Polar Plunge draws 654 to frigid Lake of the Ozarks

Members of the Jefferson City Correctional Center's team take their plunge into the 34-degree Lake of the Ozarks at the Special Olympics' 19th Annual Polar Plunge on Saturday.

Members of the Jefferson City Correctional Center's team take their plunge into the 34-degree Lake of the Ozarks at the Special Olympics' 19th Annual Polar Plunge on Saturday. Photo by Rebecca Martin.

The Lake of the Ozarks was a chilly 34 degrees for Saturday’s 19th Annual Polar Plunge, but that didn’t seem to faze the record 654 who took the plunge into the frigid water at Lake of the Ozarks Public Beach No. 2.

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A team hailing from Blair Oaks School District braved the cold water at the 19th Annual Polar Plunge.

The participating teams had raised $117,000 for Special Olympics of Missouri going into Saturday’s event. The morning’s Polar Bear Strut 5K brought in $12,000 on its own; and the “super plungers,” who plunged into the lake 24 times in the 24 hours leading up to the event, raised more than ever at $35,000. Each plunger raised a minimum of $75 to participate.

In addition to watching the plungers show off their bravery, part of the event’s draw is viewing the participants’ attire. This year’s teams didn’t disappoint, with costumes such as the minions of “Despicable Me,” the cast of “101 Dalmatians,” rock band Kiss, a cardboard box-formed game of Tetris and the appropriately named “Golden Plungers,” complete with the same toilet tool atop their heads. Three Special Olympic athletes participated in the plunge as well.

The 654 plungers surpassed this year’s goal of 600 as well as the former record of 615 set in 2012. This year’s Polar Plunge was hosted by the City of Osage Beach and Osage Beach Police Department.

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