Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

February 4, 2013

Chilly but fun with big splash down

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — The plunge is sure to be chilly but a lot of fun for sure when it comes to what’s turned into an annual event in the heart of Pauls Valley.

An event that brings people together and helps a good cause is the Polar Plunge.

Efforts are already underway to recruit sponsors and people or groups of people to take the plunge in early March as this will be the third straight year for PV to host one.

This year’s Fun Country Polar Plunge, a regional event bringing together folks in the area around PV, Ada and Ardmore, again benefits the Special Olympics of Oklahoma.

“Corporate sponsorships are available until Feb. 11,” said local event coordinator Elizabeth Sam.

“All the money raised from this goes for the Special Olympics — statewide, the area and the local level,” she said.

The event will get started at 10 a.m. March 2 with registration followed an hour later with the plunging at the band shell in PV’s Wacker Park, which is the same site as a year ago.

It was last year’s second installment of the event in Pauls Valley that proved to be much bigger than 2011 thanks to a major increase in support, both in sponsorships and the number of people taking the plunge.

“It made a huge difference in making last year’s event such a success,” Sam said, referring to the sponsorships.

“We were the second largest plunge in the state behind Oklahoma City.”

A comparison between the last two plunges here shows how big a difference.

The first ever Polar Plunge in PV two years ago had 35 plungers and raised around $14,000.

The number of sponsorships and plungers went up dramatically in 2012.

Last year there were 68 people jumping into the water as about $31,000 in donations and pledges were raised.

“Corporate sponsorships made all the difference in last year’s plunge being so much bigger than the 2011 event,” she said.

“This year our goal is 75 plungers and to raise $35,000.

Sam added a couple of local sponsors last year have since joined the ranks of statewide sponsors.

The way the Polar Plunge works is people pledge money to see other individuals or groups jump into a chilly pool of water.

It not only raises money for Special Olympics but makes for a really fun time, especially with so much support.

“It’s been so much fun in Pauls Valley,” Sam said. “It’s amazing to see the town get behind this the way it does. I’ll go to other places and they’re in awe of how much support it has here.

“I’m also fortunate to have such great support from law enforcement with the Garvin County Sheriff’s Department and Pauls Valley Police Department,” she said adding other departments also jump in, literally.

Officials with both agencies have again joined in with the recruitment of corporate sponsors and other law enforcement plunge teams.

Sponsors get banners with their name put up at the plunge and at Special Olympics games in the area.

T-shirts are also available for $10 with the words “Pauls Valley Panthers Special Olympics” on the shirt.

For information on sponsorships, plunging or event T-shirts, call Elizabeth Sam at 580-465-0912.