Taking the plunge to raise funds for Special Olympics - KXLT - Fox 47 Rochester MN News, Weather, Sports #rochmn

Taking the plunge to raise funds for Special Olympics

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -

The Polar Plunge is back in Rochester this weekend. 

The event is just one of 22 Polar Plunge events throughout the state to raise money for the Special Olympics. 

"It's one of our main fundraising events for the Special Olympics, last year it raised just over 4 million dollars," said Special Olympics Minnesota Event Coordinator, Joe Zander. "It's about 80% of our annual revenue of our gross budget. So what this does is it provides any programming, support, scholarships, and any type of athletic equipment. It just helps us go out and help our athletes throughout the state be able to support them and be able to participate in athletics."

This is the 16th time this event has taken place in Rochester 

"We're creeping very close to our record number of plungers," said Olmsted County Sheriff, Kevin Torgerson. "We're hoping to get a thousand. Last I checked it was 980. So we only need 20 more people and we'll get a record. We've been looking towards getting to a thousand for many, many years and right a long with that we'll have a record number of dollars coming in."

Each plunger is required to raise at least $75. 

Right now Law Enforcement and the Special Olympics Minnesota is preparing everything for the more than one thousand jumpers who will take the plunge. 

"Nature has a lot to play with it," said Torgerson. "You know the weather has been kinda iffy this year as far as making good ice. We have a good amount of ice out there, 12-14 inches which is plenty good where the people out there will be jumping from. Getting out there we have to play with that a little bit because there's a gap in the ice but other than that it's just working with the weather."
 
This year the weather may be a little more forgiving for plungers than years past. 

"It's gonna be about 40 degrees it looks like," said Zander."It's really quick, you jump in, you get a little cold rush, it wakes you up a little bit and you run right out. We put you in a warming tent, we have a warm tunnel too. We dry you off really quickly." 

Torgerson has jumped more than 130 times, and he says it's not that bad. 

"Every year that first one is like, 'okay, I can remember what that's like,'" said Torgerson. "I'll plunge probably two more times tonight, maybe more, and then again on Saturday. Each time, yeah it's cold, but you keep moving and you know that there's heat not too far into the horizon and you'll get warmed back up and have a lot of fun with your friends." 

The Polar Plunge is this Saturday, February 11, 2017. 

Plunging begins at 1:30pm at Foster Arend Park 

For more information, click here.

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