Rochester gears up for the Polar Plunge

Rochester gears up for the Polar Plunge
Rochester gears up for the Polar Plunge(KTTC)
Published: Feb. 9, 2023 at 9:32 AM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – The Rochester Polar Plunge presented by Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics will kick off the 2023 Polar Plunge and Super Plunge on Friday, February 10.

The Super Plungers will begin their goal for 24 plunges in 24 hours at 2 p.m. Friday.

The mass plunging event and opening ceremonies will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, February 11. All the plunges and events will happen at Foster Arend Park and beach in Rochester, just north of 37th St. NE and East River Road NE.

This year’s event will be the 22nd year of the Rochester Polar Plunge. Local law enforcement with the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office, Federal Medical Center – Rochester, and Rochester Police Department along with Special Olympics Minnesota and the Rochester Flyers Special Olympics team come together to bring this event each year on the second weekend of February.

The Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office said the average temperatures are about 20-21 degrees, but the water is always 32 degrees for the plungers.

According to OCSO, the Rochester Plunge to date has raised $3,648,438 in its previous 21 years starting in 2002 with 35 plungers raising $660 dollars. Last year the plunge raised $250,699 dollars with 639 plungers.

As of Thursday morning there are 910 plungers registered with a goal of $260,000 dollars for 2023. In 2018 the plunge hosted a record of 1108 determined plungers. The record fundraising year was 2020, right before COVID-19, with only 896 plungers raising $294,313 dollars.

Typically, Rochester has the highest per plunger fundraising rates and ranks second or third to the huge Minneapolis plunge annually in Minnesota.

Minnesota law enforcement is hosting 22 plunges this year with Special Olympics Minnesota starting the last weekend of January in Mound, White Bear Lake and Willmar/Spicer and ending in early May in Roseau. More information about the statewide plunges can be seen here.

Minnesota Law Enforcement Torch via the Plunge and other fundraisers throughout the year support the activities and events that Special Olympics athletes participate in year-round.

The Rochester Flyers Special Olympics team has over 300 athletes and countless volunteers and coaches who help the Flyers compete in sports from swimming and basketball to bowling, bocce, golf, track/field, and many more.

2023 Rochester Polar Plunge schedule Friday, February 10 Foster Arend Park and Beach

  • 8 a.m. - Final Preparations including opening the plunger hole by the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team
  • 2 p.m. - Super Plungers begin plunging
  • 4 – 6 p.m. - Pre-registration and check in parking lot Registration Tent
  • 6:20 – 6:40 p.m. – Saturday Volunteer teams plunge (6:20 p.m. - RCTC Law Enforcement Skills Team; 6:25 p.m. - Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office Team; 6:30 p.m. – Whistle Binkies Olde World Pub team; 6:40 p.m. – Sheriff’s Office/Rochester PD ERU (SWAT) Team)
  • 7 p.m. – Super Plungers resume
  • 8 p.m. – Super Plungers resume

2023 Rochester Polar Plunge schedule Saturday, February 11 Foster Arend Park and Beach

  • 9 a.m. – Plunger Hole R-opened by the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team
  • 10 a.m. – Day of Registration and Plunger check in resumes
  • 11:30 a.m. – Plungers are prepared
  • 11:45 a.m. – Opening Ceremonies
  • 12:00 pm – Plunging begins in the approximate order: Super Plungers, The Plunging Sheriffs – Sheriff Kevin Torgerson – Olmsted County SO, Sheriff Lon Thiele – Steele County SO, Sheriff Scott Rose – Dodge County SO, and Sheriff Steve Sandvik – Mower County SO., Federal Medical Center Rochester – “The Frosty Feds”, Rochester Flyers Special Olympics Team, Other Special Olympics Teams and friends, Olmsted County Attorney’s Office, Dodge/Olmsted Community Corrections, followed by more than 850 more plungers.

Plunging usually lasts about an hour and a half to two hours ending around 2 p.m.