top of page

Our History

Where It Began

In 1984, Gary and Susan Ellis’ newborn daughter, Nicole, was
diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. They were told with
considerable care, she should live to her early teens. After
asking the question “what is cystic fibrosis?”, they set out to
find a way to fight it. In 1988, with the help of help of their
friends, beginning with the legendary hitter Ted Williams, they
founded the Redbone Celebrity Tournament Series to help
fund cystic fibrosis research. Guides, anglers, and celebrities
from film and sports teamed up o thirty-three boats to fish for
redfish and bonefish. From that tournament came the name
“Redbone”. They raised $16,000 that first year and more
importantly, introduced CF into the conscience of the
Islamorada fishing community in the Florida Keys. From that
small seed, the Redbone mushroomed into 20-plus
tournaments bearing the name of Redbone spanning both
coasts of the U.S, Belize, Bahamas, Costa Rica, and Mexico.
Since 2016, Redbone Tournaments, including their cooperative
efforts with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, have netted over
$1 million a year “To Catch the Cure”.
When the Redbone was first established, children with CF
rarely lived to attend high school. Today the median age of
survival for a person living with CF is 40 years. We should not
celebrate this achievement, since a single life has yet to be
saved from this devasting disease. But it is a sign of hope for a
brighter tomorrow for the CF community

Girl at Aquarium
bottom of page