Middle of Nowhere Polar Plunge Draws 65 Plungers and Huge Crowd of Spectators and Donors


December 5, 2018

Georgie Kulczyk / The Courier

Middle of Nowhere Polar Plunge event organizers Glasgow Police Officer Tim Fischer (l) and Undersheriff Alex Esteves take their turn plunging into the frigid waters at Saturday's event.



The Middle of Nowhere Polar Plunge, held Dec. 1 and put on by the Glasgow Police Department and the Valley County Sheriff's Office, saw a huge crowd of over 250 people to watch 66 brave Northeast Montanans dive into a pool of frigid water to support Special Olympics Montana. The crowd came out despite a fresh dusting of powder that totaled in the multiple inches and reports of below-freezing temperatures.

In all, the event surpassed their goal of raising $15,000 with a grand total of over $16,500. The law enforcement team the "Hawaii 5-0s" raised the most out of any team with a total contribution of over $2,500, according to event organizers Officer Tim Fischer, with the GPD, and Valley County Undersheriff Alex Esteves.

The best dressed award for the best costume went to Steve Cox who plunged dressed as a snowman. The top cool school went to Glasgow Middle School who beat out Glasgow High School in total money raised. The Glasgow Middle School also raised enough money to shave Will Larsen and Nate Doornek's beards into any design they wanted.

The plunge was a high-energy community involved event that saw fun, entertainment and a great crowd. Music was donated by Chris Pippen, who provided his DJ services pro-bono, with food and drinks served by S and K Mini Donuts. The plunge kicked off with the Special Olympics Athlete Oath and a moment of silence. Present were athletes from Valley County and the Special Olympics Athlete of the Year Jamie Darko, from Great Falls, who appeared dressed as the "Baconator"made his 31st plunge in the Middle of Nowhere.

Willie Winder crowdsourced literally at the event to meet his goal of raising $1,000 and in return ended up spending two minutes total time in the pool. Other spectacles included principles Brett Huntsman and Mike Zoanni who jumped in wearing their business attire after losing their challenges to the students to fundraise for the event.

Even volunteers Chuck Barstad and Rod Karst ended up diving into the frigid bath after an apparent administrative "mistake" lead to Karst's name being called and his immediate refusal to participate was quelled by Barstad agreeing to enter the pool with him and the crowd's spontaneously erupting into a slow chant of his name. "They were really great sports about it," said Esteves about Karst and Barstad after the fact.

"I was blown away by the show of support," said Esteves, "Not only from people being there in person but also by the monetary and in-kind donations from individuals and local businesses. And, of course, events like this wouldn't be possible without the help of volunteers."

Esteves pointed out that there were too many people who assisted to thank directly but wanted to recognize the support of the Valley County Search and Rescue who spent the entire plunge in wetsuits in the frigid water. He also thanked the crew of the Stat Air Ambulance Service, the Glasgow and Long Run Fire Departments, the principles, Huntsman and Zoanni, for their openness to and participation in the event as well as Alex Partridge for being "gung-ho" in getting the middle school involved in the event. Esteves also thanked key volunteers Karst, Barstad and Michelle Elliason. Esteves is gracious to the Glasgow Recreation Department and the City of Glasgow for their support and use of their facilities.

Fischer had the following to say about the event: "I was blown away by the Community support this year. The involvement of the schools was absolutely amazing. We had area Special Olympic athletes and athletes feom around the state jump with us. I had an absolute blast and thank you to our sponsors and all the participants and spectators."

Planning has begun on the Law Enforcement Torch Run and the Northeast Montana Area Games which will take place in May. If you are interested in volunteering, running or biking during those events contact Fischer, Esteves or Milk River's Michelle Elliason for details.

Georgie Kulczyk / The Courier

Special Olympics Athlete of the Year Jamie Darko, of Great Falls, a.k.a. "The Baconator," braved the cold weather to make his way up to Glasgow and plunge in the Middle of Nowhere. This was Darko's 31st plunge.


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