By BOB GIBBINS
A large group of northeast Oklahoma residents braved temperatures in the 30s Saturday to raise money for Special Olympics.
Arrowhead Resort served as a host and sponsor for the 12th Annual Polar Plunge. “Plungers” ranged in age from 6 to 66, and raised $10,108.11. A silent auction raised another $378, with folks bidding on items ranging from chocolate chip brownies to a football autographed by former OU and Dallas Cowboys coach Barry Switzer.
The resort has served as host and sponsor of Tahlequah’s Polar Plunge for several years.
“We appreciate everyone showing up today to plunge and raise money for Special Olympics,” said emcee Todd Enlow. “We also want to thank all of the sponsors and Arrowhead Resort for hosting and sponsoring today’s event.”
Derek Cain, representing Oklahoma Special Olympics, said Polar Plunge started 12 years ago in conjunction with the Law Enforcement Torch Run and raised $8,000. Last year’s event garnered $250,000 for Special Olympics, he said.
Ten plunges are being held in Oklahoma this year. Several cities, including Oklahoma City, Norman, Stillwater, McAlester and Bartlesville, have already held events. Tulsa joined Tahlequah Saturday in hosting a Polar Plunge event.
Enlow said Pauls Valley will host a plunge on March 2 and Seminole will have its Polar Plunge on March 23..
The majority of the groups “plunging” into the frigid Illinois River were from Cherokee County, but one group from Okmulgee made the trek to Arrowhead Resort.
The Cherokee Nation Marshal Service, traditionally a strong participant in the Polar Plunge, had one of the biggest participating groups and raised $3,020.60 of the total raised locally. CNMS received a plaque for its efforts and leading the law enforcement fundraising effort.
Danny Tanner, of the marshal service, was recognized as the top individual fundraiser.
Custom Crafted Log Homes was the top fundraising group, bringing in slightly more than the group representing Tahlequah Public Schools. Both groups raised more than $1,800 each.
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