UPDATE: From pirates to pink rabbits, ‘Plunge’ aids Special Olympics



LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – More than 100 people took a special plunge Saturday morning.

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The annual Polar Plunge had brave souls jump into a pool of cold water to raise money for Special Olympics.

One of the biggest groups taking part were Danny’s Captains. Family and friends dressed in pirate gear to pay tribute to Danny Faulconer, who volunteered for Special Olympics for more than 30 years.

He died in February, but his spirit lived on as pirates of all kinds took their turns jumping into the water.

And if the pirates weren’t enough, individuals and groups put their favorite spin on the cold with everything from fairies and princesses to pink rabbits.

They all had their own reasons for taking the plunge.

“I am a school bus driver and my husband’s uncle was Down syndrome and I believe it’s a good cause,” said Peggy Watkins.

“I have a niece with Down syndrome and I drive a special needs school bus and it’s a great cause for the children, echoed Elaine Sandiford.

Dozens of family and friends watched the event, which was held at the Texas Roadhouse on Richmond Road. It raised almost $73,000.


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Things will be a little different than in years past, but the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Kentucky will return to Lexington on Saturday, March 6.

First among the changes is that the 2021 event will move across the street with its longtime host to the new Texas Roadhouse location on Richmond Rd.

Other changes being made are COVID precautions to keep the event both safe and fun this year. It will still be time to get the Chill of a Lifetime by taking a chilly dip either at Texas Roadhouse, or on your own to support Special Olympics athletes.

This year there are two ways for Participants (or Plungers) to take part. The live Plunge will get underway at 10 a.m. for those Plungers who wish to take part that way.

Anyone who wants to support the Plunge but isn’t ready for a live event, is encouraged to find a creative way to Plunge on their own by registering for the Personal Plunge.

All Plungers raise a minimum of $75 ($50 minimum for students 18 and under) with all money going to Special Olympics Kentucky. All types of Plungers can register and raise money online at lexingtonplunge.com. All participants receive the official Polar Plunge T-shirt but can earn additional prizes for raising more money.

The Personal Plunge is just one of many COVID-related adjustments to the Polar Plunge to keep the event fun, but also safe. Masks will be mandatory at all times at the event, except for participants while Plunging. The Plunge will take place in segments to limit the number of people on site at any given time. Groups will be required to designate one person to register their entire team to limit congestion in the registration process. And fewer Plungers will jump at a time and all will change in individual changing tents after leaving the water. A complete set of COVID preparations can be found at lexingtonplunge.com.

Day-of-event check-in for the Polar Plunge begins at 10 a.m. at Texas Roadhouse, and Plunging will begin immediately after.

Prizes will be awarded to the top fundraising university or school group, top fundraising law enforcement group, top fundraising corporate group and the top fundraising team. Prizes will also be awarded to the team and individual with the best costumes.

Last year nearly 400 people took the Plunge in Lexington, raising almost $65,000. In 23 years, Polar Plunges across the state have raised more than $8.5 Million for Special Olympics.

Special Olympics is the world’s largest program of sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Participation is open to all individuals eight years of age or older. Training and competition in local, area, state, and national programs is offered year-round in 15 Olympic-style sports in Kentucky. For more information about Special Olympics Programs, visit www.soky.org.