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RELEASE: SOMO gears up for 19th Annual St. Joseph Polar Plunge

St. Joseph Polar Plunge 2023

ST. JOSEPH – The 19th Annual St. Joseph Polar Plunge will take place on Saturday, Feb. 24. Brave men and women from around the area will don Hawaiian-themed costumes and swimwear and take “polar” dips into freezin’ waters at East Hills Shopping Center. Their Reason for Freezin’ is the athletes of Special Olympics Missouri (SOMO)! All proceeds from this year’s event will benefit training and competition for the thousands of SOMO athletes across the state, including right here in St Joseph. 

The Polar Plunge is open to anyone 10 years or older who is a fan of having a good time for a good cause. The event is hosted by Maryville Treatment Center and St. Joseph Police Department and will take place at the East Hills Shopping Center parking lot. Day-of registration begins at 11 a.m., and the Plunge starts promptly at 1 p.m.

“Just watching everyone scream and laugh while jumping in freezin’ waters is so much fun to watch,” Plunge Coordinator Melody Prawitz said.

In 2023, St. Joseph Polar Plungers raised more than $30,000 for SOMO athletes. Each participant must raise a minimum of $75 to take the Plunge and can earn incentives by reaching fundraising goals. This year’s goal is $35,000, and organizers hope to break the million-dollar mark across the state with more than 10 events.

Costumes are highly encouraged. Awards will be given in the following categories for pre-registered Plungers only:

  • Top Fundraisers
  • Top Fundraising Group

Golden Plunger awards for the most creative costumes will also be presented to Top Group and Top Individuals. 

No wet suits are allowed, and shoes are required.

The easiest and most efficient way to register and fundraise is online. Simply go to our online fundraising page to sign up. We encourage Plungers to email their friends and families to support their Plunge efforts. Paper registration forms are also available at the SOMO North Area office at 702 S Woodbine Rd. Mail or deliver pre-registration forms and the minimum $75 contribution to Special Olympics Missouri Plunge 702 S Woodbine Rd, St. Joseph, MO 64507.

Plunging participants will receive an official Polar Plunge commemorative shirt, bragging rights for freezing your fur off and a Plunger meal. Participants can also receive incentives for reaching fundraising goals: $250 – Quick Dry Beach Towel, $500 – Sling Backpack, $1,000 – Stanley 30oz. & Quick Dry Beach Towel and $2,000 – Touch Screen Gloves plus all the above.

SOMO is lucky to have SOMO athlete Charlie Phillips as our Plunge Ambassador helping with this event. He has been working for months to help spread awareness of the Plunge!

“The Plunge is fun, and you are helping us athletes,” Phillips said. “If I can do it, so can you.”

If you’d like to set up an interview with Charlie or receive any additional information about the Polar Plunge, please contact Melody Prawitz, Development Director at 816-233-6232 or email

Thank you so much to our sponsors!

  • Our Polar Level sponsors are Sunshine Electronic Sign and Hillyard Chemical Company
  • Our Tundra Level sponsor is KQTV 2.

Please note: This Plunge is separate from our two other Plunges in the North Area. Click here for more information on the Chillicothe Polar Plunge. Click here for more information on the Kirksville Polar Plunge.