J.C. Feger of Mexico has made a polar bear-type plunge each year for 11 years to raise money for the Special Olympics of Missouri. His record of 11 plunges will increase to 35 on Feb. 22 as he takes part in the 2019 Super Plunge at the Lake of the Ozarks public access beach. Over a 24-hour period he will take part in 24 polar bear-type plunges.

A polar bear plunge is when a person jumps into freezing cold water turns around and comes out. Feger has raised $1,500 of his $2,500 goal so far, and he has up until Feb. 22 to raise the remaining $1,000, or he won’t get to participate in the 24-hour Super Plunge event, in which participants take 24 separate dips into the frigid water.

“I’ve done the polar plunge here in Mexico since it began in 2009. Since Mexico wasn’t having one this year, I wanted to go out and do a plunge somewhere else since this is my 11th year plunging I thought, ‘Hey, this would something kind of cool to do,’” Feger said.

He said this was definitely stepping things up a notch since the Mexico event did not happen. It was something to push his limits, he said.

“I’ve been going to local businesses asking for a sponsorship, and then friends and family,” Feger said. “Local businesses, anyone that wants to donate $125, basically they’re sponsoring a plunge. So, for whatever hour that they sponsor I’ll go in and carry a sign in with their name or their business. They get a certificate saying, ‘Thanks’ from the Special Olympics of Missouri.”

He said the Super Plunge event is coordinated by the Special Olympics and the Law Enforcement Torch Run and all money raised will support Special Olympics athletes in Missouri. Feger first learned about polar plunges in 2008 when he saw a poster about them at the Alpine Shop in Columbia, he said.

“It’s a good event,” he said. “It raises a lot of money for Special Olympics. They’ve just built a new facility in Jefferson City, a sporting complex where they can hold their events, training and things like that.”

Polar plunges are typically sponsored by the Special Olympics in Missouri, Feger said. There are 11 events which happen each year.

“Special Olympics is a great cause. The athletes are amazing and they’re doing a really good thing, so I just thought, ‘Hey, how can I get involved,’ and saw (the poster) and thought that was a neat way to (get involved),” he said. “You do something crazy and it gets people’s attention. I’ve been told I’m a little crazy for doing (the Super Plunge), but I’ve survived all the other plunges.”

Feger said he’s looking forward to the Feb. 22 event when he’ll get a chance to meet a number of Special Olympics athletes, along with the camaraderie he gets from other plunge participants. He also sees it as a way to show his support of the Mexico community and its Special Olympics athletes.

Those seeking to donate to Feger can contact him through Facebook or through his fundraising page on the special olympics website. As with his previous jumps, Feger plans on entering the water with his oversized rubber duck named “Ducky.”