Polar Bear Plunge returns to Crooked Lake Feb. 28

Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart, middle, and members of the Sheriff's Posse team make the first leap into frigid Crooked Lake during the 2014 Anoka County Polar Bear Plunge. This year's plunge is begins at 1 p.m. Feb. 28.File photo by Olivia Alveshere

The Anoka County Polar Bear Plunge returns to ice-cold Crooked Lake Feb. 28.

In its fourth year, a record 758 plungers were pre-registered as of press time. They have raised more than $62,000 in online pledges.

The event, presented by law enforcement, raises thousands of dollars annually for Special Olympics Minnesota, providing athletes with disabilities opportunities to compete in various sporting events.

The Anoka County Polar Bear Plunge at Crooked Lake, 13180 Crooked Lake Blvd. NW, Coon Rapids, is one of 21 plunges planned across the state from January to March.

Participants can register online at www.plungemn.org or on site at Crooked Lake Friday, Feb. 27, from 5-7 p.m., or Saturday, Feb. 28, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The plunge begins at 1 p.m.

In the water, a dive team is present to ensure a safe event. Heated tents await participants when they emerge sopping wet.

Sheriff James Stuart and others on the Sheriff's Posse team made the first splash last year.

He will return to make his fourth plunge this year.

"... It is a privilege to be able to take the plunge for a great cause," Stuart said. "(Special Olympics Minnesota) strives to create champions despite any circumstances that might hinder that path. This is a good life lesson for us all. Being a champion is a mindset. It is not based on your circumstances, but rather what you do with them."

Plungers must raise a minimum of $75 to jump. Many go above and beyond in their fundraising efforts, some taking in more than $1,000 for the cause.

A kids' fishing tournament coincides with the plunge again this year. After registering, kids can fish from 12-2 p.m.

For more information, visit www.plungemn.org.

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