Bluffton Indiana’s first New Year’s Day Icewater Plunge

Bluffton Indiana’s first New Year’s Day Icewater Plunge

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Bluffton Indiana’s first Polar Bear Dip

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Running out after the plunge….

Blufftonite Lee Coleman proposed this historic event.   Why not have one of those Polar Bear plunges into cold water that we’ve all read about?  Talk about an idea whose time had come!
Mayor Ted Ellis was the first to sign the list, in the warmth of his office.

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Bluffton hasn’t seen such a crowd since we had the first Demolition Derby in 2001.  All the country roads were parked up on both sides.  It looked like an auction in May, but it was one of the coldest January firsts ever, and the target pond was lightly frozen over.  The crowd of onlookers grew like weeds, but the amazing thing was the number of plungers on hand.  With no more suspense, here we go! Last one in is a dirty rotten egg!    Um, except for the announcements…. hold on.  

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dip795.jpg (5890 bytes) But wait! Mayor Ellis had some last words for the swimmers.   They were too cold to shiver as they listened to his remarks before they hit the water.  Ok, now we’re ready…..

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The very last two swimmers to exit the icebath.

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dip776.jpg (9237 bytes)dip775.jpg (7124 bytes)dip780.jpg (12366 bytes)dip785.jpg (8638 bytes)dip787.jpg (9035 bytes)dipt816.jpg (6764 bytes)dip786.jpg (14678 bytes)dip781.jpg (6104 bytes)dip783.jpg (8751 bytes)  Taking no chances, you see that the Advanced Life Support ambulance was standing by.  Smart call, even though it wasn’t needed. 

dip789.jpg (8805 bytes)The elder statesman of the plunge was Jim Barbieri of the Bluffton News-Banner.  He himself went into the frozen pond to take photos.  Do not expect that level of bravery from this writer.  Thanks to all the good sports who made this event so memorable!!!!!

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Overview of the lake/pond/gravelpit/scene of the “crime.”

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Bluffton Police Department Deputy Chief of Police Tammy Schaffer shares a happy moment with polar plunger Mr. Shoemaker of the Bluffton-Harrison Middle School.

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(I don’t make the official city website.)

My main effort is the five e-zines in Our Tentative Times For corrections, contact Sandra Weinhardt,