by Barb Boose, editor of DMU Magazine
Some people enjoy winter, some hate it and others simply tolerate it. But on a recent frigid Friday night in Des Moines, a unique group not only enjoyed it, they literally leapt into it.
First-year DMU students John Budi and Jayten Shook were among approximately 100 people who kicked off the Des Moines Winter Games with the Polar Plunge, in which the Des Moines Register noted “otherwise seemingly sane, intelligent people dressed in costumes or stripped to their skivvies jumped into a five-foot-deep, barely-above-freezing pond.” Budi and Shook were cow and farmer, respectively.
“It was a huge adrenaline rush,” says Budi, who is from Appleton, Wisconsin. “Then we started running out of the pond.” That’s when Shook, from Fargo, North Dakota, tried tackling his friend, but failed: “I forgot John was a wrestler…and I was falling over because I couldn’t feel my feet.”
The two COM students say the experience didn’t put the Polar Plungers at risk for hypothermia; in fact, it wasn’t as bad as, say, the ice baths each experienced as high school athletes. The participants brought canned goods to donate to a local food bank, too. So will Budi and Shook take the plunge again next winter?
“I’d be excited about getting more people to do it, dressing as a group,” says Budi. “What if we had the whole barnyard?”