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Powerboat Club Members Going Hypothermic for Special Olympics

In 2009, approximately 50 people took to the water for Plungapalooza.

For me, this one falls under the heading of, “I think I’ll just send a check.” But you have to admire—or at least fear—the 50 or so members of the Chesapeake Bay Power Boat Club who will participate in the organization’s Plungapalooza event on Jan. 30. For the participants, who will be cheered on by friends, families and random onlookers shaking their heads, that means taking a dip in the Chesapeake Bay.

In case you’re wondering, the current water temperature for the bay is 34 degrees—just a couple of degrees above freezing. And the chance of the water “warming up” between now and Jan. 30 is about as good as getting me to fly east to join these folks.

But it’s all for a good cause, as proceeds from the Plungapalooza—each participant is sponsored by friends and family—go to the Special Olympics. In 2009, the first year in which the event was held, the group raised more than $12,000. Ted Ginnity, who became president of the club, which has approximately 400 members, this month told me this morning that he believes the  2010 event will raise $15,000 to $20,000.

“One of our clubs members, Jimmy Jernigan brought the ‘Polar Bear Swim’ to us last year, so this is our second year doing it,” said Ginnity. “The Special Olympics is a great cause because so much of the money raised goes to the actual event.”

The daylong Plungapalooza festivities will include live music, a carnival and a (tented, of course) beer garden.

A 2009 Plungapalooza participant gets ready to hit the water.

“Last year, the bay unfroze just enough to put a boat out there, and we made an ‘iceberg’ out of it,” said Ginnity, who did not mention whether or not he would be taking the plunge. “But we can kind of had to break the ice to get it out there.”

The links above will get you to Plungapalooza and registration—if you dare. As I said, I’m just going to send a check.