‘Freezin’ for a Reason’

Pioneer file photo

DEADWOOD — It’s a forecasted breezy, balmy 52 degrees Saturday in Deadwood and good news: there’s still time to enter up in this year’s Freezin’ for a Reason Polar Plunge for Special Olympics to be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Outlaw Square in Deadwood, with registration beginning at 11 a.m.

The event is part of fundraising efforts for Special Olympics, done in conjunction with the Law Enforcement Torch Run. Special Olympics Polar Plunges are held across the country annually to raise awareness and this year’s plunge will help provide funds for year-round sports training and competition for more than 2,750 children and adults living with intellectual disabilities in South Dakota, at no cost to the athletes.

“Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics is the largest grass roots fundraising vehicle for Special Olympics South Dakota,” Law Enforcement Torch Run Event Manager Jill Kvanli said. “And Polar Plunges are one of the many ways that we hold fundraisers to help funds for our athletes so they can get equipment or be able to host these larger statewide events, as well, for our athletes.

Kvanli said both organizations are calling on all Spearfish, Sturgis, Deadwood, Lead, and Belle Fourche residents with daring souls and warm hearts, willing to brave the cold.

“We are having our Polar Plunge in Deadwood,” Kvanli said. “It is for, not only our athletes across the state of South Dakota, but also for our Northern Hills delegations. Delegations are kind of like teams, so it would be Lead-Deadwood, Sturgis, Belle Fourche area delegations. All the money will be split 50/50, so some will come to the state, some will go back to the athletes in the Northern Hills area … we’re really excited that Deadwood has allowed us to do it.

At the Polar Plunge, participants raise funds then jump into chilly waters to show their support for Special Olympics athletes and increase awareness for people living with intellectual disabilities in South Dakota.

Plungers set their own fundraising goals prior to the event and collect pledges in exchange for the opportunity to jump into icy waters. Each person must raise a minimum of $100. Plungers can participate individually or create a team with friends, co-workers, or classmates.

Two new things this year – pool for plunging and hoodie for participating.

“Plungers are going to be jumping into a pool this year, which is different from previous years, where they used to plunge into a lined dumpster,” Kvanli said.

As of Friday, there were 30 brave entrants set for Saturday’s plunge.

“But that usually shifts. More people end up showing up the day of,” Kvanli said. “Teams can sign up as well as individuals. They go out and fundraise and the minimum requirement is that they raise at least $100. We have limited edition Polar Plunge hoodies and those are for those that pre-registered and raised the minimum of $100. Pre-registration ended last week, but we did order extra hoodies on a first come, first serve basis. So if people want to get out and grab a Northern Hills Polar Plunge hoodie, if they didn’t sign up online, registration starts at 11 a.m. in Outlaw Square.”

Kvanli added that there are $500 scholarships available for high school and college students who participate.

“If 25 or more students take the plunge, so if we have 50 students take the plunge, we’ll be giving out two $500 scholarships,” she said. “Those will be available for any college-age or high school-aged students.”

Scholarship winners are determined via a drawing from participating names of students.

Free parking is available at the History and Information Center.

“But they will have to make sure that they get a parking pass from one of our volunteers,” Kvanli said.

To register online, go to: https://tinyurl.com/pw2sfr89 or by phone (605) 331-4117 – to register or volunteer,

Special Olympics South Dakota is a year-round program of sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. More than 2,750 athletes in more than 50 communities train and compete in over 26 Olympic-type sports. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to develop fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy as they participate in the sharing of gifts and friendship with other athletes, their families, and the community. There is no fee to participate in Special Olympics.

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