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Winter Weather Forces Changes in Western Kentucky Polar Plunge

Deep snow at Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park and ice on Kentucky Lake have forced some more late changes to the 2015 Western Kentucky Polar Plunge.

Polar Bears will not be able to jump off the docks into the lake as in years past and instead will "Plunge" in pools set up by the fire department.

The Polar Plunge 5k that has been a part of the Plunge festivities was already forced to be postoned when they route couldn't be cleared in time.

The rest of the Plunge events are on as scheduled. Day of event check-in will open at 9 am with the Opening Ceremonies getting underway at 10:45 in the Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park Convention Center. The Ceremonies will once again include the popular costume contest.

Following the Plunge, there will be an After Splash Bash back in the Convention Center.

Register for the 2015 Polar Plunge!

The 2015 Polar Plunge is sponsored by Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park, WKYQ-93.3, West Kentucky Star, Domino's Pizza, Pella, Tanager Productions, WPSD Local 6, Community Federal Savings Bank, Lake Chem Community Federal Credit Union, Benton Electric Supply, Polaris of Benton, Regions Bank, Primary Care Medical Center, Choices Unlimited, Taylor Bus Sales, Murray Calloway Transit, Corvette Lanes, Imes Funeral Home, Kennedy Fan Shop, Houston Ag, River Valley AgCredit, McDonald's, West Kentucky Surgical, Murray Electric Cable, Maiden Alley Cinema, Cheri Cinema, Subway, America’s Mattress, Taylor Bus Services, Choices Unlimited, Pella, Thoroughbred Spirits, Thornton Heating and Air,  and the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Kentucky.

For more information about how to get involved in the 2015 Western Kentucky Polar Plunge as a participant, team captain or sponsor, contact Special Events Assistant Kendra Lowther at 502-326-5002 or klowther@soky.org.

Nearly 500 plungers braved an ice-covered Kentucky Lake on Saturday, February 15, for another record-breaking day for the Western Kentucky Polar Plunge and Polar 5k. This year's event raised more than $113,000, topping last year's mark.

For the second year in a row, Plunge day started with the Polar 5k, but the event wouldn't have gone off without some tremendous work from Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park staff and event volunteers. On the day before the race, much of the course -- a beautiful run along Kentucky Dam, over breakwaters and around the park's lodge -- was covered in ice. Park workers and volunteers spent much of Friday making sure the route was clear and safe. When the gun fired to start the race, 167 runners and walkers (and at least one dog) took off. The group included a number of Special Olympics athletes like Tyler Cox who finished with his dad in just over 44 minutes. Jacob Carnine was the first one across the finish line in a time of 20:31.73. Kayleigh House won the women's division in 20:58.36.

Race Division Winners

Complete Race Results

Polar Plunge Opening Ceremonies followed the 5k in the Kentucky Dam Village Conference Center. Host "Bear" from WKYQ in Paducah interviewed a number of Special Olympics athletes and their families before the ceremonies officially got underway. The Icicle Me team -- a take on Despicable Me with T-shirts that made them look like Minions from the movie -- from Murray High School won the Best Group Costume award in the annual costume contest and "Willie Nelson" won the Best Individual Costume Award.

The Opening Ceremonies also saw all the team and individual awards presented. It was a big year for repeat royalty at the Plunge. Tab Brockman extended his reign as King of the Plunge (top male fundraiser), raising $6,166. His total was more than $2,000 more than his winning total of a year ago. Shannon Hackman was re-crowned as the Queen of the Plunge (top female), having raised $1,748.94. The repeat monarchs were joined by Prince of the Plunge (top boy fundraiser between 6 and 12 years old) Clayton Bazzell of the Murray Independent Ice Breakers who raised $600. Only Plunge Princess Olivia Trahan claimed a crown for the first time, raising $343.00.

The top Too Chicken fundraiser award for the person who raises the most money without taking the Plunge once again went to Amanda Ashlock of the Murray Independent Ice Breakers. Amanda raised $1,394 this year.

"Willie Nelson" here with Bear from WKYQ won the Best Individual Costume Award.

The top Special Olympics athlete fundraiser was Hannah Babcock of Icicle Me who raised $1,425.

Three new winners captured team awards with only the Frigid Felons hanging onto their Polar Cup as the largest team in the Law Enforcement Division. Their 11 polar bears raised $1,895. Other Polar Cup winners were Marshall County Special Olympics in the Corporate/Civic Division and the Murray Independent Ice Breakers in the School Division. Marshall County had 22 polar bears who raised $3,050 total. Murray Independent had a team of 28 that raised $8,118.11. The Western Kentucky Polar Plunge also recognizes the largest Murray State University group. That award went to Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority, which had 34 polar bears who raised a total of $3,626.

The Top Fundraising Team award went to Murray Special Olympics, which raised an impressive $10,075.

Once the Ceremonies were over it was plunging time, which presented some of its own challenges. Much of the lake around Kentucky Dam Village had a layer of ice on it. The Plunge area was no different. Safety crews had knocked out space in the ice the day before and kept the Plunge area clear through the event.

Among the Plunge highlights were players and coaches from the Murray State University football team taking the Plunge.

Safety workers did a great job of fighting ice to keep the Plunge area safe for jumpers.

Our thanks to everyone who worked so hard to once again make the Western Kentucky Polar Plunge and Polar 5k a runaway success. This year posed many challenges, including all the ice as well as terrible conditions for setup on Friday. We especially want to thank event coordinators Laura Miller and Chuck Williams of Murray/Calloway County and Rick and Devona Rosa of Marshall County. The Plunge and 5k also would not have been possible without countless volunteers, including many law enforcement members, who worked on everything from registration to serving as course officials. We also would like to thank our Plunge sponsors -- host Kentucky Dam Village; media partners WKYQ, the West Kentucky Star, WPSD and Tanager Productions; co-sponsors Lake Chem Federal Credit Union and Subway; and supporting sponsors Pella, Benton Electric, CFSB, Polaris of Benton, Smiling Faces LLC, Choices Unlimited, Primary Care Medical Centers, Regions Bank, Taylor Bus Sales, Murray/Calloway Transit, Imes-Miller Funeral Home, Corvette Lanes, AAA Travel and the Law Enforcement Torch Run.

The Western Kentucky Plunge was one of six Polar Plunges held in Kentucky this year, with other events in Bellevue, Lake Cumberland, Lexington, Louisville and Owensboro. In all nearly 3,000 people took the Plunge this year for Special Olympics Kentucky, raising more than $670,000.

2014 Western Kentucky Plunge Award Winners

King of the Plunge — Tab Brockman, Murray Rotary Club; $6,166 raised
Queen of the Plunge — Shannon Hackman; $1,748.93 raised
Prince of the Plunge — Clayton Bazzell, Murray Independent Ice Breakers; $600 raised
Princess of the Plunge — Olivia Trahan; $343 raised
Top Too Chicken Fundraiser Amanda Ashlock, Murray Independent Ice Breakers; $1,394 raised
Top Fundraising Special Olympics Athlete Hannah Babcock, Icicle Me; $1,425 raised

Polar Cup Corporate/Civic Division — Marshall County Special Olympics; 22 members, $3,050 raised
Polar Cup School Division — Murray Independent Ice Breakers; 28 members, $8,118.11 raised
Polar Cup Law Enforcement Division — Frigid Felons; 11 members, $1,895 raised
Polar Cup Murray State Division — Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority, 34 members, $3,626 raised

Top Fundraising Team — Murray Special Olympics; $10,075 raised

Best Individual Costume Willie Nelson costume
Best Group Costume Icicle Me (Murray High School)


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