Among the crowd on the Hannibal riverfront Saturday watching the third annual Polar Plunge was Barry Louderman, Fourth Ward city councilman.
Why was Louderman just spectating?
“I’m too old to go into that (river). I sent my son (Nick) instead,” said Louderman. “This is awesome. I hope they keep this up every year.”
What would it take to get Louderman off dry ground and into the frigid Mississippi River?
“If he (Mayor Roy Hark) would do it, I would try to get the rest of the Council next year to do it,” said the councilman. “If we can get the rest of the Council to do it next year then maybe somebody would want to match the funds the Council raised.”
There was no doubt in Louderman’s mind who would be the toughest Council member to charge into the icy water.
“Probably Roy ... probably Roy. We’d have to convince him,” he said with a smile.
While Louderman had attended last year’s Polar Plunge, a number of people turned out for the first time to watch the Special Olympics fund-raiser.
“We just seen it advertised in the paper and on television and thought, ‘What the heck. Why not?’” said Jim Stokes of Monroe City.
“It’s something to do,” said Betty Stokes, adding it was a mutual decision to attend the event.
Another first-time spectator was Betty Wells of Hannibal.
“It’s a good cause, but I wouldn’t want to do it. It will be fun to see,” said Wells, adding she was already cold even before the first group went into the water. “We’ve never come down before. We’re going to watch and see what happens.”
Not too bothered by the cold was Amy Sternke of Hannibal.
“We’re all in at least two or three layers. It’s a balmy 21 degrees right now I believe,” she said.
Sternke was watching the event for the first time with family members.
“My son does karate for ATA Karate and his instructors are jumping in today and we wanted to see them dressed as super heroes,” she said.
Andy Dorian, director of the Hannibal Parks & Recreation Department, thought the conditions for Saturday’s plunge were “perfect.”
“It’s cold, just like it’s supposed to be. There’s a bright blue sky. You couldn’t ask for anything better,” he said. “There’s not much wind. It would be pretty brutal down here if we had some wind.”