Hundreds hit cold water for Bend's Polar Plunge

Zany Annual fund-raiser for Special Olympics

Polar Plunge raises money for Special Olympics

BEND, Ore. - Although it didn't feel too cold outside Saturday morning, especially for mid-February, people taking part in Bend's seventh annual Polar Plunge still faced some pretty chilly waters.

Hundreds of people braved the frigid waters in the Deschutes River, all to raise money for Special Olympics. The event was organized by local law enforcement, so plungers with Bend PD and the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office also hit the water.

"It's just another thing we can do at the sheriff's office to let people know we're proud to serve," Sheriff Larry Blanton said.

There was also a costume contest before the plunge, where people dressed up in bizarre outfits.

Even though it was icy cold in the water, people said it was a blast.

"I feel alive, and I feel good," one plunger said. "It wasn't as cold as I thought."

The event raised more than $40,000. The Les Schwab "Schwabstickles" raised the most money, followed by the sheriff's office.

Currently, Special Olympics athletes are gearing up for winter games. The cash raised makes sure training and competitions are free.

If you didn't attend but still want to help the cause or get more information, visit

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