On New Year’s Day, 64 sliders welcomed the new decade with a big splash.
Presbyterian Mo-Ranch’s 27th Annual Polar Bear Plunge kicked off at 1 p.m. on Jan. 1 with volunteers sliding down the 116-foot-long and 35-foot-high Mo Slide into the 50-degree Guadalupe River.
The community event, which included a food tent, hot chocolate, s’mores, campfires and live broadcasting from 96.5 & 93.9 The Fox radio station, raised $70,004, all of which will be going to this year’s beneficiary, Hill Country Youth Ranch, a home for abused and abandoned children in Ingram.
“We are proud to partner with Hill Country Youth Ranch for this amazing event,” said Dick Powell, president and CEO of Mo-Ranch. “They are called to do the Lord’s work for the kids of our community and go above and beyond the call of duty. It just goes to show you can make an impact in your own backyard.”
Specifically, proceeds from this record-breaking year will go to HCYR’s Children’s Funds, which ensures that basic childhood experiences — like birthday parties, field trips and allowances are met.
This was the first year Amanda Chipman, Human Resources coordinator for HCYR, attended the plunge. She said she got emotional watching the kids from the ranch participate in the plunge.
“My husband, Kevin Chipman, and brother- in-law, Michael Baird, both took the plunge and I was so proud of them, but I got choked up watching my babies (the ranch children) slide down,” Chipman said. “One of our missions is to make lasting memories with children and I know this is something they will never forget we strive to put positive memories in the forefront and Mo’s Polar Bear Plunge is going to be one of them.”
Several of the participants showed up in costume, and Luigi, Cupid and even Frozen’s Olaf made an appearance.
This year, Todd Hardee, Mo-Ranch’s human resources coordinator served as the event’s emcee. He introduced all of the sliders and read off interesting facts about them as they made their way up the slide.
At the top, they were met by Kathy Anderson Mo-Ranch chaplain, who offered a friendly smile of encouragement before they took off down the slide.
Polar Pear Plunge awards were given to: Krystle Ramsay, Largest Induvial Fundraiser and the Polar Bear Queen; Big Dawgs, Largest Team Fundraiser, made up of Jonah Priour, Jakob Neubam, Trey Toothman and Michael Baird; James Karthauser, Biggest Splash; Jakob Neubaum, Longest Ride; Mark Piper, oldest Polar Bear; Jonah Priour, Polar Bear With the Best Costume and Susan Sharp, Polar Bear Farthest From Home, who traveled to Mo-Ranch from Nooksack Washington, which is 2,616 miles away.
The Polar Bear Plunge has raised over $370,000 to-date for local nonprofits. Prior Polar Bear Plunge beneficiaries include organizations such as Partners in Ministry, Christian Women’s Job Corps, Star Ranch, Hill Country College Fund, Christian Assistance Ministry, Kid’s Advocacy Place, Habitat for Humanity, K-Star, BCFS Health and Human Services, Hill Country CARES, Kerr County United Way and The Salvation Army of Kerrville, Young Life and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Sponsors of this year’s plunge were Kerrville Public Utility Board, Sysco, Terminix, Ben E. Keith, Broadway Bank, H-E-B and Frost Bank.
For more information on how to apply to become the nonprofit beneficiary for the 28th Annual Mo-Ranch Polar Bear Plunge, visit moranch.org/polarbearplunge or contact Breanna Larsen at (830) 460-4401, ext. 272.