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RELEASE: 18th Annual Cape Girardeau Polar Plunge raises more than $55,000 for SOMO

Cape Girardeau Polar Plunge 2024

CAPE GIRARDEAU – The 18th Annual Cape Girardeau Polar Plunge on Feb. 3 at Cape County Park North was a splashing success, raising over $55,000 to date. 134 brave men and women from around the area donned Hawaiian-themed costumes and swimwear to take a chilly dip into the lake at Cape County Park North. Their Reason for Freezin’ was the athletes of Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO).

Online fundraising is still ongoing. Organizers of the Plunge still hope to raise an additional $10,000 to reach the goal of $66,000. Donations can be made on our online fundraising page.

“It was a beautiful and amazing day to be raising money for amazing athletes,” Plunge Coordinator Penny Williams said. “Thanks to all those who give so much of themselves, going far beyond their comfort level, to help someone else.”

Top individual fundraisers:

  • 1st Place Fundraiser – Lisa Reitzel
  • 2nd Place Fundraiser – Ayne Held
  • 3rd Place Fundraiser – Lisa Berryhill (SOMO Athlete, Plunge Ambassador)

Top team fundraisers:

  • Top Team –  CHS Ohana | Chaffee High School
  • Top Law Enforcement Team – Copsicles | Cape Girardeau Police Department
  • Top School – CHS Ohana | Chaffee High School

Special Recognition:

  • Polar Plunge Spirit of John John Atkinson Award: Preston Clark | Notre Dame 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 – CHS Ohana | Chaffee High School
  • Group 2nd Place – Shiver Bears | Poplar Bluff High School
  • Group 3rd Place – ilanders | Sams Club
  • Honorable Mention – Belly Whoppers
  • Individual 1st Place – Maison Dennis | Poplar Bluff
  • Individual 2nd Place – Russell Amelunke | Jackson Deli
  • Individual 3rd Place – Tie: Lucas Blattel, Lisa Berryhill and Daniel Fultz

SOMO was lucky to have more than 10 athletes helping with this event. Our Plunge Ambassadors for this year’s Plunge were Lisa Berryhill and Daniel Fultz. They are both SOMO athletes, and they worked for months to help spread awareness of the Plunge!

“Special Olympics means so much to me,” Berryhill said. “It was a great day. I feel so much acceptance and support.”

This year’s event was held in conjunction with the Cape Girardeau Police Department.

Please Note: We will host our Polar Bear Strut 5k in December where we hope to raise an additional $5,000. Also, we plan to host an additional Polar Plunge, hosted by the Southeast Missouri State Greeks, on March 2. Our goal with this event is also to raise $5,000.

Thank you so much to our sponsors!

  • Our Polar Hosts include Cape Girardeau Police Department, Cape Girardeau Fire Department, Cape County Parks Department and the Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation Department.
  • Polar Level sponsors are River Radio, Banterra Bank, Kiwanis Club, Coad Toyota, Drury Southwest, AID/VIP and St. Francois County Board.
  • Our Tundra Level sponsors are Culver’s, Southern Cross Medical, American Family-Laurel and Chris Adkisson, Marcellous Jones Foundation.

For more information about the Polar Plunge, visit

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