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Look, it’s Super Plunger

07_02Polar16.jpgMore than 300 hearty souls braved high winds and cold water Thursday to participate in the ninth annual Polar Plunge benefiting Watauga County Special Olympics. Mike O’Conner, left, director of Appalachian Sate University’s Physical Plant, was among the first to take the plunge into the university’s duck pond off Rivers Street. The jumpers raised $12,266.76, the most in the event’s history.

The event was sponsored by law enforcement agencies from across the county. “On behalf of the police departments from Appalachian, Blowing Rock, Boone and Appalachian Regional Health Care System, the Watauga County Sherriff’s office and Watauga County Parks and Recreation, I’d like to thank all the participants for helping us reach this record-breaking amount,” said Gunther Doerr, chief of university police.

“This money provides the bulk of the annual operating budget for Special Olympics Watauga County. And, a part of the funds raised will support 35 Special Olympics athletes from Watauga County who compete today (Feb. 23) in the SONC Basketball & Cheerleading Competition in Cabarrus County. More than 1,000 athletes from across the state will compete at the event,” Doerr said.

Mark Bowen, pictured back right, from Appalachian’s Physical Plant was the top fundraiser with $870.65 in pledges. The top groups were Kappa Delta sorority ($58) and Appalachian’s ROTC program ($490). Spencer Price (quail man costume) and Tonya Becene (Cuban explosion costume) won the most extreme costume competition.