Purple Plungers risk turning blue to raise over $18K
You couldn't ask for a nicer day than Saturday, Feb. 11 to take a plunge into the ice-cold water of Akeley's 11th Crow Wing Lake.
Nineteen divers took the (very) cool waters of 11th Crow Wing Lake Saturday for Audrey’s Purple Plunge.
Participants raised a total of $18,133.17 for the annual fundraiser to aid local cancer patients, started in honor of the late Audrey Pidde.
Volunteer Roger Geimer has helped out at all 17 years of the Purple Plunge and took the plunge himself three times.
Geimer recalled there was one year when they didn’t do the plunge due to extreme weather. “They still had the fishing tournament, but they canceled the plunge that year,” he said.
By comparison, Saturday was a fine day with sunshine and highs in the 40s. “It’s too nice of a day,” said Geimer.
Many of the participants took the dive in honor of loved ones who had or have cancer. Among them, Barbara Bermudez of Las Vegas, Nev. raised $10,261.
Other plunge-takers in the four-digit fundraising club include Randy Leritz of Park Rapids, $2,100; Fletcher Hitchcock of Akeley, $1,837; and Kaia and Deyla Dunham of Akeley with a combined total of $1,608.
Also, Anthony Goehring of Akeley, taking the plunge in the colors of the U.S. flag, raised $550; Sam Hitchcock of Akeley, $489; Chase Hegg of Akeley, $375.17; Kevin George of Park Rapids, $300; and Natalie Pike of Stillwater, $183.
Raising between $30 and $60 before taking the plunge were Joey Pidde, Samantha Pidde and Brandon Peterson of Stillwater, Sam Johnson of Lake Elmo, Edward Oliver of West Fargo, N.D., Sky Detmars of Akeley and Riley Denham of Kentucky.
Nicole Randall, one of this year’s youngest participants, took the plunge just for fun. Corry Hill with the Lakes Area Dive Team hung out in the ice hole to ensure the plunge-takers’ safety and guide them to a ladder back onto the ice.
Besides the plunge, fundraising activities on the day included the Audrey’s Purple Dream fishing tournament, with a record 365 fisherfolk registering, as well as a party, games and a silent auction at the Red River Event Center.
UPDATE: According to event organizer Shannah Geimer, this year's Audrey's Purple Dream saw an overall net income of over $39,000. "It was a phenomenal year," said Geimer.
In fishing results, Darren Ness caught the biggest fish, a 3 lb. walleye. Winning the grand prize for the 17th largest fish was David St. Dennis with a 7 oz. perch. Fish house winner was Jerry Kramer of Perham (originally from Akeley). Alex Klave won the mystery box, and Becky Young won the $100 vest.
Paint the Town Purple winners were Chris and Chelsea Powers, first place; North Country Repair, second; and Roger and Peggy Geimer, third. As for the plungers, Bermudez was recognized as the adult with the most pledges, Fletcher Hitchcock as the youth with the most pledges, and Powers as the fan favorite.