Jackalope Jump raises $2,100 for Special Olympics

Mar 2, 2012 By Emily Etheredge, Staff Writer

The "cool" event this weekend was the Jackalope Jump where participants willingly jumped into a pool of freezing water to raise money for Special Olympics.

Fourteen jumpers, dressed as clowns, crooks and everyday people, plunged into a pool provided by the National Guard at Riverton City Hall. The event raised $2,100.

Police chief Mike Broadhead said the event was a lot of fun and that he was pleased with the turnout. He said the jumpers' expressions turned to shock when they first touched the water.

"The firemen who jumped first actually seemed like it wasn't too bad, and I think that set a tone for everyone else who figured it was no biggie," he said. "Then they jumped and were surprised at the cold. This was our first Jackalope Jump, and based on the response, we will do it again next year. Although it was cold, I think people enjoyed the thrill."

In addition to the Riverton Volunteer Fire Department, nursing students from CWC were also on scene to take vital signs of anyone wanting a baseline and to provide assistance if anything went awry. They also stayed in the warm-up area after the jump and monitored everyone.

"We really did everything we could to make sure it was a safe event, and I was pleased it went off without a hitch," Broadhead said.

Special Olympics was founded to give people with intellectual disabilities the chance to participate in individual and team sports.

Riverton police officer Cody Myers dressed up as a crook and jumped in the water and was quickly followed by another officer who jumped in on top of him.

"I thought the plan was to jump in and get out, but as soon as I hit the water, someone jumped in on top of me," Myers said. "The water definitely took my breath away, and I kind of went numb at one point, but it was a lot of fun, and I don't regret doing it at all."

Awards for best costume and most money raised by an individual went to Amanda Murell who raised $340 and dressed as a clown. The Riverton Police Department raised the most money as a group with $1,153. The largest group of jumpers was the Fremont County Fire Department Battalion 1 with six jumpers.

"I think more people will be interested in jumping next year," Broadhead said. "I guess it is kind of like a roller coaster, why do people ride those? For the thrill, and I think these polar plunges are fun for people for the same reasons."

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