Penguin Plunge changing venue
January 17, 2013
By Mike Weland
This year's Penguin Plunge, in which intrepid
and slightly crazy people immerse themselves in
frigid water in support of Idaho Special
Olympics, will still be in the cold, cold
Kootenai River, but a little closer to town, in
a place where getting warmed back up shouldn't
be quite as hard as it was for last year's
Instead of going all the way out to the mouth of
Deep Creek, as in years past, Penguin Plungers
this year will gather at the Boundary County
Search and Rescue/Waterways building on
Riverside Street just west of the fairgrounds on
Saturday morning, March 9, where a warm building
awaits those brave, blue-tinged souls as they
come out of the water, avoiding a potential
repeat of what happened last year despite the
made the Penguin Plunge in 2012
... there's no telling what superheroes
might appear this year.
No one can predict early March weather in
Boundary County except to assure it will be
Last year, the Penguin Plunge fell on a cold,
gray blustery day, so blustery, in fact, that
folks were hanging onto their tents to
keep them from blowing away, including the
warming tents ... many of which blew off anyway!
The day was saved as fire departments from
around the county pulled in with their vans ...
even the Beck's Furniture van was brought in ...
to serve as warming sheds.
No matter how this March 9 dawns, that
contingency won't be repeated this year, though
other contingencies may well arise. With the
Penguin Plunge, you never know what will happen
to keep organizers scrambling ... it just adds
to the fun.
In spite of last year's appalling conditions,
around 40 brave souls took the plunge, raising
more than $7,500 for Idaho Special Olympics.
Some came in teams, some as individuals. Many
more just went to watch. What makes it so much
fun isn't just the chance to see plungers get
wet and cold; but how they dress for the
occasion ... it's the closest thing to an
outlandishly cold circus you'll find in Bonners
Ferry. To get an idea,
click here for some images of the
2012 Penguin Plunge.
As always, this year's Boundary County Penguin
Plunge is being organized by the community's
staunchest Idaho Special Olympics supporters,
our local peace officers, and the same great
core group that so ably ran last year's event
and coped with all the crises, are back this
year; former Bonners Ferry Police Chief Dave
Kramer, Bonners Ferry Police Officer Tiffany
Murray and Sue Wilson and Tish Lagerway, both
with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
With indoor restrooms, changing rooms and
warming rooms new this year, they expect fewer
natural disasters to contend with, allowing them
to spend more time enjoying human inflicted fun.
As in the past, there will be several contest
this year; Spirit of the Penguin Plunge, most
money raised, costume and more, and they are
inviting and encouraging local groups and
businesses not only to enter teams, but to issue
challenges: Boy Scouts vs. Girl Scouts, say,
Bonners Ferry High School seniors vs. juniors,
Boise State alumni vs. U of I, Safeway vs. Super
1 vs. Akins, county employees vs. city, the BFHS
football team vs. the nerds on the robotics
team, Baptists vs. Methodists. Eastport vs.
Porthill ... the possibilities are endless and
all add to the fun.
abandoned at birth and raised by
chickens, showed up at the 2012 Bonners
Ferry Penguin Plunge and became a
sensation. Sadly, she hasn't been seen
in these environs since, and it's
assumed she returned to life in the
Plungers are also encouraged to invite their own
cheering section, band and/or orchestra, and
cheering sections, bands and/or orchestras are
invited to come just to add to the melee.
They're also looking for prizes and donations to
award the intrepid plungers, and for judges to
assume the awesome responsibility of staying
warm and dry and determining who wins ... a
difficult task in an event in which everyone
To enter the event as a plunging individual or
www.idso.org; to share ideas or to pitch in
on the sidelines, be it providing hot food for
the plungers, offering prizes, judging or
providing additional ice for Sheriff Greg
Sprungle to add to the water prior to the first
plunge ... just to make sure the water is cold
enough, call Tiffany at (208) 267-2412, or email
Those with but a shred of sanity left are also
invited to come watch the shenanigans; there's
no admission fee and the crazy people dressed in
outlandish costumes willing to jump into the icy
Kootenai River in March seem motivated to have
more fun with a big audience present. Just ask
Jack Flinn and his long-lost twin sister,
Everyone in the community is asked to begin
thinking how you can add to the ambiance of the
event, and to make plans to make this the most
successful Penguin Plunge so far.
The plungers, after all, will be Freezin' for a
Questions or comments about this
Click here to e-mail!