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story.lead_photo.caption Fire Chief Matt Schofield, right, is hosed down by Darren Reuter after taking the polar plunge Wednesday during the Power Hour Plunge Fundraiser downtown. Proceeds benefit Special Olympics Missouri. Photo by Mark Wilson / News Tribune.

Despite the near-freezing temperatures, eight local leaders and residents gathered in Jefferson City Wednesday evening in costumes to run through a hazmat shower for the second Power Hour Plunge.

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Each individual plunger was asked to raise $500 to participate in the event. The funds raised from the event will help nearly 2,400 Special Olympics Missouri athletes in the central area with training and competition.

As of Wednesday night, the eight plungers raised about $5,000. Last year's event raised approximately $10,000, SOMO Plunge Regional Development Director Kami Delameter said.

She added event organizers won't know the final fundraiser amount this year until later this week since some donations trickle in after the event.

Derek Sandbothe, Special Olympics athlete and plunger, did the polar plunge at the Lake of the Ozarks for about five years and wanted to take part in Jefferson City's event. He added this is another way he can support SOMO.

"It's absolutely incredible what our athletes can do and to be able to be on the spectator side of things, watching our athletes in their sports is absolutely mind blowing," he said. "You can see and feel what our athletes are really doing. It's incredible what we've been able to accomplish."

While plunge participants from other cities typically jump in pools or lakes, event co-chairs Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin and Cole County Sheriff John Wheeler thought the hazmat shower added a special twist to the idea and brought the community together.

Both co-chairs said they hope this event will encourage other cities to do mobile plunges.

"This is certainly something that we would encourage other cities to think about because really anyone can get together and show support and run through freezing cold water and have some fun," Tergin said.

The Power Hour Plunge in Jefferson City is the "first official party of winter" and kickoff of plunge season, Delameter said. SOMO will host about 11 plunge events across Missouri between January and March.

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