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2016 Kentucky-Ohio Plunge Cranks up the heat

One of Warmest Days in event histroy draws nearly 650 plungers

Historically, as the earliest and northernmost of the Kentucky Polar Plunges, the Kentucky-Ohio Plunge in Bellevue has also been the coldest. Last year the tide started to turn as the Kentucky-Ohio event was the only Plunge in the state not to be affected or altered by horrible winter weather. This year seemed to start a full fledged new tradition when temperatures reached the 60s when the event was held at Joe's Crab Shack on Saturday, Feb. 6.

The beautiful day brought nearly 650 brave souls out to take the Plunge and filled the parking lot with spectators.

An adorable Dorothy and Tin Man
powered this group to the Best Group Costume Award.

One of the major changes in the Plunge this was the awards system for top fundraisers. Instead of naming a King and Queen as the top male and female fundraisers, the top three overall fundraisers received an award. Not surprisingly, Kentucky Law Enforcement Torch Run volunteer Scott Hildebrand was right in the mix.

A multi-time Plunge King, Hildebrand ruled all fundraisers again this year, taking the the top fundraiser title with $5,516. The second leading fundraiser was another law enforcement volunteer -- Jim Howarth of Hamilton County Law Enforcement and Friends, who had $2,605. Denice Rutkousky of the Special Olympics Hamilton County FreezeCats was third with $2,355 raised. Each of the three will be entered in a drawing for a $1,000 travel certificate courtesy of AAA Travel.

Scott Hildebrand regained his title as the Top Fundraiser this year with $5,516 raised.

Dimitrios Hristopoulos of Sigma Tau Gamma Beta Zeta chapter was the top Too Chicken to Plunge fundraiser with $750 raised.

Hildebrand's individual win led his team to the Polar Cup as the top fundraising law enforcement team. As a group, Campbell County FOP Lodge 10's 37 plungers raised an impressive $9,406. The corporate division Polar Cup went to L'Oreal Kentucky Ops, which had 39 plungers raise $9,270. The School division trophy went to Batavia High School Business Professionals of America who had 67 plungers and raised $9,294.

The L'Oreal group made another big splash at this year's Plunge. The 2015 costume contest winners came dressed as Willy Wonka and 38 oompa loompas. As an addition to their costumes, the group brought 10 "Golden Tickets" to hand out to Special Olympics athletes at the event. The athletes will have the opportunity to tour the L'Oreal facility and receive a gift bag of the company's products.

However even the golden tickets weren't enough to sucure L'Oreal a second consecutive "Golden Plunger" as the costume contest winner. They were beaten out by a family dressed as the characters from the Wizard of Oz. The best individual costume award went to Jesse Shelton, whose chicken costume won over the judges.

Even on a warm day, the water
feels a little brisk.

In all, this year's Kentucky-Ohio Polar Plunge raised more than $125,000 to support programs in both states. Our thanks to everyone who participated, raised money and who volunteered this year.

The Kentucky-Ohio Polar Plunge is sponsored by Joe's Crab Shack, media partners Fox 19 and Q102; Co-Sponsors Messer Construction and Kona Ice and Supporting Sponsors Bellevue Vets, the City of Bellevue, AAA Travel, The Law Enforcement Torch Run, Col Events Company, Comfort Suites and Aramark.

For more information about the 2017 Kentucky-Ohio Polar Plunge or for sponsorship information, contact Mark Buerger at 502-695-8222 or mbuerger@soky.org.

The 2016 Kentucky-Ohio Polar Plunge was the first of five Polar Plunge events held in Kentucky this year. Other Pola rpLunges took place in Lexington, Louisville, Lake Cumberland and Western Kentucky.

2016 Kentucky-Ohio Plunge Award Winners

Top Fundraiser — Scott Hidebrand, Campbell COunty FOP Lodge 10; $5,516 raised
2nd Leading Fundraiser — Jim Howarth, amilton COunty Law Enforcement and Friends; $2,605 raised
3rd Leading Fundraiser — Denice Rutkousky, Special Olympics Hamilton COunty FreezeCats; $2,355 raised
Top Too Chicken Fundraiser — Dimitrios Hristopoulos, Sigma Tau Gamma-Zeta Beta; $750 raised
Top Special Olympics Athlete Fundraisers — Arielle Bachrach, Special Olympics Hamilton County Freeze Cats; $1,000 raised

Polar Cup Corporate Division — L'Oreal Kentucky Operations; 39 members, $9,270 raised
Polar Cup School Division — Batavia High School Business Professionals of America; 67 members, $9,294 raised
Polar Cup Law Enforcement Division — Campbell County FOP Lodge #10; 37 members, $9,406 raised

Best Group Costume — Wizard of Oz Family
Best Individual Costume — Jesse Shelton - Chicken



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