With the air temperature a little warmer than in past years, but still a chilly 40 degrees, the Salina Polar Plunge lived up to its name on Saturday. A group of hearty volunteers took an icy dip as a large group of well-wishes cheered them on.
The Salina Polar Plunge event to help support Kansas Special Olympics was held at GreatLIFE Golf and Fitness in Salina.
The event featured an entire morning of activities, including a “Polar 5k” run. Runners, ranging in age from 9-years-old to 74-years-old competed on a unique course which circled around the GreatLIFE golf course.
The main event of the day was a plunge into a freezing cold, giant tank of water, Salina Fire and EMS were standing by as a precaution as over 30 volunteers took the plunge, into a large the large tank of water, which for good measure had several buckets of ice added to it at the last second.
Each person who took the plunge was motivated by donations from friends and family. Many were dressed in colorful costumes, to the delight of the crowd.
Prior to the plunge there was a costume contest, where awards were given for best individual and best group costumes. Awards for most money raised by an individual, most money raised by a team, and largest team were also handed out.
Ryan Batchman, a 6th grade teacher in Sylvan Grove, raised the most money individually. With the help of his students he raised over $500. Batchman jumps on behalf of his students. They help him raise funds, and in return he wears a costume which they design. Last year he was President Donald Trump. This year he was “Lego Batman”. Along with raising the most money as an individual Batchman also won the award for best individual costume.
A team from Salina South High School, the “Super Cougars” raised the most money, around $1,400, following closely by the Salina Police Department team. The “Super Cougars” also won best group costume.
Salina rookie police officer Jenna Van Leer, who was wearing her regular daily gear, felt inspired to join in the effort. She stripped off her heavy gear and jumped in, uniform and all, as the crowd cheered her on.
Organizer Dani Lemon told KSAL News she anticipated the event Saturday would raise around $10,000. All proceeds from the Polar Plunge go to benefit Kansas Special Olympics.
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