16th annual Polar Plunge sees solid turnout despite COVID-19 adjustments Saturday Featured

Members of Team Mouse take the Polar Plunge in support of Special Olympics Kansas Saturday morning. Members of Team Mouse take the Polar Plunge in support of Special Olympics Kansas Saturday morning. Tagan Trahoon/KVOE News

The theme for this year's Polar Plunge benefiting Special Olympics Kansas was "Frozen in Time" with an emphasis on the frozen.

Even though air temperatures were considerably warmer than earlier in the week, water temperatures at Mouse Lake were right around 30 degrees come plunge time.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's event was changed considerably from a format standpoint. Social distancing was in effect and plungers had to go one by one due to the lake still being partially frozen following historic low temperatures earlier in the week. 

Also due to the pandemic, the Emporia Senior Center had to be taken out of the equation this year with the annual breakfast and day of registration unable to take place.

Despite the changes, turnout was strong as the area surrounding Mouse Lake was chock-full of plungers all wanting to help support Kansas Special Olympics athletes. Mitch Guthrie of Special Olympics Kansas says no matter how many adjustments the pandemic or severe weather forced the importance and purpose of the event remained the same. 

He says the annual plunge remains one of the major "drivers" for Special Olympics Kansas operations each year.


Close to 50 people participated, raising over $7,200 for the cause.

Even with the plunge itself now wrapped up for another year, participants in the virtual Polar Strut 5K still have time to finish their run or walk. The strut, originally set to run through Sunday has now been extended to next Saturday. 

Once again the strut is a part of the Emporia Recreation Commission's Super Series of Events.

Video from the day can be found on the Special Olympics Kansas Facebook page. 

As always participants came ready to plunge dressed in a variety of costumes reflecting the theme for this year. This year's costume contest winners were as follows: 

Best Team Costume: Flint Hills Technical College 

Best Individual Costume: Clayton Epley (Sigma Tau Gamma) 

Photos by Tagan Trahoon/KVOE News 

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Last modified on Sunday, 21 February 2021 11:18