Despite icy waters, hundreds participate in Annual Polar Plunge

After breaking records for both proceeds raised and number of participants last year, Special Olympics Missouri was hoping for a repeat at this year’s annual Polar Plunge event Saturday at Lake of the Ozarks State Park’s Public Beach No. 2 in Osage Beach.

Last year, 615 regular Plungers participated, and the event raised more than $223,000.

Event planner Crystal Schuster said organizers aimed to have 620 Plungers this year. Even though the final count was not confirmed Saturday, there were hundreds who attended and plunged.

This “unbearable” event is a unique opportunity to show bravery as individuals support local Special Olympics athletes by walking, running or crawling into the frigid winter waters. For regular Plunge participants, a minimum $75 pledge was required and prizes and awards were given to teams, schools, civic organizations and individuals.

In addition, the first heat of the event began with the brave handful of Super Plungers who dove into the beach’s freezing waters starting 2:30 p.m. Friday and plunged every hour until the first heat of the main event Saturday afternoon.

Plungers from across mid-Missouri including Lake of the Ozarks, Jefferson City, Moberly, Rolla and other communities took the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Missouri.

For more information, final funds raised, participants, awards and to donate to Special Olympics Missouri, visit www.somo.org/plunge and click on “Lake of the Ozarks.”

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