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You can plunge yourself into chilly waters any day of the year and receive a number of health benefits but when you plunge into the icy waters at the Mesquite Recreation Center  Outdoor Pool on Jan. 20, you’ll be doing it for a very special, fundraising reason.

The money raised will help to provide sports training and competition opportunities to the Special Olympics athletes currently served, right here in Mesquite.

From as far back as the 1920s Canadian residents have flocked to Vancouver, BC, where they plunge into the icy cold waters of the English Bay to celebrate the New Year. Americans have adapted that tradition as a means of fundraising; many events are held annually across the United States.

The largest Polar Plunge fundraising event, the “Plugapalooza,” which raises money for Special Olympics, is held at Sandy Point State Park in Maryland where they’ve had participants numbering 12,000 or better.

For the privilege of experiencing that icy blast right here at the Mesquite Recreation Center pool on Jan. 20, you’ll need to raise a minimum of $125, but you don’t have to stop there; in this case, more is always better.

Raise the minimum and you’ll receive an official Feel the Thrill of the Chill long sleeve Polar Plunge t-shirt and a barbecue lunch of hot dogs and hamburgers with all the fixings.

While enjoying lunch, you can take in the post plunge festivities including awards presentations for tops fundraisers and best costumes. Oh yeah; costumes are encouraged and add to the fun.

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Watch the Mesquite Police team, once again, compete against the Mesquite Fire and Rescue team as they race blocks of ice down the pool for bragging rights as the “coolest” team in town.

Guests can join you for the barbecue lunch for $5 per person.

If you really want to make a “splashy” entrance, for an additional $10 donation, you can slip into the pool from the slide.

If you don’t want to feel the thrill of the chill you can still get sponsors and give; just register as a chicken.  You’ll be excused from plunging but still enjoy all the festivities and incentive rewards that the plungers receive.

Don’t fool yourself though, plunging into icy cold water may have some health benefits for the already healthy but if you aren’t in tip top shape, you may want to consider the risks.

The event involves risks of serious bodily injury, including permanent disability, paralysis and death. These risks may be caused by your own actions or inactions, those of others participating in the event, the conditions in which the event takes place, or the negligence of the “Releasees.”

The “Releasees” refer to the sponsors and volunteers running the event. Children under the age of 18 must bring of copy of the waiver, available through the web site, signed by a parent or guardian.

So get some sponsors, raise $125 or more and take that “special” icy plunge on Jan. 20. Registration opens at 10 a.m. The costume contest will be at 11:30 a.m. and the plunge is at noon. Immediately following the plunge they will host he post-plunge festivities.

For complete information, rules and waiver forms, visit their web site at: