13th annual Penguin Plunge supports YVMC Saturday | SteamboatToday.com

13th annual Penguin Plunge supports YVMC Saturday

Yampa Valley Medical Center CEO Frank May makes his way through the icy pool during the 2015 Penguin Plunge. The event returns Saturday to Catamount's Lake House Pool.

— If jumping into a swimming pool full of icy, 30-degree water sounds cold — well, it is. But that's exactly what 100-or-so costumed competitors plan to do this Saturday, all in the name of raising money for a good cause.

The 13th annual Penguin Plunge, organized by Yampa Valley Medical Center's Healthcare Foundation, will raise money for new equipment for the hospital's emergency room. The event's 13-year presenting sponsor is Alpine Bank.

Teams, including five from YVMC, have spent the past several weeks working on mini-fundraisers to generate money for the cause in their teams’ names, with an overall goal of the foundation to raise $85,000.

Many of the teams have fundraising pages set up on firstgiving.com.

The money will pay for specialized equipment such as scanners or stretchers in the ER, said Ellen Campbell, a development associate for the foundation who admitted she wouldn't be plunging herself.

"I'll be a 'polar opposite,'" said Campbell, who prefers to support her team from the sidelines, a fun way to get involved without getting wet.

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Campbell said that, since the local Penguin Plunge began in 2004, it's generated $1 million for departments and projects at YVMC and grown each year in terms of scope and variety of costumes.

During the first events, costumed participants often had matching T-shirts, which evolved through the years into elaborate team costumes.

This year, all participants are invited to adopt a group theme — the 1970s — Campbell said.

"It will be a psychedelic, get-your-groove-on event," Campbell said.

Prizes will be awarded for best theme, best costume, best performance before jumping, top fundraisers and other categories, with prizes supplied by local restaurants, including Gondola Pub & Grill, E3 Chophouse, Aurum and Truffle Pig.

Judges for this year's event are Dan Bonner, CPA, Jeff LaRoche from E3, Curt Weiss, owner of Central Park Management, Cheryl Krumrie, sales coordinator for Alpine Mountain Ranch and Steve Sehnert, a member of the Healthcare Foundation's board.

"It's going to be a fun little competition," said Campbell, who encouraged the community to come out the event, even if they aren't planning to jump. "It's a great little afternoon to hang out."

More information about the plunge is available at yvmcf.org or by contacting Campbell at ellen.campbell@yvmc.org.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

If you go:

What: 13th annual Penguin Plunge to benefit YVMC’s emergency department

When: Noon Saturday, March 19

Where: Catamount Lake House Pool, 30215 Waters Edge Trail