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Polar Plunge for Special Olympics makes a splash at The Depot in Billings

Posted at 11:02 PM, Dec 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-07 01:02:07-05

BILLINGS — People are always encouraged to "take the plunge" whether into a new business venture, or a new relationship.

In downtown Billings Friday night, it was a really cold plunge, for a really cool cause.

The idea of paying to jump into frozen water may not be most people’s idea of fun, but that’s exactly what happened at the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics at The Depot.

"Great community support for Special Olympics. This is the Polar Plunge," Billings Police Department Chief Rich St. John said.

The plunge was kicked off by the lighting of the torch from a Special Olympics athlete and St. John.

"It's a great honor, very humbled to be asked to do the torch with one of the athletes," St. John said, "Any time you present the torch, it signifies that Special Olympics season is here. And so when you get to do that, very, very special,".

Across the state of Montana, 12 polar plunges are held each year.

For Billings, the event was held at a new location at the Billings Depot.

"Kinda why we moved it down here is we wanted to get more people around, more people to see what's going on, more people to ask questions," Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Assistant Director Kevin Evans said.

Plungers must raise a pledge amount, and are encouraged to build teams.

The plunge involves costumes, freezing water, continuously added ice bags, and a post jump hot-tub.

This year 21 teams participated, and over $22,000 was raised.

"It's a fund-raising event, but what we're trying to do is spread awareness about Special Olympics, we've had a lot of athletes that have jumped in," Evans said, "So we get them involved and we just look for inclusion in the community.

"It was very cold, there's no lying, it was frosty to say the least," he added.

So whether you took the plunge or stayed home, bundled up cozy and warm, the Special Olympics athletes' oath gives us all something to live by.

"Let me win.
But if I cannot win,
let me be brave in the attempt."

To see the smiles, and the appreciation when the medals were hung around their neck was a wonderful thing for organizers.

"I know for all of us in the Law Enforcement Torch Run, they're our inspiration, they're like family. You get to know them, and they're just like family. They inspire us to do these things so that's why we do it," Evans said.

St. John didn't take the plunge so that he could help supervise his officers who *did hit the water.

Or so he says.