Penguin Plunge fun for all, without the water

Penguin Plunge 2020 Best Costume went to Team Rendezvous Brewing pictured with Polar Bear Craig Wadzink (left), Jon Loftis, Joe Toth, Sue Toth, Dorothy Harrington, Doug Toth, Dale Yerger and Penguin Jay Cline. Submitted Photo

The 11 th Annual Penguin Plunge held on Saturday, Jan. 18 was not on Birch Lake in Hackensack due to unsafe ice conditions, and people still came out in great numbers, despite the snow storm, to enjoy the Back-to-Hack Celebration events. The Penguin Plunge registered nine teams and raised $4,370 for Hackensack Area Fire and Rescue and Faith in Action. Sixteen people registered to jump in the lake. Some were really grateful to not jump in the frigid water that day and some were visibly disappointed. You had to register to get the event t-shirt.

To make up for the lack of “plunging,” registrants were invited to enter a costume contest with their best Plunge outfits. The Back-to-Hack: It’s a Wrap party was held on Sunday, Jan. 19 at the Birchwood Char House in Hackensack, along with the Chamber raffle drawing and Plunge Awards. Plunge Emcees Penguin Jay Cline and Polar Bear Craig Wadzink provided ongoing commentary and gave away t-shirts for trivia answers.

Penguin Plunge Awards were given for:

Team that raised the most money – Team Antler & Iron with Lee Westlund, who has jumped six times in Lake Superior plunges, won a set of four tickets to the Lakes Bluegrass Festival in Pine River for raising $1,630. The runner-up was Team St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Hackensack.


Multi-Generational (3+) Jumpers – Team Rendezvous Brewing with Doug Toth, Sue Toth, Joe Toth, Jon Loftis, Dorothy Harrington, and Dale Yerger, won VIP tickets to the Bear Pause Theater in Hackensack.

Oldest Jumper – Dorothy Harrington of Team Rendezvous Brewing won a gift certificate for a pedicure from Flair for Hair in Hackensack.

Youngest Jumper – Rebecca Johnson of Team Sunset Castle won $30 gift certificate for Domino’s Pizzas.

Returning Jumpers – Lisa Tuller of Team Old Pro and the Newbie has been in all the past 10 Penguin Plunge events and holds the record for “Most Jumps”. Lisa Tuller won a gift certificate for a massage from Serenity Now in Hackensack.

Bryce Wolske and Brandon Wolske of Team Hackensack Lumber & Hardware registered for their second Penguin Plunge and won tickets to the Bear Pause Theatre in Hackensack.

Best Individual Costume – Ellie Hed of Team Sunset Castle

Best Team Costume – Team Rendezvous Brewing

Thanks go out to all the event sponsors for donating prizes.


The Penguin Plunge event supports the partnership of Hackensack Area Fire & Rescue Department and Faith in Action for Cass County, as local volunteer programs that help people in need, regardless of age, income, race or ethnicity. They are here to help when people need it. Local support keeps these volunteer programs alive and working for communities in Cass County. For more information on the Penguin Plunge go to www.penguinplunge .us or call Faith in Action at 218-675-5435.

Penguin Plunge 2020 Best Costume Team Rendezvous Brewing (from L to R) Polar Bear Craig Wadzink, Jon Loftis, Joe Toth, Sue Toth, Dorothy Harrington, Doug Toth, Dale Yerger, and Penguin Jay Cline.

Penguin Plunge 2020 Team Old Pro and the Newbie took a photo with Polar Bear Craig Wadzink (left), Lisa Tuller, Linnea Dietrich and Penguin Jay Cline. Submitted Photo

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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