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‘Good sports’ to take plunge Saturday for Special Olympics
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

January 07. 2013 6:00AM
Brandon Valley’s first and second Polar Plunges were such a success – and a whole lot of fun to watch from the sidelines – so the bone-chilling event is back for a third year.

The third annual Brandon Valley Polar Plunge is scheduled for this Saturday. Registration starts at 11 a.m. and the jumping will commence at noon on the north side of the high school. Temperatures are expected to take a dip this weekend, according to forecasted weather reports.

Benefactors from the Polar Plunge are the local and state Special Olympics programs, which will share proceeds raised from the event.

Brandon Valley Special Olympics coach Scott Carroll hopes excitement for the event will build this week around the schools and community.

“It might not be as big as it has in the past,” Carroll said last week following a two-week hiatus from classes. “It’s so soon after the holidays and it’s a busy time but we’re still hoping for some good numbers.”

The goal of the event, after all, is to raise funds for the state and local Special Olympics programs.

“It all goes back to the kids,” Carroll said.

Tim Sylliaasen, a fourth grade teacher at Robert Bennis Elementary, has taken the plunge for two years. Despite the bone-chilling water he’s thrown his body into, Sylliaasen is eager to make the leap once again.

“I do it because it goes to a great cause and a great group of kids,” he said.
“Numerous students who benefit from this have been in my class or I have had contact with throughout my years of teaching, so it is an event that I look forward to being part of every year.”

Brandon Valley’s 2012 Polar Plunge garnered huge success, raising more than $20,000. But Carroll will be happy with whatever contributions come in.

“Anytime you fundraise you want to set a goal, but if we don’t get that goal, I’ll be perfectly happy be because any support the community can give is great,” he said.

Fifty percent of the proceeds raised from the BV Polar Plunge are directed to the local Special Olympics program; the remaining half goes to Special Olympics of South Dakota.

Like all of the sports programs at Brandon Valley, there are program needs. Some of the money raised from the 2011 event was used to pay for state bowling tournament costs (hotel and meal expenses). Last year, some of the funds were used to purchase warm-up jackets, bags and jerseys for the athletes, Carroll said.

Carroll said funds will be used for much of the same thing.

“We’re starting basketball practice next week and will need some clothing – sweatshirts, backpacks and hotel and meal money for state bowling in Aberdeen,” he explained.

While part of the fun is seeing the expressions of the jumpers as they exit the winter-chilled water, the costumes the participants take the plunge in are of equal highlight.

“Costumes are encouraged and often the hit of the show, as well as watching everyone's face as they come out of the ice water,” Carroll said. “A lot of the teachers signed up are putting some costumes on. That’s the fun of the whole thing.”

There’s also an opportunity to get involved with the Polar Plunge without getting wet, Carroll said. “Too Chicken” participants can register online to raise funds for the cause.

There will also be incentive prizes for all “plungers” and “too chicken” participants. Prize levels will be at $100, $250, $500, $1,000 and $1,500.

And once again, 212º The Boiling Point in Brandon will have a post-Polar Plunge party where the video of the event will be shown.
What: Brandon Valley Polar Plunge
When: Saturday, Jan. 12 – 11 a.m., registration; noon, Plunge begins
Where: Parking lot on north side of Brandon Valley High School
For information: Contact Scott Carroll at 310-6800 or Todd Bradwisch at 331-4117 or by email at
To register: Go to and click on “January 12 Brandon.”

Brandon Valley teachers Tim Sylliaasen (left) and Scott Carroll, dressed as Uncle Ed's cousin from "Christmas Vacation," took the plunge in 2012. The local Polar Plunge is this Saturday. Challenger file photo/Jill Meier

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