3rd annual ‘Plunging for Pink’ to be joined Jan. 31 at lake by first speed run as part of PTTP

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Snowmobilers will be speeding across the ice of East Side Lake later this month while others take an icy plunge into the water that same day as part of Austin’s 5th annual “Paint the Town Pink.”

A first-time Snowmobile Speed Run organized by the Spam Town Snow Drifters will start runs at 11 a.m. for vintage and newer snowmobiles. Registration will start at 9:30 a.m. in the parking area on East Side Lake’s north side, across from the plunge site.

Entry for the speed run is $5 for three runs on a 600-foot-long race stretch, racing on your own against the clock. Prizes will be awarded for top speeds. Spectators can watch for free.

Later that day, the 3rd annual “Plunging for Pink” polar plunge will start jumps at 2 p.m. at the boat launch in East Side Lake Park, located along Oakland Place Northeast. The annual plunge has raised about $55,000 in two years for The Hormel Institute’s breast cancer research and attracted over 200 plungers at last year’s event alone.

Vision 2020 Waterways, Austin Parks & Recreation, Austin Street Department and the Austin Fire Department (firefighters volunteer to assist in the water that day) put on the event.

“We’re excited for another great plunge and we’ve made some improvements to ensure we get through the plunge teams more quickly this year,” said Joe Muzik, the plunge’s head organizer from Vision 2020 Waterways. “It’s definitely a very entertaining day with our emcee Cody Anderson, wild and creative plunge teams, and meaningful tributes.”


Plunge participants are asked to donate or raise at least $50 for registration, with all money being donated to The Hormel Institute for breast cancer research. People can jump as an individual or with a plunge team; they are asked to arrive at least 30 minutes in advance of their scheduled jump time to get signed in, turn in donations and get ready for their turn.

A week prior, all plunge participants will be emailed a schedule of the plunges. During the plunge, an emcee will announce your team name, the names of the team members, money raised by the team and any special words or tributes from the team.

AgStar Financial Services also is offering a $5,000 matching gift if a plunge team can raise at least that amount in donations. AgStar also plans to make an additional $5,000 match as part of other “Paint the Town Pink” festivities this year.
Plunge registration and information are available at www.plungingforpink.com.
Austin firefighters and paramedics will be on site for safety. After plunging, participants will enter heated, enclosed trailers to warm up and change out of their wet clothes.
Hy-Vee Food Stores also is sponsoring a tent for food and beverage, including Caribou Coffee, at East Side Lake for the two Jan. 31 events, with proceeds being donated to the Institute. The tent will be near the plunge site on the lake’s east shore.

A post-plunge party will be offered once again at Torge’s Live in the Austin Holiday Inn, starting with a meal at 6 p.m. with food donated by Hormel Foods Corp. and Hy-Vee. Plungers will eat for free; other guests can eat for $10 per person. An awards ceremony for the plunge will be done before 9 p.m. when the band Mister Peabody performs at Torge’s as part of the evening.

Since 2011, the Austin area’s “Paint the Town Pink” efforts have raised more than $362,000 for breast cancer research at The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota in Austin. It all started with the only event in 2011 being the first Austin Bruins “Paint the Rink Pink” hockey game that raised more than $22,000. This year, PTTP organizers are striving to top the $500,000 mark in overall fundraising for five years and raise even more donations beyond that.

Funds raised through PTTP in 2011 and 2012 went toward acquiring technology to accelerate breast cancer research. Donations the past two years have been distributed as “seed” grants to researchers at The Hormel Institute for new breast cancer projects. These funds greatly help researchers explore new ideas and gather preliminary data vital for seeking major research grants. While directed at breast cancer, PTTP-funded research includes projects that affect other types of cancers as well.

Austin’s “Paint the Town Pink” officially will run from Jan. 31 to Feb. 8, featuring pink flags, ribbons and events throughout the city. The marquee event is the Austin Bruins’ 5th annual “Paint the Rink Pink” hockey game Feb. 7 at Riverside Arena.

For a complete list of PTTP events, go to www.hi.umn.edu and “Click for Pink” at the top of the homepage. “Paint the Town