Polar Plunge for Special Olympics makes a big splash; STGnews Videocast, Photo Gallery

Members from the St. George City Fire Department plunge into the icy water at St. George City Pool, St. George, Utah, Feb. 22, 2014 | Photo by Amber Green, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – An array of people, some with capes draping from their shoulders and others wearing neon wigs and hula skirts, conversed with friends and family over breakfast at St. George City Pool. Their time was short; however, as they awaited their moment to plunge the depths of ice-ridden water.

The second annual St. George City Polar Plunge will most likely be remembered for its funky costumes and contagious energy. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Chic-fil-A and Einstein’s Bros Bagels provided a free pancake breakfast for the plungers and those who came to cheer them on.

Just before 11 a.m., volunteers emptied two tons of ice into the pool and around 75 people took the plunge.

St. George Mayor Jon Pike volunteered to jump first. Inspired, he plunged a second time spreading his arms and allowing his body to slap against the water in a belly flop.

It feels good to support this cause,” Pike said.

Story continues below

Videocast by Amber Green, St. George News

 

Wendy Ludlow jumped with six other people as part of the “Wishing Welles” team, named for Welles Peterson who was born on Sept. 11, 2013, with Down syndrome. This was the second Polar Plunge her family has participated in, the first was a few years ago in Minnesota. Back then they huddled in hot houses before jumping into a hole that was cut through the ice unveiling 35 below zero waters, Ludlow said.

St. George News Assistant Editor, Mori Kessler, dressed in a Japanese-themed costume, bowed and threw his hat before diving in.

“I soared with the grace of a brick crashing through a window,” Kessler said.

Special Olympian Steve Montgomery, with the “Turn Lightning” team from Cedar City recently won four medals in snowshoeing, one gold, one silver and two bronze.

“I am an athlete,” Montgomery said. “I met the mayor, he did the plunge, two I think, and also there are a lot of sponsors I like, like this,” he said, holding up a Chick-fil-A sandwich, then a Maverik cup and then a Root Sports bottle emblazoned with the Utah Jazz logo.

Linda Pate was triple layered with a thick green plaid jacket, over a sweatshirt, over a Polar Plunge T-shirt that she said she got for taking the plunge. Pate jumped in with a group of “Turn Lightning.”

“I dived with three other people,” Pate said, “I dived in – belly smacked.”

Pate has been working hard to raise sponsorship money, she said she raised $40 from friends, neighbors and the pet store grooming, to sponsor her in the Polar Plunge

The Polar Plunge is a nationwide event that sponsors around 650 athletes with special needs in Utah and helps to provide funding for the Special Olympics.

Special Olympics Utah Regional Program Manager, Janie Belliston, partnered with St. George Police Officers Jeremy Needles and Lona Trombley to start a Polar Plunge in St. George last year for the first time, Belliston said.

“We were able to raise just under $13,000,” Belliston said. “I feel like this year was more successful than last year because of how much more support we got from the community.”

Einstein Bros Bagels donated bagels and coffee and Chic-fil-A donated hot breakfast sandwiches. Sponsors for Polar Plunge included Harmon’s, Walmart, St. George Dealer Collision Center, St. George Lion’s Club and Simmons Media.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery. 

St. George News Editor-in-Chief Joyce Kuzmanic and Photojournalist Amber Green contributed to this report.

Related posts:

Email: astoddard@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

Members from the St. George City Fire Department plunge into the icy water at St. George City Pool, St. George, Utah, Feb. 22, 2014 | Photo by Amber Green, St. George News
Members from the St. George City Fire Department plunge into the icy water at St. George City Pool, St. George, Utah, Feb. 22, 2014 | Photo by Amber Green, St. George News

 

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

2 Comments

  • Dan Lester February 22, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    I bet that when the Welles team did a plunge in Minnesota the AIR temperature was 35 below, but the water temperature sure wasn’t.

  • Steven James Montgomery February 24, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    I like it.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.