Members of The Rubber Duckies team jump into the water during the 2010 Penguin Plunge event. This year’s event will be held March 24 at Catamount Ranch & Club, and a kickoff party will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Carl’s Tavern.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Members of The Rubber Duckies team jump into the water during the 2010 Penguin Plunge event. This year’s event will be held March 24 at Catamount Ranch & Club, and a kickoff party will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Carl’s Tavern.

Penguin Plunge supports Yampa Valley cancer services

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Past Event

Kick-off party for the 2012 Penguin Plunge

  • Thursday, March 8, 2012, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Carl's Tavern, 700 Yampa Ave., Steamboat Springs
  • Not available / Free - $10

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— Penguin Plunge participants are just a couple of weeks away from taking a dip in freezing-cold water to raise money for cancer services at Yampa Valley Medical Center.

A kickoff party will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Carl’s Tavern for the ninth annual event, which is March 24 at Catamount Ranch & Club. The party is free, but a $10 donation will earn a commemorative Penguin Plunge glass, drink specials and a chance to win a flat-screen television to be given away Thursday night.

Leading up to the main March 24 event, participants raise at least $125 before jumping into a freezing pool followed by a quick soak in the hot tub. Some even go back for another plunge, and those who enter as a “chicken” do not need to get wet at all.

“In the past few years, people have been taking costumes and choreography to the next level,” said Jackie Brown, with the Healthcare Foundation for the Yampa Valley.

New this year, a panel of judges will pick the winners of categories, which include best costume, best choreography and team spirit.

The Healthcare Foundation organizes the event presented by Alpine Bank as a way to raise money for specific purposes at YVMC. The hospital is on its second year of a three-year campaign to raise money to improve cancer services. YVMC has set a goal to gain accreditation from the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer by 2013.

Last year’s Penguin Plunge raised nearly $90,000, and organizers are hoping to raise at least that amount again this year.

People wanting to participate in the plunge can call 970-871-0700 or visit www.hfyv.org/penguinplunge.

This year’s event will highlight a plunge by Karl Gills, the chief executive officer at YVMC who is retiring.

“This will be his final Penguin Plunge,” Brown said. “He’s done it pretty much every year that he’s been here.”

Gills wants to raise more than $7,000, which would make him the highest individual fundraiser in event history. Pegi Simmerman has held that title for the past eight years.

Gills will be jumping with Frank May, who is taking over as YVMC’s CEO.

“It’s kind of a passing of the baton,” Brown said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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