The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Wolfgang Kurtz
LOG Editor 

2014 Jumpoff: Ready, Plunge, Gasp


Brian Walker | For The LOG

Sewardite Julie DeBoard counts down to victory.

Onlookers thronged to the boardwalk between the ramps for D and E floats at the Seward Small Boat Harbor to witness the annual spectacle of the Seward Polar Bear Jumpoff. Although the festival began Friday, visitors continued to stream into town right up until 12:30 p.m. Saturday when the first jumpers walked down the ramp to their destiny.

In all, around 120 jumpers took a dive into the 41 degree waters of the harbor under rainy skies and unseasonably warm conditions. With a little rain and a little wind, it was probably one of the least challenging jumps in the 29-year history of the event. However, contributors rose to meet the occasion as the official tally for fundraising put the 2014 total at $104,682 with 82 sponsored participants.

The annual festival is dedicated to raising money to fight cancer and all proceeds go the American Cancer Society. Cindy Emery of the ACS Anchorage office said that she saw everyone having a great time. "Weather played a role in attendance and participation. Some of the jumpers didn't make it because of road conditions. The majority that were there lucked out because weather was on the warmer side, so that was cool, especially for first timers."

The 2014 top individual jumpers are Christie Hill, $10,276; Darlene Dotzler, $8,441; Robert Boeckmann, $7,230; Kim Bender, $3,816; Vern Johnson, $2,850; Daniel Hodge, $2,651; Coast Guard, $2,500; John Brown, $2,455; Dave Sheffrey, $2,425 and KatieMae Darling, $2,210.

The 2014 top teams are Splashin' For a Cure, $10,276; UAA is Psyched for a Cure!, $9,423; Ice Eagles, $8,441; Tri Lincoln, $7,685; CPH Splash, $7,290; When Hellions Freeze Over, $5,225; BP Polar Plungers, $5,084; Totem Ocean Trailer Express, $4,846; Belly Flop, $4,710 and The Eight Balls, $4,705.

"The money is down a little from years past. Plans are in the making. We have a new American Cancer Society staff member, Meghan Mackey, who will be working on the ACS end to strengthen next year's Polar Bear," Emery said. "It was kind of a perfect storm with weather and personnel changes, but we expect next year's Polar Bear Jumpoff Festival to be bigger and better than ever and I'm really excited to see what's to come."


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