Members of Team We Are Torch Run, represented by members of the Farmington Police Department, take the first jump into a pool during the annual Polar
Members of Team We Are Torch Run, represented by members of the Farmington Police Department, take the first jump into a pool during the annual Polar Plunge on Saturday at the Farmington Recreation Center parking lot. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)
FARMINGTON — A crowd gathered around an inflatable pool on Saturday for the annual Polar Plunge.

 

The first team, We Are Torch Run, walked up the steps onto a metal platform as the audience cheered and began to count down.

Then, the team leapt from the platform into the liquid below.

The third annual Polar Plunge fundraiser had begun.

The Farmington Police Department and the Four Corners Law Enforcement Torch Run hosted the event, which raised more than $6,600 in pledges for San Juan County Special Olympics.

Four teams and eight people participated in the plunge. Each participant was required to raise at least $100.

Dustin Coco rallies the crowed before jumping into a pool during the annual Polar Plunge on Saturday at the Farmington Recreation Center parking lot. Coco
Dustin Coco rallies the crowed before jumping into a pool during the annual Polar Plunge on Saturday at the Farmington Recreation Center parking lot. Coco is a staff sergeant with the U.S. Marine Corps. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)

Still dripping from their plunge, members of the Farmington Professional Firefighters Association handed a check for $1,000 to the Special Olympians after emerging from the pool.

"For more than a decade, we've been involved in Special Olympics," said Jason Appleton, the association's president.

The association has helped with fundraising, and its members volunteered during the Special Olympics. During that time, Appleton said they have gotten to know the athletes.

"We have developed relationships with all of them," he said.

The $1,000 donation was the third highest group contribution, behind We Are Torch Run's $1,654, and the Penguin Plungers' $1,584.

Tamara Faust, a member of the Penguin Plungers team, plunged for the first time this year. She watched her friend and co-worker take the plunge last year and thought it looked fun.

"It's always a lot of fun, and it's for a good cause, which is the most important thing," Faust said.

The Penguin Plungers, which included staff from the Farmington Public Library and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, not only received recognition for donating more than $1,500, but they also earned first place in the group costume contest after dressing as penguins and dancing around the pool before jumping in.

The event also spawned some friendly competition.

When Steve and Diana Rogge read about the competition in the newspaper, they contacted area military recruiters and asked them to participate.

Staff Sgt. Dustin Coco, the local recruiter for the U.S. Marines Corps, showed up wearing a tutu and flippers on his feet.

While other military branches also donated to the cause, Coco was the one who took the plunge.

"The Marine Corps has a lot of pride in what we do," he said.

He said participating in the plunge was a way to give back to the community.

Coco's costume won him first place in the individual costume contest while his friend, Steve Rogge, took second place.

Rogge's wife and daughter found his costume at Goodwill.

Mary Lee Smith and the Penguin Plungers, a group comprised of staff from the Farmington Public Library and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, chicken
Mary Lee Smith and the Penguin Plungers, a group comprised of staff from the Farmington Public Library and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, chicken dance around the pool during the annual Polar Plunge on Saturday at the Farmington Recreation Center parking lot. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)

"Our inspiration was Ron Burgundy," said his wife, Diana Rogge, referring to the main character in the comedy, "Anchorman," starring Will Ferrell.

She found a yellow blazer, and Steve Rogge dressed as the 1970s weatherman.

The family shot video of Steve Rogge jumping into the pool and plans to post it on YouTube so their children, who are serving in the military, can see it. The Rogges have a daughter in Afghanistan and a son at Fort Campbell, Ky.

"I did it for my kids in the military," said Steve Rogge of his plunge.

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.