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Rowan County’s first Polar Plunge is Saturday

If you’re brave enough to withstand freezing cold water then perhaps the Blue Nose Polar Plunge is just the adventure you need.
The Polar Plunge is the first of its kind in the county. The event will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 1, in Lake Corriher. The lake is located at 955 Kimball Road, China Grove, across from the South Rowan branch of the public library.
The minimum cost to take the plunge is $50 with all of the proceeds to benefit the Special Olympics of Rowan County.
Those who plan to jump in the water can do it alone or as a team. Teams are encouraged to get sponsorships and raise more than the required $50.
Those who don’t plan to jump into the water, but want to show support or cheer on the ones who do are welcome at the event, said event co-organizer Jay Taylor.
Taylor taught in the Iredell County School System where there was a similar event. He approached former Special Olympics Coordinator Jenny Buchanan about incorporating the idea in Rowan County.
Taylor now teaches adults with intellectual disabilities at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. Many of his students help or participate in Special Olympics. Taylor said he’ll participate in the Polar Plunge along with his daughters who are 6, 9 and 10 years old. Taylor said his children begged to jump.
He said for parents who are concerned, the plunge doesn’t have to be a full-body dip. He said, “You can make it what you want.”
Some may choose to jump in waste deep, while others may only get into the water ankle deep.
“It’s the fact that you are there and you want to show them you are committed,” he said of the Special Olympic athletes.
Taylor estimates the temperature during the plunge could possibly be around 40 degrees. He said when he took a similar plunge last year in Lake Norman, the temperature in the water was 45 degrees, but the air temperature was 19 degrees.
Some people may choose to wear costumes, he said.
Organizers will give away prizes for best costumes, the school that raises the most money and the civic organization that has the most jumpers. After the event, organizers will have a bonfire, music and food for those in attendance.
Athletes who compete in Special Olympics have 100 percent of their related costs paid for via sponsors and fundraisers like this event.
“It helps them to achieve. I tell my students. You are automatically labeled because you have a disability. Let’s drop the ‘dis’ in disability,” Taylor said.
He said the Special Olympics helps some participants find something they are good at and helps them achieve goals to their maximum potential.
Interim Special Olympics Coordinator Nancy Collins said one West Rowan High student already is hoping to create a team. David Miller with Rowan Early College has already committed to participate.
“We are a year-round program and it takes dollars to keep it going,” Collins said.
She said they are appreciative of all of the sponsors and the people willing to participate.
The event will include:
• check-in/registration, 8 a.m.-9 a.m.
• costume contest, 9:15 a.m.
• plunge, 10 a.m.
• little bit plunge (kids 10 and under), 10:30 a.m.
• post plunge party (food, music, bonfire, awards) 11 a.m.
For more information about the Blue Nose Polar Plunge or to register visit http://www.firstgiving.com/sonc/bluenosepolarplunge

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