BILLINGS - Jumping in the ice-cold water in the dead of winter may not be on your bucket list, but perhaps it should be. Money raised during the Law Enforcement Torch Run’s annual Polar Plunge fundraiser goes directly to Special Olympics Montana. The 2022 goal for the Billings area is $38,000, while the state expects to raise a total of $350,000 with 13 separate Polar Plunge events.
“Anybody that wants to plunge in the water with us can. They just have to sign up,” says Kevin Evans, Law Enforcement Torch Run assistant director.
The Billings area Polar Plunge is set for Saturday, Dec. 10, at 2 p.m. in the REI parking lot at 711 Henry Chapple St. near the corner of King Avenue West and Shiloh Road. Anyone can participate by taking the plunge, pledging money or cheering on participants.
“It's really an incredible organization, and it’s definitely changed my life,” says Anna Vanderwende, Special Olympics Montana athlete.
Vanderwende is a returning athlete, competing in multiple sports. She’ll be joining in on the frigid fun herself and she hopes the public does too so the athletes can travel to the state competition in Bozeman this May at no cost to them.
“It's really cool to meet all sorts of people all over the state and compete in different kinds of events, and they not only become friends they become more of a family,” says Vanderwende. “You not only get to learn things about yourself that you may not have thought you would be good at, for instance, you look at me and say, clearly she’s not a runner, but I slay at the basketball court.”
MTN’s Casey Conlon is ditching his suit jacket for a swimsuit to take the plunge. If you want to make his or anyone’s water a little colder, you can and it's all for the cause, you can donate to Casey’s team here.
“We will have bags of ice, so if you have someone who’s jumping in and you want to make it a little colder, you can buy bags of ice,” says Evans. To sign up or support a participant, visit Special Olympics Montana’s website.