Polar Bear Plunge

By: Bill Martens
By: Bill Martens

Nothing like being out in below-freezing temperatures, breaking out the swimming trunks, and jumping into dangerously cold water. It's the annual Polar Bear Plunge at Rusty's Backwater Saloon near Stevens Point.

Here's the deal. You jump in the "pool" and race to the other end because it's awfully, awfully cold out, and then when sanity finally sets in again, they come walking back to a heating tent to warm up.

If it doesn't sound like an extremely brilliant way to light it up for the new year, this guy would agree with you.

"Not too smart, actually," says Doug Ell. "Just, still feeling pretty good from last night, so I decided to make the plunge like everybody said."

There were a few rookies, too.

"We just kind of woke up today. We're like, 'Hey, we should go jump.' Bring a lot of clothes for afterwards. That's about all you can do," say friends Mindy, Jamie and Kristen.

But they knew enough going in to wear shoes to keep their feet from sticking to the ice. So hey, call them crazy, but you can't deny they're ringing in the new year with style.


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