Organizers of the annual Jack and Jill Tournament could not have asked for a better late July day. Saturday's weather was perfect. Light breezes. Mild temperatures. Lots of sunshine.

Organizers of the annual Jack and Jill Tournament could not have asked for a better late July day. Saturday’s weather was perfect. Light breezes. Mild temperatures. Lots of sunshine.

“What a great day,” said John Martens of New London, who organized the tournament for the East Missouri Crappie Club, as fishermen and fisherwomen were bringing their day’s catch to be weighed in the pavilion of the Paris Fairgrounds.

Perhaps no one was more pleased with the weather than volunteer Jim Housewright, who was cooking hamburgers for the after-tournament lunch.

“It has been really hot in here some years,” he said. “This is almost perfect.”

Some 70 teams were registered for the event, which has become an important fundraiser for the Monroe County Cancer Supporters. The Jack and Jill Tournament started in 2009. Since then, the Monroe County Cancer Supporters have received more than $74,000.

The Eastern Missouri Crappie Club obtained 20 sponsors this year, and some 140 men and women who paid an entry fee of $50 and there were dozens of donations for a huge auction that followed the fishing competition.

Martens said the tournament was inspired by two leaders of the club who were diagnosed with cancer, John Meyer and Deb Sosinski, both of whom have since passed away from the disease.

“We started the tournament at 154 Marine but as it grew, we moved here to the Paris Fairgrounds,” Martens said.

For the Monroe County Cancer Supporters, the Jack and Jill Memorial Cancer Benefit Tournament is vital to its efforts to support cancer patients in Monroe County. It has gained national notice as model organization.

Last month, the group announced that it had provided support for to the 300th patient since its inception, with more than $378,000. Gary Yager, president of the organization, said that six more people have been added since early July, bringing the total to 306. The Jack and Jill Tournament provides about one-third of the Monroe County Cancer Supporters budget

“This tournament is important for us,” Yager said, adding that the organization turned out 16 volunteers to help stage the tournament.