Plunge under the Sun; Neveln Knights among teams making Plunging for Pink debut

Published 9:06 am Monday, January 29, 2018

More than 50 blocks of lake ice —some the size of picnic tables others as big as lunch coolers —were piled a couple hundred yards away from the open water cut out of East Lake. Standing on a platform overlooking the makeshift pool, Neveln School staff members in their gray, knitted knight helmets looked down.

“We grabbed the people next to us and said, ‘Please don’t pull us under,’” said second-grade teacher Janene Lunning.

Neveln Elementary principal Dewey Schara races out of the water after taking a plunge in East Side Lake with Nevelen staff during the Plunging for Pink Saturday afternoon.

Eric Kossoris, instructional coach, said his last thought before the leap was “This is going to be cold.”

Email newsletter signup

The Nevelyn Knights were a new team participating in Plunging for Pink this year, a fundraiser for cancer research that is part of the Paint the Town Pink festivities that began this weekend that will benefit the ongoing cancer cure research at The Hormel Institute. Teams were asked to raise at least $50 for the cause as entry fees for the privilege to go jump in the lake at the tale end of January.

Macee Mosier plunges her foot into the icy waters of East Side Lake Saturday afternoon during the Plunging for Pink.

“Our school collects money throughout the year for the Institute, so we thought why not do it a little more,” second grade teacher Maria Mickelson said.

“It was awesome,” Lunning said after the plunge, turning to a team member and giving him a high five. “Thanks for being an awesome partner.”

“I think the hats helped,” Mickelson said. “It was great!”

The knitted hats, ordered from Amazon and worn by the more than a dozen team members, included faceplates that lifted up and down just like real knight helmets. Team members also wore pink Our tu-tus, which some spectators might agree were rather tame. The Dutchtown Jumpers, for example, plunged in Speedos and suspenders. The Austin Automotive team members wore simply shorts and polar bear hats.

Scientists from The Hormel Institute take their plunge during Plunging for Pink Saturday afternoon at East Side Lake.

“We’re at peak physical fitness, feeling good about it, and want to show the world that we’re willing to take the plunge for breast cancer,” said Scott Swelland.

“We had so many people that had volunteered from our school, which is amazing,” Kossoris said. “We just broke up into to groups and went for it.”

Asked whether he will do it again, he said, “Yeah, I think so,”



Members of the Full Force CrossFit team leave the platform during Plunging for Pink Saturday afternoon at Eastside Lake.

Twenty teams were registered early this year. Their names were Scientists Make a Splash for Breast Cancer Research, Nightwalkers, Team RamRod, Full Force CrossFit, Cancer Kickers, Pink Things, Shooting Down Cancer, Hy-Vee, U.S. Bank, Barley’s Angels, Crazy AF, Team Muffler Center, Hype Superheroes, Nevelin Knights, Warrior Wagons/Papa Greer, Dustchtown Jumpers, Barb’s Blue Lips, Team Akkerman, Austin Automotive’s Cremaster Crew and Boy Scout Troop 113.

In the plunge’s first five years, it had raised more than $250,000, Masters of ceremonies Cody Anderson said.

The Barley’s Angels team wait for their turn Saturday afternoon during Plunging for Pink at East Side Lake.

The weather this year was sunny and comparatively warm.  Anderson said it was the nicest he’s seen in the plunge’s history. As plungers arrived at Hoot and Ole’s Smittys Tavern, the neighboring Lakeside car wash had a lineup of customers.

Paint the Town Pink events continue next weekend and include a concert by Ventura Highway beginning at 8:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2, Fishing for a Cure at noon at East Side Lake and Pink Swing from 7-9 p.m at The Hormel Historic Home.

The team of HYPE Superheroes leave the frigid waters of East Side Lake Saturday during Plunging for Pink at East Side Lake.

Paint the Town schedule of events

PinkFriday, Feb. 2

•Pledging for Pink Radiothon, KAUS 1480 AM

•Pink Rocks! Highway to a Cure Benefit, 8-11:45 p.m., Ventura Highway performs at The American Legion
Saturday, Feb. 3

•Rose Creek Paint the Town Pink, 9-11 a.m., free-will donation breakfast at The Creek Bar and Grill, 202 Thill Drive W, Rose Creek;  12:30-9:30 p.m., the Creek Bar and Grill will host a silent auction.

•YMCA 5K SuperRun, 10 a.m., Austin High School Dome. Kids Event at 11 a.m.

•Fishing for a Cure, noon to 2 p.m., East Side Lake, after party and meal at Austin Eagles

•Pink Swing, 6:30-9 p.m.,  Hormel Historic Home, swing dance lessons begin at 6:30 p.m., The

•Austin Big Band performs at 7 p.m. $15, light appetizers included
Monday, Feb. 5

•Austin High School girls basketball Pink Game, 7:30 p.m., AHS Ove Berven Gym
Thursday, Feb. 8

•10 a.m. to 3 p.m. , Hormel Historic Home Soup and Bake Sale, St. Mark’s Living senior campus, 400 15th Ave. SW, Austin
Saturday, Feb. 10

•Paint the Rink Pink, 7:05 p.m.,  Austin Bruins Hockey Game and Jersey Auction, Riverside Arena, Austin
Sunday, Feb. 11

•11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mower County Fair Golf Masters Challenge, Mower County Fairgrounds

•1-3 p.m., Smashing Cancer Demolition Derby, Mower County Fairgrounds grandstand
Friday, Feb. 16 to Sunday, Feb. 18

•Matchbox Theater presents “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe,” Paramount Theatre, 7 p.m. curtain time each night. Adults: $10. Children 14 and younger: $6
Sunday, Feb. 18

•Austin Youth Hockey Squirt B Pink Game, 5:15-6:30 p.m., Riverside Arena
Friday, Feb. 23, to Saturday, Feb. 24

•Crop the Town Pink, 4 p.m. Feb. 23 start at First Baptist Church, 205 2nd St., Clarks Grove, Minnesota.
Saturday, Feb. 24

•Adams Pinko Bingo,  5 p.m. Happy Hour, 6 p.m., dinner,

7 p.m. Bingo,  live auction for PTTP Pit Party barbecue meal for at least 30, Austin Eagles, 107 11. St. NE
For questions or to add a new event. Call PTTP director Kathi Finley at 507-460-0259 or email