by Jim Boyle
Shiver Elk River’s second annual plunge was bigger, better and faster than the inaugural one, but every bit as cold and wet for 90 plungers who jumped, fell or found some other way into the chilly waters of Lake Orono this past Saturday.
This year’s event featured twice as many jumpers, and the number of organizations and charities that will benefit from all the crazy antics climbed to 17.
“A week ago we had 26 jumpers signed up, and today — on the day of the jump — we have almost 90,” said Debbi Rydberg, the president of the Elk River Chamber of Commerce that put the event on with the help of a 20-member committee.
One of the jumpers to register last minute was Del Bauers, who says he was talked into it by Alan Sakry, who spearheaded last year’s event and emceed it before jumping into the lake himself.
Sakry suffered a stroke on Jan. 10 and has begun a long road to recovery. He continues to have the drive and determination that he has become known for in the Elk River community. And he continued to advocate for the event, even though the stroke took away much of his speech.
Sakry got to Bauers this past Friday from his hospital bed. Afterward, Bauers drove from the hospital to the chamber to register, raising an impressive amount of money along the way.
Bauers was part of one of the two groups that raised money for a Sakry benefit fund.
The other, Alan’s Army, was the last to jump. Video of their jump was livestreamed into Sakry’s hospital room. He reportedly grinned from ear-to-ear and was so excited to be there with everyone, according to his Caring Bridge site. “This gave him great motivation to work hard all day with his therapists,” the site said.
A separate video of Bauers’ earlier jump was made into a You Tube video that’s been labeled “Shiver Elk River for Alan Sakry.”
It’s estimated that at least $15,000 was raised for the various organizations and charities, Rydberg said.
The organizations are:
•Central Lutheran Church (Alan Sakry Benefit)
•Multiple Sclerosis Society
•American Heart Association
•American Cancer Society
•SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education)
•Special Olympics Elk River Area
•Boys & Girls Club — Elk River
•New Life Family Services
•Elk River Rotary (Alan Sakry Benefit)
•Make a Wish
•Children’s Hospital Foundation
•Animal Humane Society
•Sherburne County Area United Way
John Osterman, the voice of the Elk River Elks football team, emceed the plunge this year. He opened the event by singing “America the Beautiful.”
The lifelong resident kept the event moving along — until Sakry’s team was readying to jump. The crowd was asked to hang tight while the camera equipment was positioned and fired up to record for Sakry’s benefit.
They jumped, bringing a conclusion to the plunge portion of Shiver Elk River 2012.
After all the splashing around, there was a chili contest on the shores of Lake Orono and ice bowling, slapshots and ice golf for people of all ages on the ice-covered lake. Across the lake and down on Main Street there was a hockey tournament in the Handke Pit.