It's not too late for anybody who feels like an icy dip in Lake Elmo next week for a good cause to sign up for the fifth annual Law Enforcement Torch Run Polar Bare Plunge, which benefits Special Olympics Montana.
Scheduled for 1 p.m. Dec. 4, the event challenges participants to take a quick plunge into the lake's wintry waters.
All of the money raised supports Special Olympics Montana athletes throughout the year. It helps pay for things like training, travel to events, hotel rooms and leadership events.
Sheryl Shockley, Special Olympics' Yellowstone Valley torch run liaison, said that as of Wednesday, 77 people had signed up for the event, including several teams from local businesses.
“They're brave, hardy souls,” she said. “I'm pretty sure we'll have to cut a whole in the lake for them because the water's probably all frozen.”
Last year's plunge raised about $33,000, and the goal this year is $50,000. Shockley said there are about 2,000 Special Olympics athletes across Montana, with about one-fifth residing in the Yellowstone Valley area, and that the goal is to serve 1,000 more within the next 10 years.
“We want to be able to serve as many athletes as possible so that they can learn,” she said. “We want them to be good, productive members of society and this is where they can learn a lot of it.”
Registration for the Polar Bare Plunge begins on Dec. 4 at 11 a.m. at Lake Elmo in the Heights. There will also be judging for a costume contest. After the plunge, the Billings Education Academy will sell soup, chili, bread and hot drinks.
Each participant is asked to raise at least $125 for the event. For more information or to register, call Shockley at 855-3790 or go to www.somt.org and click on the links for Polar Bare Plunge.