Mr. Chamberlain pageant funds to Fishing for a Cure, Inc.  Over $3,500 was raised from their pageant and donated to the Fishing Committee.

In total, the event raised $23,500 for the 2021 event. On average, the organization is handing out $2,000 per month in cards.

For those looking to learn more about the event and the nonprofit, visit or like them on Facebook. 

You can donate to the cause by sending your donation or memorials to:  Fishing For A Cure Inc., 106 E Beebe Ave., Chamberlain, SD  57325.

If you know of individuals that might benefit from this program contact Patty Juhnke at 234-7124 or Kelli Potter at 730-1967.