Wind and cold don’t deter mainstay polar plungers |

Wind and cold don’t deter mainstay polar plungers

by Teri Vance
Ted Rupert and his son, Jett, 7, participated in the annual Polar Plunge at Zephyr Cove on Saturday. It is a fundraiser for Special Olympics.

It seemed like an ominous day to jump in Lake Tahoe.

“The wind was howling and the waves were coming in pretty heavy,” said Ted Rupert.

But he and other participants were not deterred from diving into the frigid water of Zephyr Cove on Saturday as part of the annual Polar Plunge, a fundraiser for Special Olympics.

“You just have to strip down and jump in,” said Rupert, who has taken the plunge every year since it began in 2004 and is the general manager of Rupert’s Auto Body. “You do it because it’s the right thing. You do it to help the athletes.”

This year, his 7-year-old son, Jett, joined the cause, wading in waist-deep.

“He made up his mind that no matter if it was snowing or not, he was going to do it,” Rupert said. “He’s a really active, sporty guy. He wants all kids to have the opportunity he does to play sports. He has a good, caring heart.”

Jett, a first-grader at Fritsch Elementary School, said he plans to continue to participate in the Polar Plunge next year and in years to come.

“It’s really fun,” he said, “to raise more money so they can play a lot of sports.”

Greater Nevada Credit Union was the top corporate challenge team at Saturday’s event, raising $14,159.70 as of Monday.

Special Olympics Carson City raised $7,800 at the event, with its leader, Phil Brown accounting for $3,040.

According to the Polar Plunge website, $423,445 was raised for Special Olympics this year.