There was a chill in the air Saturday afternoon as 16 people walked the plank for charity.
More than 100 people were in attendance as costumed community members did their part at the Polar Pig Splash to raise money for hospice care in Jamestown.
“It’s just phenomenal to see the support and what they do here,” said Jan Barnes, Jamestown Regional Medical Center Foundation director. “You normally don’t see people putting in the energy for a project like this.”
This year about $15,000 was raised for hospice care at JRMC, said Don Wegner, activities director for the Jamestown Harley Owners Group, which organizes the event.
“It’s very, very important,” Barnes said. “It’s a program that we never want to lose.”
The event at Stutsman Harley-Davidson keeps growing each year. This year with the proceeds Barnes said JRMCE Hospice will be able to buy a specialty mattress and a suction pump to provide better care for hospice patients.
Polar Pig is the biggest fundraiser of the year for hospice care in Jamestown. Individuals or groups raise donations for their jump into the water.
Those not adventurous enough to brave the waters outside were able to compete in a chili cook off. For $5 people were able to sample 18 different types of chili and vote for their favorite.
“One guy was sweating,” said George Quigley, ABATE 8 representative, and chili server. “He took off his hat and said ‘see,’ so we must have a warm one in there.”
While the cost was a donation of $5, some people paid upwards of $50 for a chili sampling.
“This is kind of something to break up the winter blues,” Quigley said. “You can’t ride so have some chili.”
Wegner came up with the idea for the Polar Pig Splash six years ago.
“I know people that have (used hospice care) and they said it’s a really good program,” Wegner said. “It’s something you don’t want to use but it seems to benefit a lot of people and families.”
According to Barnes, JRMC Hospice has helped 604 families in the area since its inception more than decade ago.
A professional musician also provided some music during the event inside.
Les Davis, from North Carolina, originally Driscoll, N.D., came into Stutsman Harley-Davidson a few weeks ago to buy a sticker. He ended up buying a motorcycle and decided to donate his time on the electric organ.
“It’s an honor to be here,” Davis said. “I had to do it, it’s an honor.”
The studio musician has previously played with Lynyrd Skynyrd and John Mayer.
“It’s a surprise to all of us and I think everybody is pleased at the way it turned out,” said John Seifert, Stutsman Harley-Davidson general manger.
Seifert took over as manager early in January, but has been at the event in the past.
“I know for a fact it’s getting bigger and there’s more participation from the community and the Jamestown HOG Chapter,” he said.
Don Wilhelm Inc. also donated a used minivan to be auctioned off at the event with the proceeds going to hospice care.
“It’s a great donation to the hospice and I’m honored it is the only event they do and it’s held at our facility,” Seifert said.
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org