One year ago, the Western Kentucky Polar Plunge took a body blow from Old Man Winter. Snow and ice on the course forced the cancellation of the annual Polar 5k and ice in the Plunge area forced the event to be moved to a small pool in the parking lot for the first time ever.
This year was a complete 180 weather wise, as a warm, sunny morning greeted runners and plungers alike.
The day got underway as it has for now three of the last four years with the Polar 5k through Kentucky Dam Village. There were 129 runners registered for the 5k, which follows a scenic route across the dam and past the Kentucky Dam Village lodge. Youth ruled the 5k this year as 16-year-old Cameron Cooper crossed the line first in a time of 17:41. The women's title was claimed by 13-year-old Autumn Knight in 22:34. Corbin Knight, just 10-years-old, also turned in an impressive run, finishing third overall in 20:51.
See all Polar 5k Results
Between runners, plungers, a record 51 people signed up as Too Chicken to Plunge and 18 truly dedicated folks who both ran AND plunged, the Western Kentucky event once again toped $100,000 raised at $101,526.52.
The fundraising was led by overall top fundraiser and Special Olympics coach Chuck Williams of the Murray/Calloway County Special Olympics program. Williams -- a past Plunge King as the top male fundraiser -- reclaimed his sport atop the fundraising mountain with $6,085 raised. The 2nd highest fundraiser was Amanda Ashlock of the Murray Independent Icebreakers team with $2,407.85 raised. Madisyn Garland of Madi's Mighty Penguins finished third at $2,245.25 raised. Williams, Ashlock and Garland will each have their names entered into a drawing for a $1,000 travel certificate courtesy of AAA Travel.
Ashlock and Garland both doubled their fundraising awards, as Ashlock was the top Too Chicken to Plunge fundraiser and Garland was the Top Fundraising Special Olympics Athlete.
Despite their individual fundraising triumphs, none of their teams claimed team awards. Those were dominated by the Marshall County Special Olympics group. Marshal County won both the Largest Team trophy and the Top Fundraising Team Award with 38 members raising $13,289.08.
This year's costume contest prizes went to Addison Harris for individual costume. Addison dressed as the Little Mermaid. The Best Group Costume Award went to the Team Caldwell County Chilly Dogs.
The 2016 Polar Plunge was 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, 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 on how you can get involved in the Western Kentucky Polar Plunge or for sponsorship information, contact Laura Miller at 270-293-9054 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Western Kentucky Plunge was one of five Polar Plunges held in Kentucky this year, with other events in Bellevue, Lake Cumberland, Lexington and Louisville.
2016 Western Kentucky Plunge Award Winners
Top Fundraiser — Chuck Williams, Murray/Calloway County Special Olympics; $6,085 raised
2nd Leading Fundraiser — Amanda Ashlock, Murray Independent Icebreakers; $2,407 raised
3rd Leading Fundraiser — Madisyn Garland, Madi's Mighty Penguins; $2,245 raised
Top Too Chicken Fundraiser — Amanda Ashlock, Murray Independent Icebreakers; $2,407 raised
Top Fundraising Special Olympics Athlete — Madisyn Garland, Madi's Mighty Penguins; $2,245 raised
Top Fundraising Team — Marshall County Special Olympics; 38 members, $13,289.08 raised
Largest Team — Marshall County Special Olympics; 38 members, $13,289.08 raised