WHEATLAND – On Saturday, Feb. 29, 46 Wheatland residents took the term “Leap Year” literally, splashing into freezing waters in the name of charity.
The Jackalope Jump, which will hold 20 jumps across Wyoming this year, gives residents the opportunity to raise much needed funds for the Wyoming Special Olympics by taking a dip in frigid water.
Wheatland residents partook in the event this past Saturday at Wheatland Reservoir No. 1, raising almost $11,000 for the Platte County Special Olympics. In all, 46 residents grouped into various teams made the jump. Teams included the Highway Patrol, Sheriff’s Department, and North Platte Physical Therapy to name just a few. Many brave children also turned out to do their part.
The Jackalope Jumpers raise money by registering as a jumper online and seeking donations from others to watch them participate. Participants must raise a minimum of $100 to take the plunge or $50 each if participating in a team of five or more, according the official Facebook page of the 2020 Jackalope Jump.
Because it is February, the Wheatland Fire Department had to break the ice over the lake to make the event possible. It was thick enough near the docks that many onlookers were able to observe the event standing well out onto the water. The Wheatland Fire Department remained on site throughout the entire jump to look after the safety of the participants, along with several deputies.
Kayla Robinett, the Coordinator for the Platte County Special Olympics, was one of the main organizers of the event as well as a participant. When asked why she participates she stated,
“I do this because the Special Olympics is something I hold near and dear to my heart. I have a sister that was an athlete for many years so my family became very involved and has been for many years,” said Robinett.
Her mother, Marsha Dial, is the Area three Director for the Wyoming Special Olympics, a non-profit that provides year-round training and competitions in sports for children and adults with mental disabilities.
If you didn’t make the event but would still like to give back, donations for the Platte County Special Olympics can be made to Kayla Robinett. If you’re feeling brave however, there are still 11 planned jumps in Wyoming for the 2020 season. A list of scheduled jumps can be found at www.sowy.org/fundraising/jackalope-jump.