The 2017 rowing team.

Usher in 2017 with the annual polar bear plunge

  • Fri Dec 23rd, 2016 1:30am
  • Sports

Come start the new year with a brisk “splash” by joining the Orcas Rowing Team for its annual Polar Bear Plunge on New Year’s day at the Moran State Park swim area. It starts at 11 a.m. This year’s theme is “The Peace Plunge.” Warm beverages and nibbles will be provided. The year 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the rowing team.

This event is a “fun-raising” effort for the crew team. Purchase of T-shirts with this year’s logo go towards defraying the costs of regatta expenses for the team. Each year the crew team operates at a loss. Work parties and fundraising events are the only way the program stays afloat. All of the coaches act in a volunteer capacity, so any money given goes straight towards the program.

A bit of history: The Orcas Island Rowing program began back in 1997 with the urging of one girl, Breona Gutschmidt, who was determined that Orcas Island should have its very own rowing team. With the guidance of co-founders Mike Reid and Dave Roseberry (who are both still coaching), the team borrowed, begged and did many work parties to get their first boat and oars. And believe it or not, that first boat was rescued from becoming a salad bar at a restaurant. And to make it an even better story, the following season, they raced the team who sold it and won.

“We know that our friends, family and community (from far and near) are a vital part of what makes this team continue to thrive. Please know that we are very appreciative of your support,” say organizers.