Celebrities and fishermen are being lured to an eastern Manitoba lodge to help reel in a cure for cystic fibrosis.
Retired NFL quarterback Norman (Boomer) Esiason leads the list of competitors in a pro-am tournament Sept. 20 and 21 at Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge.
Proceeds from the inaugural Professional Walleye Trail Celebrity Shootout are going to the Boomer Esiason Foundation, which raises money for cystic fibrosis research and awareness about the fatal genetic disorder.
Esiason founded the organization after his son, Gunnar, was diagnosed in 1993.
"Fishing events have long played a role in calling attention to causes like finding a cure for cystic fibrosis," Esiason said in a written statement. "This event is a unique opportunity to show the world the amazing sport of walleye fishing, the beauty of Manitoba and, most importantly, to benefit finding a cure for cystic fibrosis."
A longtime Cincinnati Bengal, Esiason played 14 seasons with three teams before retiring in 1997. He was the league's MVP in 1988.
Former NHLers Kris King and Mike Gartner, actor Rick Schroder and Les Stroud (the star of Survivorman on Discovery Channel) are among the celebrities Esiason is bringing with him. They'll be paired with PWT's top 10 anglers.
"It's kind of like an all-star game for the PWT fishermen," said Pit Turenne, the lodge's general manager.
Highlights of the tournament, PWT's first in Canada, will be shown during a future Outdoor Channel broadcast.
Esiason became enamoured with the lodge when he and his two kids visited last year, Turenne said.
Aikens Lake -- northeast of Winnipeg in Atikaki Provincial Park -- is widely known for its supply of monstrous walleye (pickerel).
"That's our bread and butter," Turenne said. "When people come to Aikens they're coming after the walleye."
Cystic fibrosis is incurable, although there are treatments. The disease causes mucus to build up and become glue-like, which can lead to serious breathing problems and lung disease.
The median age of survival of Canadians with the disorder is 37, according to the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.