Second annual polar bear plunge planned for New Year's Day at Lake Farmington

Event will benefit Sexual Assault Services of Northwest New Mexico

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Farmington businessman Dave Dailey and several of his buddies have plans to ring in the new year by going for a brisk swim at Lake Farmington. They’d like you to join them.

Dailey, a local real estate agent and business sales coach, is the organizer of the second annual Dave and Friends Polar Bear Plunge on Sunday, Jan. 1. Participants will begin gathering at 11:30 a.m. at the lake, then head for the water at noon.

Each swimmer is asked to make a $20 donation to Sexual Assault Services of Northwest New Mexico, a Farmington-based nonprofit organization that helps residents of the region overcome sexual assault situations through counseling, rape crisis advocacy and sexual assault nurse exams.

The event was initiated on New Year’s Day 2022, when Dailey and approximately five dozen other brave souls endured brutally cold conditions and a dusting of light snow to raise money and awareness for the Four Corners Home for Children.

“Hopefully, it won’t be as cold as last year,” Dailey said last week as preparations for the event continued.

But he didn’t sound hopeful that this day at the beach was going to require anything but a great deal of intestinal fortitude. Dailey reported ruefully that the New Year’s Day forecast featured a possibility of snow.

Participants in the inaugural polar bear plunge organized by local businessman Dave Dailey splash in the frigid waters of Lake Farmington on Jan. 1.

In fact, he still sounded a little bit chilled from his first polar bear plunge. The experience was every bit as bad as he expected it to be, he said.

“Hundred percent,” he said, laughing. “But, to me, it’s a great way to start out a new year.”

Dailey’s ordeal during the inaugural event didn’t end with his swim. He recalled that many of the motorists who attended the plunge got stuck at the bottom of an icy hill near the beach, and Dailey had to push them out.

“Everybody thought it was funny,” he said.

The feedback he got from those who took part a year ago was overwhelmingly positive, he said.

Organizers Dave Dailey is hoping for better weather for his 2023 polar bear plunge fundraiser at Lake Farmington on New Year's Day, as the inaugural event was held under frigid conditions.

“Everybody that plunged had a great time,” he said. “This year, some people are challenging others to see who can stay in (the water) longer.”

Dailey said he hopes to generate $2,000 in donations for Sexual Assault Services of Northwest New Mexico, and he said even those who can’t bear to take part in the plunge are still welcome to make a donation in the spirit of the event by visiting Sandstone Cycles in Farmington or the Heavy Burgers food truck to do so.

The folks from Heavy Burgers also will be present at the plunge to sell breakfast burritos, coffee and hot chocolate.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 Support local journalism with a digital subscription: