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RELEASE: 16th Annual Chillicothe Polar Plunge raises more than $9,900 for Special Olympics Missouri

Chillicothe Polar Plunge - 2023

CHILLICOTHE – The 16th Annual Chillicothe Polar Plunge on Saturday, Feb. 11 at Simpson Park was a splashing success, raising $9,900 to date. A total of 49 brave men and women from around the area donned disco-themed costumes and swimwear to take the chilly dip. Their Reason for Freezin’… the athletes of Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO).

Online fundraising is still ongoing. Organizers of the plunge still hope to raise an additional $2,600 to reach the goal of $12,500. Donations can be made here.

“It was very cold water, but it is worth helping out a charity such as Special Olympics Missouri,” Plunger Alexis Strahm said.

Top Individual Fundraiser: Cheryl Evans ($500)

Top Fundraising Team: Northwestern FCCLA ($1,307)

Top Law Enforcement Team: Chillicothe Correctional Center ($4,530)

Competition for the Golden Plunger was steep this year. Participants were encouraged to come in costume and compete for the chance to take home the “Golden Plunger.”

  • Group 1st Place: Swimmers from Chillicothe High School’s Student Council
  • Group 2nd Place: Hawaiian visitors from Northwestern FCCLA
  • Group 3rd Place: Student Council Shirts from Trenton High School’s Student Council
  • Individual 1st Place: James Runde the UPS Driver

SOMO was lucky to have two Plunge Ambassadors helping with this event. Our Plunge Ambassadors for this year’s Plunge were Charlie Phillips and Leah Shoemaker. They are both SOMO athletes, and they worked for months to help spread awareness of the Plunge!

“A lot of work, but I like helping,” Shoemaker said.

This year’s event was held in conjunction with the Chillicothe Correctional Center, the City of Chillicothe and the Chillicothe Fire Department. The heat sponsors were Chillicothe Ford, Max Curnow and Lindley Funeral Home.

For more information about the Polar Plunge, visit

Media is welcome to download and use any pictures from our Flickr page.

If you attended this event, we encourage you to fill out the following review form to let us know how it went!

Special Olympics Missouri

Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO) is a year-round program of sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Thousands of athletes participate in 16 Olympic-type sports throughout the state. SOMO provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy as they participate in the sharing of gifts and friendship with their fellow athletes, their family and friends, and communities across Missouri.

SOMO is proud of our financial health, returning 78% of every dollar back to program services. We are privileged to be recognized with these honors: Better Business Bureau A+ Charity Accreditation, Guidestar Gold Level and Charity Navigator 4-star rating. Special Olympics was also recently named Morning Consult’s No. 4 most trusted nonprofit.

Thank you for trusting us with your donations, volunteer time and your goodwill.

Visit Special Olympics Missouri at Engage with us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.