Polar Bear Plunge Delivers a Shiver in its 33rd Year

Local News

Few events deliver a shiver quite like the Polar Bear Plunge.
And it all started because a kid lost a bet.

That kid–J.R. Jarosh–founded the plunge and still runs the operation today.

“Here we are–33 years later and thousands of swimmers that have done it since then,” said J.R. Jarosh, founder of the Jacksonport Polar Bear Club.

Before you put another layer on, maybe it is not so bad.
Familiar, even.

“We’ve all been in the shower when someone flushes the toilet and you get that little blast,” he said. “Well, that’s like 65-degree water. This is 32-degree water.”

Knowing that–we had to ask why anyone would do this.

“It was very cold,” said Spencer Krause of Fish Creek. “I wasn’t thinking, really.”

“Holy crap!” said Brady Ash of Ellison Bay. “That water’s freakin’ cold!”

“It takes your breath away a little bit!” said Chris Powell, who came up from Milwaukee.

“Honestly, there’s a lot of regret,” said Monique and Helen from Fish Creek.

But some of these plungers have nerves of steel.

“I think I’ve done this maybe ten times,” said Monique. 
“‘Ten times and you had regret on number 10?’ Yeah, well I have a reputation to uphold, so I had to do it again.”

“It’s very temporary, you’re only in for a few seconds, and the memories last far longer than the goosebumps,” said Jarosh.

Well, there’s always next year.

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