Close to 400 people took the plunge into Goodyear Lake on Saturday – the most since the jump began 18 years ago, according to organizers.
Some say they do it for the adrenaline rush or for the thrill, but most take the leap into icy-cold water because it is for a good cause. The event benefits children with medical needs. Funds are also given to the Portlandville Methodist Church (which shared its money with three adults), Catskill Area Hospice and the Milford Fire Department.
According to jump organizer Jamie Waters, this year’s fundraiser raised more money than ever before. He said more than $106,000 was donated – which surpassed last year’s total by nearly $6,000.
“We had great attendance and great weather,” Waters said. “The ice was decent enough to do what we needed to get done. I would have liked to see more ice so that more people could have come out on the ice, but Mother Nature had other ideas this year. I would have felt a lot better if there were three or four more inches, but it was better than it was last year.”
Only a handful of participants were allowed on the ice at a time, and spectators were asked to watch from atop a hill.
According to Waters, Ed Gwilt of Cooperstown raised the most funds this year. With the Delaware Otsego Corp., the Cooperstown-based railroad company where Gwilt works, matching his funds Gwilt brought in $8,378, Waters said.
Waters said his 14-year-old daughter, Mataiah, raised more than $5,000 with no matching funds.
“That is pretty good for a teenager,” he said.
Many participants come back year after year to endure the frigid temperatures for the cause.
Victor Erway of Fly Creek is one of those committed jumpers, saying this marked his 16th year taking the plunge. He said once he did it once, he became hooked.