Polar Plunge raises money for Special Olympics

Hannah Grover

FARMINGTON — While the weather today was sunny and warm, the water in Farmington Lake remained frigid as teams plunged into the reservoir to raise money for the Special Olympics.

Erin Elledge, a member of Mountain Dental's Frozen Fairies team, exits Farmington Lake Saturday after taking part in the annual Polar Plunge,

This was the first year the Law Enforcement Torch Run's Polar Plunge occurred at Farmington Lake. In the past, the participants jumped into a pool outside the Farmington Recreation Center.

More than 30 participants representing about 10 teams participated in the event. To participate in the plunge, each person had to collect at least $100 in donations.

John Kennedy, a four-year veteran of the plunge, said the new venue is colder than the pool.

Kennedy wore a shark costume this year to participate. He said in the past he has had people in penguin costumes join him. When they decided not to participate this year, he decided to dress as a shark instead of a penguin.

"Penguins don't plunge when there's sharks in the water," he explained.

Misty Quintana, Carter Quintana and Joseph Quintana run into Farmington Lake Saturday during the Law Enforcement Torch Run's Polar Plunge in Farmington.

The Polar Plunge includes a costume contest. While Kennedy's costume was popular, the team from Mountain Dental, the Frozen Fairies, won the competition. Callie Graham, Jasmine Elkins and Erin Elledge made up the Frozen Fairies team. They said they wanted to get out into the community and raise money for a good cause.

Elkins' uncle has been participating in the Special Olympics for decades.

"When they were doing it for Special Olympics, we sort of jumped on it," she said.

Elkins said Special Olympics is important because "it gives the kids with special needs something to do."

Members of the Farmington Fire Department emerge from the water Saturday after plunging into Farmington Lake for the Polar Plunge.

Another participant, Cindy "Cindyrella" VerHaar, has an annual tradition of plunging into cold water in January. She said she usually does the plunge on New Year's day because it is cleansing and represents a "new year, new me" approach.

"It's just something weird I do," she said

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