11 of this year’s 12 Polar Plunges are officially in the books! With La Crosse, the original Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Wisconsin, celebrating its 20th annual Plunge this upcoming weekend, it should make for the perfect icing on the cake of what has already been an historic and memorable Polar Plunge season.
2018 may ultimately be remembered as the first year the Green Bay Polar Plunge took place at Lambeau Field, but this Plunge season also included unprecedented celebrity support and participation. Green Bay Packers running back Ty Montgomery plunged in the Green Bay Plunge, which was certainly fitting given the new location. Pro football players from the Green Bay Blizzard pro indoor team also took the Plunge and gave out vouchers to their home opener for the following day.
Popular comedian Charlie Berens of the Manitowoc Minute web series also plunged in the Green Bay Plunge. He and his “Keep ‘er movin’” team of fans raised more than $2,000 for SOWI!
A week earlier and 50 miles down the 41, former Badger basketball legend and Wisconsin Mr. Basketball Brian Butch took the Oshkosh Polar Plunge with several members of Team Wisconsin basketball for the 2018 USA Games. Now as an assistant coach for the Wisconsin Herd, Butch brought along the Herd’s mascot, Pointer, to celebrate the Plunge and the members of Team Wisconsin.
Several local newscasters plunged in support of SOWI’s 10,000 athletes. For the third year in a row, TMJ4 anchor Vince Vitrano out of Milwaukee took the Plunge. He also raised a whopping $6,254! In Madison, after emceeing the Plunge, WISC News 3 anchor Dannika Lewis and Q106’s Andi Brooks took the Plunge together. In Eau Claire, WEAU 13 News reporters Tajma Hall, Abigail Hantke and Brooke Schwieters took the Plunge together. In fact, Hall plunged in the midst of reporting on the event!
SOWI was also very lucky to have some amazing fundraising teams this year. Iron Order Motorcycle Club raised an astounding $20,275 for the Green Bay Plunge. Dougie’s Dunkers again did a phenomenal job, raising nearly $19,000 in Muskego.
JP Cullen, the Premier Partner for the Madison Plunge, ended up raising more than $19,000 after Mark, David and Richard Cullen generously matched a portion of their employees’ money raised. Also in Madison, Columbus High School raised more than $17,000 for SOWI.
In Wisconsin Rapids, the Wood County Sheriff’s Department and Team Trantow continued their annual friendly competition to the tune of more than $22,000 between the two. Wood County Sheriff’s Department is looking to defend its title as the highest earning law enforcement team in the state.
Many athletes from Team Wisconsin for the 2018 USA Games plunged to build support for the USA Games and demonstrate who, and what, the Plunge is really about. In Madison, bowler David Thompson plunged, while bocce player Jonathan Frank took the Plunge at the Milwaukee Zoo. Basketball players Chris Jones and Corey Ehrgott joined Brian Butch and Team Wisconsin basketball coach Chad Oeftger in Oshkosh. Bowling coach Mike Mentzel plunged at the Milwaukee Zoo while Unified Soccer coach Jim Hass took the Muskego Plunge as a member of Dougie’s Dunkers.
Another neat story was Alan Buchanan, who plunged seven times in Madison for his 70th birthday. For his last plunge he was joined by Dannika Lewis of WISC News 3 and Andi Brooks of Q106. In Eau Claire, a team of international students from UW-Eau Claire plunged to get a taste of the “Wisconsin experience.”
Lastly, SOWI athlete Adam Domino plunged for the 18th consecutive year. Considering this is the 20th year of any Polar Plunges in Wisconsin, he just may hold the record for consecutive Polar Plunges for Special Olympics Wisconsin. Great job, Adam! And great job to everyone who plunged around the state!