Shiver Elk River kicks off Saturday, Feb. 12

by Joni Astrup
Associate editor
Shiver Elk River, billed as a “community chill-a-bration,” will kick off Saturday, Feb. 12.
Events will include the Shiver Plunge, a chili cookoff, snow golf, sled dog demonstrations, outdoor hockey tournament, open skating, sledding and cross-country skiing. Tickets will also be on sale for the Ice Break 2011 contest. Most events will be at Lions Park in Elk River.
The family-friendly Shiver Elk River is sponsored by the Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce.
“I hope it’s a lot of fun for everybody in the community,” said Debbi Rydberg, chamber president. More information about Shiver Elk River is available at
Here’s a rundown by event.

Shiver Plunge

At least five teams and up to 30 people are expected to jump into Lake Orono during the Shiver Plunge. The first person will jump at 10 a.m.
Each person will be raising money for a charity and 100 percent of pledges will go to those charities. “It really is an opportunity for the community to rally around our local non-profits,” Rydberg said.
Among the recipients will be the CAER food shelf, YMCA, Elk River Area School District scholarship fund and Hope for the Hurting Home.
Master of ceremonies for the Shiver Plunge will be Alan Sakry of Mortgages Unlimited, who also is chairman of the chamber’s board. He is jumping with a team raising money for Hope for the Hurting Home, and will be the last person to jump in the lake. See story at bottom of page.

Chili cookoff
Seven local restaurants have signed up so far to participate in the chili cookoff at Lions Park. They are Holiday Inn Mississippi Valley Grill and Bar, Rockwoods Grill, Perkins, Broadway Pizza, Denny’s, Olde Main Eatery and Coborn’s.
From 11:30 a.m. until the chili is gone, people will be able to buy an “ample sample” for $1 from each of the restaurants of their choice.
People may vote for their favorite chili. The People’s Choice winner will get a trophy.
In addition to the chili, there will be other food available at Lions Park. The Lions will be selling brats and hot dogs, Sweet P’s will sell ice cream and the Women’s Leadership Council of the United Way will serve hot and cold beverages.

Dogsled demos
A dogsled team will be at Lions Park and there will be demonstrations at 12:30 p.m. and 1:15 p.m. near the bandshell. See story below.

Hockey tournament
An outdoor hockey tournament gets under way at Handke Stadium at about 9 a.m. See for details.

Snow golf
Free snow golf, played with golf clubs and tennis balls, will be offered at Lions Park from 1–3 p.m. There will be some clubs available, but people are invited to bring a 4, 5 or 6 iron from their own set of golf clubs.
Snow golf will be  played on the Frisbee golf course; hole sponsors will set up a game at each hole.

Skate, sled and ski
There will be open skating and sledding and cross-country skiing at Lions Park all day.

This car sitting on Lake Orono is the focus of the Ice Break 2011 contest.

Ice Break 2011
Ice Break 2011 centers on the time a red Grand Prix will break through the ice of Lake Orono. The car was placed on the lake on Thursday, and is visible from Highway 10.
There will be 720 tickets available for $20 each. Each ticket represents one minute of the day, a.m. or p.m. When the car goes through the ice this spring, the time of day it goes through will determine the winner. The prize is $2,011.
Tickets are available at the chamber office and a number of area businesses (see for the list.) Tickets also will be sold during Shiver Elk River.

Dogsledder started with one dog; now has 37 of them

Several Siberian huskies will be at the Shiver Elk River event as part of a dogsledding demonstration.
The dogs are some of Dawn Lanning’s retired sled dogs. She is a dogsledder who owns Hastings Huskies and Horses. Her son, Shawn Lanning, will be with the dogs in Elk River.
She said people will be able to see the dogs, climb on the sled and look at the equipment. The dogs will not be pulling the sled. Shawn Lanning will talk about dogsledding during demonstrations at 12:30 p.m. and 1:15 p.m. near the bandshell at Lions Park in Elk River.

Two of Dawn Lanning's sled dogs.

Dawn Lanning got her first Siberian husky from a coworker of her mom’s. Then two other people had Siberian huskies they couldn’t keep so she took those, too.
“Now I was up to three and I decided maybe I should start doing something with these guys,” she said.

She got involved with a dogsledding club about 14 years ago and began dogsledding. She is a recreational dogsledder and does not race.
“In the racing world, Siberians are known as ‘Slowberians’,” Lanning joked. “They’re much too slow to be competitive, especially (in) sprint racing.” Racers typically use Alaskan huskies, she said.
Lanning has 37 dogs now, mostly Siberian huskies. She loves the Siberian husky, saying it’s a “very personable” kind of dog.
She began doing programs in 2000 and “it’s just kind of grown from there,” she said.
For more information, go to

One ‘Plunge’ team will help ministry to soldiers

Alan Sakry will be jumping into a frigid Lake Orono during Elk River’s Shiver Plunge on Feb. 12.
“I am a little nervous about jumping,” acknowledged Sakry, who chairs the Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. “I have never done a polar plunge before … It will be very, very interesting to see how it feels.”
Sakry and a team of three others will jump to raise money for Hope for the Hurting Home, a ministry aimed at saving troubled marriages.
Sakry also will be the master of ceremonies at the Shiver Plunge. The plunge begins at 10 a.m. People will be jumping into water that’s about 4.5 feet deep, Sakry said.
His team also includes Rick Gallagher of GuideSource, Tabitha Johnson of EVA (Executive Virtual Assistant) and Jacklyn Christian of First OP LLC.

Alan Sakry
Tabitha Johnson
Jacklyn Christian
Rick Gallagher

Gallagher had this to say about his upcoming jump: “I’ve been told to go jump in the lake and, by golly, I’m going to do it.”
Gallagher is on the board for the non-profit organization Reconciliation Associates, of which Hope for the Hurting Home is a part. The ministry is based in Plymouth.
Hope for the Hurting Home seeks to help soldiers and their marriages.
Gallagher said soldiers see and experience difficult things while deployed oversees. At the same time, their spouses at home are often operating as single parents. “When they come back, the reintegration back into marriage and back into life together can be very, very difficult,” he said.
The divorce rate at Fort Hood, for instance, is over 80 percent, he said.
Hope for the Hurting Home offers marriage seminars on military bases and also offers free marriage counseling to soldiers. The Sakry-Gallagher-Johnson-Christian team has already raised more than $6,000 for Hope for the Hurting Family. For more information, go to

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