2018 Penguin Plunge set for Saturday, March 17

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Once again it is “Freezin for a Reason” time, Penguin Plunge 2018 — the event that supports Special Olympics and is simply a lot of fun to watch. Sheriff Kramer has promised the icy bits in the Kootenai River will be small.

Support for this year’s Plunge includes a fabulous group of Judges, including U.S. Olympic Athlete Rebecca Dussault, who competed in the 2006 Olympic Games in Italy and 2010 was a World Champion; County Commissioner Dan Dinning and Dennis Dinning (the Dinning Duo); Kootenai Tribe Chairman Gary Aitken; Bonners Ferry City Council President Rick Alonzo; and other possibilities to be announced.

Teams from various groups like the Distinguished Young Women, student groups, fire and rescue, first responders, faith-based and teams from various offices will be competing to impress the judges for the coveted awards and certificates in a bunch of categories.

Richard Cowell will be at Super 1 Foods on March 9-10 with some help from the Law Enforcement Explorers to sell the 50/50 drawing Penguins, where if your Penguin is plucked out of a pool of water at the event you win half of the drawing funds.

North Idaho Spas will provide a nice big hot tub for the plungers to dip in and warm up after their chilly jump.

Helping hands from Naples will be serving up hot dogs or chili dogs along with other snacks and warm coffee to help with the warming. We appreciate the businesses that have contributed to the food for the event.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary will provide a table with handouts about safe boating and Anita Denning will be hosting a silent auction table with various donated items for attendees to explore.

Music, fun and frolic as the festivities start with 11 a.m. sign up. Jumpers and judges will be interviewed in teams and singles which is always a hoot followed by the jump at noon. The Sheriff’s jet boat with divers will be there to assist anyone who needs assistance in the water, along with Search and Rescue volunteers.

Judge Rebecca Dussault’s passion for sport runs deep. She is a 2006 Winter Olympian for the United States’ cross country ski team. She has competed in the World Championships of four different sports on three continents. Besides being a world class multi-sport athlete she is also a wife and a mother to five sporty children. Rebecca carries her enthusiasm not only into the arena of athletics, but also inspires and challenges people to commitment, hard work, values and service to others.

In 2010 Rebecca went on to become the first non-European ever to win the Winter Triathlon World Championships. As World Champion she had to sing the U.S. National Anthem from the top of the podium herself as the organizers didn’t have a soundtrack for lack of expecting an American athlete would ever win.

Rebecca is grateful for the opportunity to be here and wishes the best of luck to all competitors here and most especially at the Special Olympics!

Come out and support Special Olympics and the community as a jumper, or as a spectator. Let’s make 2018 “Freezin for a Reason” an event to remember. What a great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, put on some green and come join us.

— Public Information Officer Michael Meier

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