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Westport Tournament Reels in Big Bucks for Kids

WESTPORT, Conn. – Local anglers did more than catch big fish during the third-annual Saugatuck Cup charity fishing tournament. The event, co-sponsored by the Saugatuck fishing shop Westport Outfitters , brought in at least $40,000, said store owner Eric Johnson.

"Preliminary figures show we raised at least $40,000, if not more, which is what we raised last year," said Johnson, who helped longtime friend and tournament founder Matt Spengler launch the event three years ago.

Although they are still counting the money, Johnson said there were definitely more anglers this year than last.

"We're definitely happy with the turnout," said Johnson of Saturday's event. "Each year, we seem to draw more people."

Spengler, a former Westport resident, was inspired to start the tournament after his now 7-year-old son James was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis, a neurological disease that causes tumors, at age 2.

All proceeds raised during the catch-and-release tournament and after-party will be donated to The 9th Floor Foundation, a nonprofit started by Spengler. The money will then be disbursed to The Children's Tumor Foundation and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centers to support pediatric cancer and neurofibromatosis research and provide financial assistance to the families of children battling these diseases.

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