by Jim Boyle
Shiver Elk River, a community chill-a-bration put on by the Elk River Area Chamber of Commerce, appears to be hitting its stride.
The third annual event helped raise more than $12,000 for a record number of 19 different nonprofits.
Last year’s event helped 17 groups, including one rallying around Alan Sakry, who spearheaded the first plunge before suffering a stroke.
Last year he watched a video live streamed into his hospital room. This year he was at the event to watch it attract another 79 jumpers for the popular wintertime event.
A few of the jumpers were also some of the 61 people who were part of a first-time 5K race that was added to this year’s event.
Another 96 people played hockey over at Handke Stadium for bragging rights in a men’s tournament and a new co-ed tournament.
There was another chili cook-off between the local pros and amateurs, and there was also ice bowling and ice golf on the frozen Lake Orono.
Debbi Rydberg, executive director of the chamber, said the committee of 19 people worked hard to make Shiver another successful event.
“Everything went off as planned,” she said. “What I like best about this event is everyone gets to do what they’re passionate about.”
John Houlton, president of First National Bank, helped kick this year’s event off jumping into Lake Orono with his wife, Tanna.
Many other First National Bank employees took the plunge as well. The presenting sponsors of the event raised money for Guardian Angels.
John Rosner, the Elk River High School band director, raised money for the band program.
One mother jumped as a tribute to her son Samuel to placard-waving fans who watched in excitement.
Jess Hartfiel, executive director of Great River Family Promise in Elk River, got three generations of family in the act.
The Land of Lakes Choirboys capped off the event with a series of the jumps into the frigid water.
Of course there were many more jumpers between First National’s groups and the choirboys.
Judges of the Shiver Elk River jumpers were Sheriff Joel Brott and Dr. Mark Bezek, superintendent of schools for the Elk River Area School District. The Bank of Elk River won the best plunge competition.
“I think everybody had fun,” Rydberg said.
There was still chili left after the jumping so many people filed back into the food tent after the plunge.
Broadway Bar won the professional chili cook-off. Christie Stang and Dave Stewart, of North Central Insurance Agency, won the amateur division.
Winner of the men’s hockey tournament was a team sponsored by Marketplace Home Mortgage. A Central Bank team won the co-ed division.