Do you have what it takes?

By Keith Strange

February 4, 2014

DOBSON — Consider it an opportunity to test your mettle while helping a worthy cause.

Or, if you had rather, you can also consider it an opportunity to watch people throw themselves into a frigid river.

Whatever the reason, organizers say this year’s second annual Polar Plunge is going to be one for the record books.

According to Surry County Parks and Recreation Department Director Daniel White, this year’s event, set Saturday at Fisher River State Park in Dobson, is going to be much bigger and better than last year’s.

White said the 2013 inaugural event was more of a trial run.

“Since it was the first time we did it, we didn’t really know what to expect, but it turned out to be very successful with the eight participants thoroughly enjoying it,” he said.”This year it’s going really well considering it’s going to be our first year of opening it up to participation by the public and the school systems.”

White said sign-ups include school officials that students may eagerly anticipate throwing in a river.

“(Mount Airy City Schools Superintendent Greg Little) will probably be one of the first people in the river this year,” White said. “While I’m not sure, I think they plan on filming his plunge for the students. I know it will certainly be video-worthy.”

Other confirmed plungers this year include Mount Airy Police Chief Dale Watson.

During the event, participants will be divided into teams, and time slots will be assigned to each team so spectators can enjoy the action.

But there is a little work to be done.

To “toss yourself” into the river, participants must raise a minimum of $100.

And then the fun starts.

If you’d rather “toss your mate” into the frigid water, a minimum of $150 must be raised.

To “toss your parents,” (with permission of the parents, of course) it will cost a minimum of $250.

To toss a boss, pastor, principal, teacher or police officer, a minimum of $500 is needed.

White said he is planning on taking a dip Saturday himself, if he can raise more money.

“I still need to get another $250 before Saturday, ” he said. “I’m trying to raise $500 for the Special Olympics and Senior Games this year.”

But it’s more about doing what you can than raising a specific dollar figure, he noted.

“That’s the beauty of this thing,” he said. “We set goals, but it’s more about whatever you can raise. The organizations we’re supporting through this event are two that have to raise everything they spend throughout the year. There aren’t line items in the county budget for the Special Olympics or Senior Games.”

White said more people are welcome, but there may not be enough t-shirts to go around.

“Anyone willing to do it is welcome to sign up,” he said. “I’ve told my staff that if I can raise enough to hit the $500 mark, they can push me in if they want to.”

The event features three time slots, with plungers hitting the water at noon, 12:30 p.m., and 1 p.m.

For more information, call 401-8235.

Keith Strange can be reached at 336-719-1929 or via Twitter at @strangereporter.