Take the plunge at Otter Tail Lake to support Special Olympics Minnesota

The annual Otter Tail Plunge will be back at the Otter Tail Lake public boat landing on Saturday, Feb. 4.

A group of women dressed in money costumes jump into a frozen lake.
The First National Bank of Henning, Ottertail and Battle Lake team plunges into Otter Tail Lake on Feb. 5, 2022.
Perham Focus file photo

PERHAM — The time to plunge into the chilly waters of Otter Tail Lake for a good cause is approaching. The annual Otter Tail Plunge will be back at the Otter Tail Lake public boat landing on Saturday, Feb. 4 — with check-in/registration beginning at 11 a.m. and plunging beginning at 12 p.m.

This will be the fourth year people throughout Otter Tail County gather to plunge and raise money for Special Olympics Minnesota. Run in partnership between the Otter Tail Lakes Country Association and the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Office, the event has managed to raise $257,015 in its short but well-known history.

"(The plunge) has kind of grown each year," said Marie Noplos, the event coordinator with the Otter Tail Lakes Country Association. "It's getting more popular. This year, we have a pretty lofty goal that was set by the Special Olympics, and we're really needing people to come together to help us reach that goal."

2023's goal is to raise $75,000. In 2022, the Otter Tail Plunge already came close to reaching this number with 174 plungers raising $70,935. As of Jan. 24, 134 plungers have signed up for this year's plunge with $30,903 raised. That means there's still about $40,000 to go. If you're interested in registering to take the plunge, visit or email

According to Noplos, there are multiple ways people could get involved and help raise this money, even if jumping into a frozen lake in a Minnesota February isn't their cup of tea. People can sign up for the virtual plunge, in which they could pour themselves an ice bath or have a bucket of water dumped on their heads. If water in general isn't someone's thing, they can still donate to the polar plunge by going to and donating toward a participant.


"(The large community support) has been really overwhelming to be honest," Noplos said. "Just the community coming together for this cause and stepping up and having us reach our goal each year has been awesome. Also, seeing the Special Olympics athletes in the stands cheering us on is really awesome as well. It's really great to meet them and have that relationship year after year — having them coming out to support us as we raise money for them and their cause."

At , participants and donors can see exactly what their donations can do for Special Olympics Minnesota. Just $2.50 provides a first-place athlete with a gold medal. A donation of $10 provides a hearing screening and hearing aids for an athlete. A $300 donation provides the necessary equipment for an entire Young Athletes season.

"I would just like to thank everyone for their participation over the last four years," Noplos said. "Without everyone stepping up and donating and coming out and helping us spread the word via social media or in person — we wouldn't be able to host this great event each year. So I'm just really, really thankful for everyone who has participated."

Elizabeth (she/her), 24, graduated with a degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Wisconsin–Stout in 2020. Elizabeth has always had a passion for telling stories about people and specializes in community features, which she uses for her Perham-centered content.
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