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RELEASE: 17th Annual Cape Girardeau Polar Plunge raises $62,510 for SOMO

2023 Cape Girardeau Polar Plunge

CAPE GIRARDEAU – The 17th Annual Cape Girardeau Polar Plunge on Feb. 25 was a splashing success, raising $62,510 to date. A total of 143 brave men and women from around the area donned disco-themed costumes and swimwear to take a chilly dip into Cape County Park North. In addition, 20 participants walked or ran in the 1-mile fun run and the 5K Polar Bear Strut, raising an additional $400. 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 $5,000 to surpass last year’s goal of $66,000. Donations can be made here.

“It’s truly an amazing day to see so many people going to such lengths to show support of the athletes in the Southeast Area,” Plunge Coordinator Penny Williams said. “Events like this give us an opportunity to promote and witness the support of unity and inclusion through the power of sports.”

Top individual fundraisers included the following:

  • 1st Place Fundraiser – Rylan Atkinson: $3,166.10
  • Top Fundraising Team – Reto Reitzels: $5,586.99
  • Top Law Enforcement Team – Cape Girardeau Police Department: $2,017
  • Top Fundraising School – Chaffee High School: $4,341.75

The recipient of the “Spirit of John John Atkinson” Award went to Segar Ruiz from Chaffe High School.

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 – Dancin’ Devils: Chaffe High School
  • Group 2nd Place – Iced Age: Disco Dancers
  • Group 3rd Place – Scooby Doo & Friends: Sam’s Cub
  • Individual 1st Place – Sarah Ostrowski
  • Individual 2nd Place – Anthony Ridenour
  • Individual 3rd Place – Daniel Fultz

SOMO was lucky to have three Plunge Ambassadors helping with this event. Our Plunge Ambassadors for this year’s Plunge were Daniel Fultz, Lisa Berryhill and Logan Gardner. They are all SOMO athletes, and they worked for months to help spread awareness of the Plunge!

 “I’m willing to do this because I love helping my team,” Fultz said.

This year’s event was held in conjunction with the Cape Girardeau Police Department. Presenting sponsors included Banterra Bank, River Radio, Kiwanis Club, Cape Toyota, American Family Insurance (Laurel & Chris Adkisson) AID/VIP, Marcellus Jones Foundation, Southern Cross Medical Services, Servpro, Culver’s and Southeast Health.

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.