Rochester's Polar Bear Plunge - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Rochester's Polar Bear Plunge

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Hundreds of people braved the cold water and freezing temperatures to participate in Rochester's Polar Bear Plunge 2013.  Teams have prepared for weeks to participate in the Winterfest event.

"Oh my gosh. At first, when you jump in you don't really feel it, but then when you come up for air it hits you and it's just shocking," said Brittney Dahlen of Rochester.

The feeling was shared by many who jumped from the platform.

"Lucky they have hot tubs," said Ted Reyaz of Rochester.  "You wouldn't make it to the tent. You'd just be frozen."

The event, held across the state throughout the winter months, helps Minnesota law enforcement officers raise thousands of dollars for Special Olympics Minnesota.  The organization provides sports training and competitions year-round to children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

"I think Special Olympics is a really great organization," said Stephanie Pasch.  Pasch volunteers her time as a swim coach with Special Olympics. 

"It gives those who maybe aren't as able as you or me the chance to compete and makes them feel special. I think that's really great," said Pasch.

The event wasn't just about raising money, for some it was an opportunity to show off their creativity.

"There are so many people here with weird costumes," said Lanny Tippetts.  "I can't imagine anyone not coming out during Winterfest--it's just a blast."

KTTC's very own also dared the dive.  Reporter Brie Groves; producers Ben Chambers and Stephen Rydberg; Digital Sales Specialist Terri Ebling, and Production Assistant Steve Johnson, all took the plunge.  According to the Polar Bear Plunge website, more than one million dollars has been raised at this year's plunge events across the state.

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