Participants needed for annual polar plunge

The polar plunge will start at 11 a.m. Jan. 14 at Farmington Lake

Hannah Grover
Members of the "We Are Torch Run" group, represented by members of the Farmington Police Department, take the first jump into a pool during the annual Polar Plunge on Jan. 18, 2014, at the Farmington Recreation Center's parking lot.

FARMINGTON — The Law Enforcement Torch Run is looking for participants to "plunge" into cold water as part of an annual fundraiser.

The polar plunge started in 2012 at the Farmington Recreation Center. In the past, participants plunged into a small swimming pool filled with icy water. This year, the fundraiser has been moved to a new location at Farmington Lake, and participants will "plunge" into the lake, rather than a pool.

The plunge is scheduled for 11 a.m. Jan. 14 at the beach area of the lake.

Organizer Shawn Archuleta said the Law Enforcement Torch Run has wanted to do the plunge at Farmington Lake for years, but swimming was not allowed at the lake.

The city of Farmington approved opening a portion of the lake for summer swimming last year. Because the swimming area has already been set up, the polar plunge will take place in that portion of the lake. Archuleta said having it at the lake will make it more like what many people picture when they think about polar plunges.

Each participant must raise $100 for Special Olympics New Mexico. Children who are 10 years old or younger and want to participate may enter the polar plunge if they raise $50. People who do not want to "plunge" into the lake can still raise money and participate as a "chicken."

Mary Lee Smith and the "Penguin Plungers," a group comprised of members from the Farmington Public Library and the Bureau of Land Management, chicken dance around the pool during the annual Polar Plunge on Jan. 18, 2014, at the Farmington Recreation Center's parking lot.

People or teams who participate are also encouraged to wear costumes. Prizes are awarded for the best costumes and for the most money raised. Archuleta said the Farmington Public Library often organizes a group of participants who attend dressed as penguins.

"They'd waddle up to the pool like penguins," she said.

Archuleta said the costumes are one highlight of the event.

"That's always fun to see the people and how they dress up," she said.

Participants can bring their registration to the lake on the day of the event. Information about the polar plunge is available on the Four Corners Law Enforcement Torch Run's Facebook page or by calling organizers Archuleta at 505-860-7620 or Jenny Dennis 505-320-8379.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.