Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Dip in the River on a Beautiful... January Day?

Some Nebraskans may question my dedication to the television show Deadliest Catch, but in this instance, it has served me well. Just to give you a little background, every year, on the closest Friday to Groundhogs Day, intrepid adventures don outlandish costumes and jump into the icy waters of the South Platte River to raise money for the Lincoln Connection, our local homeless shelter.
Now if I'm going to jump in ice cold water, I'm going to want to mitigate the damages, and what better way than to appropriate outerwear that protects fishermen serving on crab boats on the Bering Sea? Rain gear, hoodie, long underwear, deck boots.

Nebraska Outback is very magnanamous and represented the Fab Four of the Fleet equally, but the F/V Northwestern has some loyal fans, as does the F/V Time Bandit. On my jacket you'll also see the Cornelia Marie and Wizard crests.
Since we were all first-time jumpers, we didn't really understand the whole concept - there are prizes for group costumes (which I think we did a pretty good job on), and for group activity. We didn't know about the group activity part until too late to make good plans.

It's a Norwegian tradition (at least on the F/V Northwestern) to bite the head off a herring to bring good luck during the upcoming fishing season. We didn't have a herring, so we chose goldfish crackers. We didn't win the group activity... I'm sure we would have with a real herring.
And you can see why we didn't win the group costume contest, either. It's hard to compete with the Peace Train!

It's a long way down to the edge of the water, and we are all anxiously crowding down to the bank. Our Deadliest Deckhands crew was still warm and toasty at this point.Those choosing to make the jump are very enthusiastic. We counted down, and at 3:00, the first jumpers entered the water.
Here are the Deckhands getting their toes wet.
We were a team, and stayed together to make sure that no one got into trouble.

However, our Time Bandit representative lived up to the reputation of the Bad Boys of the Bering Sea. Not only was he one of the first in the water, he manned up and went completely under water... TWICE! He is already planning for his costume for next year's jump. As you can see, not all of the jumpers were quite as concerned with their own personal comfort as the Deadliest Deckhands were.

If it wasn't for the holes in the left boot of my hip waders, I would have remained completely warm and dry! Oh, the sacrifices I make!
Even the most intrepid jumpers don't remain in the water long... it's a quick in and out.
Over the 12 year history of the Hoggy Doggy Shadow Splash, the organizers have raised more than $225,000.00 for the Lincoln Connection. This year, the Deadliest Deckhand crew raised $460.00, and the event raised in the area of $15,000.00
After the jump comes the awards ceremony. You won't recognize him here, but Scuba Steve (now warmly dressed in a black Nebraska sweatshirt) won a prize for best costume.
Organizer and local DJ David Fudge is given the key to the city for his efforts putting on the annual event.

It's all in good fun, and all for a good cause. I will be willing to bet that there is some outlandish event going on in your neighborhood that will stretch your comfort zone... why not give it a go?

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

On a more serious note, on Friday, Captain Phil Harris was found collapsed in his stateroom on board the Cornelia Marie while they were in Saint Paul Harbor offloading their first load of Opelio Crab. He was life flighted to Anchorage and is receiving the best possible care after suffering a stroke. Please keep him in your prayers.

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