GORDONVILLE, TX -- The temperatures might be warming up for now, but the water on Lake Texoma is still pretty cold. Despite the chill, some brave souls jumped in for the Polar Bear Plunge.
Its tradition spans the globe from Maryland, up to Canada, and right here in Texoma. Hundreds of people each year brave the cold waters of lakes and rivers. These human polar bears are not trying to imitate their animal counterparts.
They take the plunge to support Special Olympics.
"I did it for my kids and for the Special Olympics and for Christopher Hampton cause he’s a friend of ours from Collinsville, Texas," said Kevin Lewis, a participant.
Whatever you call them, close to fifty people participated in the third annual ‘Polar Bear Plunge’ at Cedar Mills Marina.
The goal: raise money for the West Grayson County chapter of Special Olympics. As the participants leapt into the water, some say all they could feel were their bodies tingling in the icy water.
"It was like every nerve ending in your body was screaming get out of here now," said Molly Worstell, a participant.
"They said once you hit the water you would numb and cold, but no it was real cold when I jumped in," said Phillip Terrell, an elementary school student wearing a sweat shirt to regain warmth.
In the end, Terrell felt he needed to brave the cold conditions if it would help his friend in the end.
"I did it for the Special Olympics, my best friend is in the Special Olympics and I’m a daredevil," he said.
Janet Mrozinski was one of the organizers of the even. She couldn't think of a better way to raise money for the equipment needed for Special Olympics athletes to compete than to take advantage of a resource that’s right in from of them.
"We have Lake Texoma and its one of our natural treasures anywhere around the lake but we thought what can we do, use the lake you know this is the easiest thing for everybody," Mrozinski said.
Plungers had the choice of either jumping right in or just walking into the frigid waters. The only requirement was to raise enough money. After that, what they did was up to each plunger.
One ‘plunger’ had a competition with his friend to see who could stay in longer, one beating the other by seconds. For others, it was the annual event where they could raise money in a unique, if cold, way.