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RELEASE: 16th Annual Columbia Polar Plunge raises more than $61,000 for SOMO

Columbia Polar Plunge

COLUMBIA – The 16th Annual Columbia Polar Plunge on March 11 at Bass Pro Shops Lake was a splashing success, raising $61,005.96 to date. A total 203 brave men and women from around the area donned disco-themed costumes and swimwear to take a chilly dip into Bass Pro Shops Lake. Their Reason for Freezin’… the athletes of Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO)!

Online fundraising is still ongoing. Donations can be made here.

“Thank you to all the brave plungers who came out and plunged,” Plunge Coordinator Krista Evans said. “Every year, I am so impressed by the commitment of the plungers and community members to still show up, rain or shine, and help make this a great event. We truly appreciate the support from the Columbia community and all our great Plunge sponsors. Thank you for supporting our athletes and Special Olympics Missouri.”

Top individual fundraisers included the following:

  • 1st Place Fundraiser – Sarah Byland $2,226
  • Top Fundraising Team – SOMO Disco Friends $4,483.75
  • Top Law Enforcement Team – Dancing Queens $1,862
  • Top Fundraising School – Fulton High School Student Council $2,732

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 – Bass Pro Shops
  • Group 2nd Place – Good Vibrations
  • Group 3rd Place – Team APB
  • School Group 1st Place – Fulton High School Student Council
  • School Group 2nd Place – Lewis and Clark Student Council
  • School Group 3rd Place – Polo High School

SOMO was lucky to have a Plunge Ambassador helping with this event. Our Plunge Ambassador for this year’s Plunge was Anna McDaniel. She is a SOMO Board Member, Athlete Leader and Health Messenger. She worked for months to help spread awareness of the Plunge! McDaniel was also a part of the top fundraising team – SOMO Disco Friends!

“I loved to see how many people came out on a cold and rainy day to support Special Olympics Missouri athletes,” McDaniel said. I also loved to see all the plungers so happy and full of excitement and energy to plunge into cold water. I am definitely looking forward to many more plunges in the future.”

This year’s event was held in conjunction with the Columbia Police Department. Other sponsors included Bass Pro Shops, The Missourian, KOMU 8, Clear 99 and Y107, Joe Machens, EquipmentShare, Log Hill Properties, QuesTec Mechanical, River Region Credit Union and Little Dixie Construction.

For more information about the Polar Plunge, visit

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

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.