Many of this year’s participants in the Polar Plunge were rookies. Now with one plunge under their belt, many promise they’ll be back for the Special Olympics fund-raiser in 2014.
“It was definitely a lot colder than I thought it was, but it’s for a great cause and I love doing it. I’m for sure coming back next year. I can’t wait,” said Brittni Shaw of Hannibal, adding she hopes more people will take part next year.
“I’ll for sure be back. It was a lot of fun. We’ll get the rest of our friends. It was definitely worth it,” said Jen Link of Hannibal.
“I’ll definitely be back next year. It was worth it,” said Emele Richards of Hannibal, who jumped in with Shaw and Link as a member of the Gangster Squad threesome.
“It was cold, but it was a blast,” said Trent Bauer of Hannibal. “I’ll be back.”
Bauer, who went into the river dressed as Shrek, was presented the golden plunger award for having the best costume.
“I saw a picture online and thought it would be pretty interesting to do it,” said Bauer of his green paint job.
Among those coming the furthest to plunge was Kevin Urbeck of St. Louis. A student at Culver-Stockton College, Urbeck was recruited to participate.
“The girl who came up and asked me I couldn’t tell her no, she’s too nice,” he said, adding he had help raising the $75 necessary to take part. “My parents put an e-mail out to all our family and got enough money for me to do it. It’s a good cause. It doesn’t matter how cold I get.”
So how cold was the water?
“You really didn’t notice it until you got all the way in. I ended up dunking my head under. By that point I was too cold to care any more. You went numb before you even knew it,” said Urbeck. “My (legs) locked up pretty good, so I didn’t do a whole lot of running back. I hobbled my way into the warm tent.”
“As soon as you got all the way in you kind of lose your breath. Trying to catch your breath again is the hardest part,” said Bauer.
“I was really scared at first, but it was a lot of fun,” said Link. “The hardest part was getting out of the water. My legs wouldn’t move. And then I ran to the warm tent. It was better then.”
Page 2 of 2 - “It felt like needles hitting my skin when I ran in. I knew I had to stick my head under and it would all be over soon,” said Shaw.
For Richards, the hardest part was waiting to plunge.
“I wasn’t that nervous until I got here. It was cold standing in the open air. That’s when I got scared,” she said.