Scotts Bluff County - Sheriff's Office

Special Olympics Nebraska

The Polar Plunge is an annual event that challenges participants to show support for Special Olympics Nebraska by plunging into the North Platte River - in the dead of winter. Plungers are encouraged to form teams, dress in costume and share their experience by using the hashtag #BeBoldGetCold. Those brave enough to run into the icy waters raise money by collecting pledges from family and friends. Prizes are awarded for creativity and fundraising.

2024 Panhandle Polar Plunge Saturday, February 24, 2024

Welcome to this year's Polar Plunge. This bone-chilling event invites participants, also known as plungers, to collect pledges from friends and family for plunging into the icy waters of the North Platte River at Riverside Park in Scottsbluff. Participants report to the YMCA Camp: Riverside Park at 1918 South Beltline Highway West, Scottsbluff, NE 69361

A plunger can be anyone with enough nerve and heart, willing to dip more than their toes in some freezing water for a good cause. There is no minimum donation, but donation incentives start at $75 for a long sleeve t-shirt. Plungers can participate on an individual basis or be part of a team. And if you're taking the plunge, just know that this event is all about having fun while doing good. In other words, dress up in a costume or come up with a theme for your team, the wackier the better.

Check-in begins at 9:30 a.m. Teams and individual plunges will start at 10:30 a.m. Immediately following the plunge, plan to join Special Olympics Nebraska and the rest of our supporters at the annual Post-Plunge Party also at the YMCA camp located at 1918 S Beltline Hwy West. Polar Plunge merchandise will also be available for purchase at the party. Friends and family members of the plungers are also invited to attend the post-plunge party.



So You're Thinking About Doing the Polar Plunge...

We're happy you want to support Special Olympics through this unique fundraiser. Jumping into frigid water in winter isn't something people do every day, so here are some tips for your first plunge experience.

Steps to taking the Polar Plunge

  1. 1. To register for the plunge, click the link below to create a fundraising page. You can also print out the registration form below and bring it to the plunge day-of to turn in with any offline donations (cash/checks)
  2. Start a team and ask other people to Plunge with you, or join a team.
  3. Collect donations for Special Olympics. You can accept cash or checks written to "Special Olympics Nebraska." You also can receive credit card donations using your Polar Plunge Web page.
  4. At the Plunge you must turn in any offline pledges you receive and bring a print out of your online giving page.
  5. After you've checked in the day of the Plunge, change into your Plunging clothes or costume and wait your turn to Plunge, or it may be even easier to come in your costume. Then you only have to change once.
  6. Take the Plunge!
  7. Hop into the HOT TUB to warm up!
  8. Rush to warm changing area.
  9. Change into warm, dry clothes.
  10. Head to the post-plunge party for food, incentives prizes and fun!

Form a Plunging Team

1. A team consists of more than one person. You’ll probably find that your recruits are able to recruit even more plungers for your team.

2. Get the whole team involved with selecting your team theme and costumes. We do award prizes for best team theme, plus teams seem to have more fun when they are all in costume together.

3. As team captain, register online at When you open the register link, select register for an event and follow the instructions. Classy will ask you if you are part of a team, click yes and enter your team name.

4. Distribute plunger information to team members. Each plunger must register as an individual, but they should link themselves to your team. You may also want to give each person a copy of the registration form to help manage so they have all the details of the plunge. Make sure that each plunger knows your team name (remember, each person must raise $75 to receive a t-shirt).

5. At the Plunge: determine if you will handle everything for your team, including the responsibility of checking in the entire group, or have each person do it themselves.

6. After you plunge join all the other teams and plungers at the post-plunge party. You can pick up your incentives, possible win prizes, eat and enjoy the afternoon with your team.


Looking for Some "Cool" Fundraising Ideas?

Look no further! Try out these tips and strategies to secure your Polar Plunge pledges.

Ask Amount Total
(Bring your lunch to work one or two days a week)
1 x $50   $50
Two family members
(Think Mom, Dad, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin.we all have them!)
4 x $20   $80
Five friends
(Have several friends over for dinner and ask them all at once)
5 x $10   $50
Four coworkers
(Display a donation bucket in your place of business)
5 x $5   $25
Four neighbors
(Not comfortable knocking on doors? Write a letter and insert a return envelope)
4 x $5   $20
Someone from your book club or athletic team
(A lot of times you will hear "Sure, I'll donate as long I don't have to plunge." They have no idea what they're missing out on!)
1 x $25   $25
Your hairdresser, dry cleaner , banker or doctor
(You support them, so they may support you)
1 x $25   $25
  • Encourage donors to ask their companies for matching gift forms. Many donors are not aware this is an option. Matching gifts can double (or even triple) the original donation amount.
  • Utilize your social media profiles! Let your friends know what you are up to and encourage them to join your efforts or better yet, challenge you!
  • Set up your e-mail signature with a link to your online fundraising page, by using a polar-inspired graphic.
  • If you didn't receive an answer the first time you asked, ask again! Sometimes people mean to donate, but they don't get around to it. Friendly reminder e-mails, progress updates, etc. help to nudge the process along.
  • Get creative and have fun!

How to Create a Fundraising Page

Please help show your support for Special Olympics Nebraska by creating an online fundraising page.  It's quick and easy!

Go to

Here's how it works:

  1. Once you’re on the Panhandle Polar Plunge site, click the red Online Registration button.
  2. 2. Click on Become a Fundraiser, and follow the prompts.
  3. Follow the instructions to enter your contact information and join a team if you have one.
  4. Create an online fundraising page by clicking Create Your Page.
  5. Personalize the text and photo on your fundraising page, to express your passion and why you are supporting Special Olympics Nebraska.
  6. Set a fundraising goal. The sky is the limit!
  7. Activate your page by sending out an email with the link to your fundraising page asking for support from family, friends, colleagues...anyone you can think of to help you reach your goal. Remember, there are no boundaries with this fundraising tool.  Potential supporters can be emailed all over the country, even all over the world. 

Polar Plunge Tips

Wear shoes when you Plunge

It is required that Plungers wear shoes. We recommend tennis shoes, water shoes or sandals that strap to your feet, not flip flops please. This will keep your feet from freezing as you wait for your turn and some of our Nebraska lakes and rivers do have rocky bottoms.

Safety first!

Each Plunge has EMS and a Dive Team on site to protect you. There are very few occasions where emergency help is needed, but it's always nice to have someone in the water and near the water to help.

We do ask all plungers to help us keep the event safe by stressing that there is NO DIVING. Plungers actually run or walk into the water that's only a depth of 3-4 ft, so diving is not permitted.

Bring a towel and change of clothes to help you warm up.

Each Plunge location has a changing tent to change in after you plunge. It's also nice to have a buddy with you to hold your towels or blankets so you can wrap up right away and then change.

Make your Plunge unique with a creative costume.

Costumes aren't required, but add to the festivities. You may even leave with a prize for best costume or team theme!

Remember... this is a family event

Plungers wearing inappropriate costumes or swim wear may be asked to leave. This is a family event with plungers of all ages. Please use your best judgment.

Bask in the glory of your achievement!

Not everyone has taken the plunge. You will have accomplished something extraordinary, supporting Special Olympics while having the time of your life.

Panhandle Polar Plunge Contacts

  • Rose Swenson, Special Olympics Nebraska Events & Law Enforcement Partnership Manager at 402-331-5545, ext. 15,
  • Charlie 402-490-5886 and Gloria 402-681-7265 Kennedy
  • Dennis and Sharon Gregory at 308 641-7543
  • Tim Flick, Nebraska State Patrol, 308 632-1211
  • Jason Rogers, Gering PD, 308 436-5089
  • Bobbi Kuhlman, Scottsbluff PD 308 630-6265
  • Mark Overman, Scotts Bluff County Sheriff Ofc, 308 436-2648

Panhandle Polar Plunge Information and Links