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RELEASE: 18th Annual St. Joseph Polar Plunge raises $35,000 for SOMO

St. Joseph Polar Plunge 2023

ST. JOSEPH – The 18th Annual St. Joseph Polar Plunge on Feb. 18 at Lake Contrary was a splashing success, raising $35,000 to date. A total of 76 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 $2,500 to reach the goal of $37,000. Donations can be made here.

“It was different plunging in a pool versus going into a lake, but it was clean and still very cold,” Plunger Bob Radcliff said.

Top individual fundraisers included the following:

  • 1st Place Fundraiser – Katie Lyle: $4,493
  • Top Fundraising Team – We Got the Hook: $6,371
  • Top Law Enforcement Team – St. Joseph Police Department: $6,118.65

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 – The Rad Crabs | Savannah Middle School
  • Group 2nd Place – 70’s sports outfits | St. Joseph Police Department
  • Group 3rd Place – Saturday Night Fever attire | St. Joseph School District
  • Individual 1st Place – 70’s basketball uniform | Matt Knieb

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!

“It was cold and windy, but we all had fun, and it was for a good cause,” Phillips said.

This year’s event was hosted by the Maryville Treatment Center and the St. Joseph Police Department.  Sponsors included: Sunshine Electronic Display, Hillyards, The Sertoma Club of St. Joseph, Randolph Seating and Mobility, Weaver Overhead Door, R/S Electric and Cosentino’s Price Chopper.

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.