Jackalope Jumpers raise money for much needed equipment and trip expenses


Special Olympian Eli Jaren dressed in his Buzz Lightyear costume braved the icy water and the cool temperatures to do his part to raise money for the Special Olympians. Eli jumped with his mantra… “To infinity and beyond.”Officer William Kirlin from the Platte County Sheriff’s Office made the famed Jackalope Jump Saturday morning in wind chills that registered in the single digits at times. He was a part of a concentrated effort to raise funds for the Platte County Special Olympians. 2: Wyoming State Highway Patrol officer Danny “Buzzard” Robinett won the award for the highest jump from the back of the pickup truck into the tub of icy water for this year’s annual Jackalope Jump. 3: Cassidy Kirlin sporting the St. Patrick’s Day attire actually wanted to jump a second time and said that it really wasn’t too bad. Most agreed that she must not have feeling in her skin cells. 4: Water appeared to come off of people as icy slush drops. There were 19 jumpers in all and the effort raised over $2500 for the Platte County Special Olympians.

WHEATLAND – The Jackalope Jumpers were out in force Saturday morning at the Fire Training Center in Wheatland to brave the chilling temperatures and the icy water.

“The Jackalope jump for Special Olympics was moved to the Wheatland Fire Training Center last Saturday,” Kayla Robinett, Special Olympian coach said.

The event was supposed to be held at the Wheatland reservoir but a case of bird flu prompted the Fish and Game department to have the event moved into Wheatland.

Marsha Dial who is the area director for the Special Olympics overseeing the Cheyenne area, Laramie and Wheatland said that the event raised over $2600.

“Right now, the team that has raised the most money is The A Team,” Dial said. “The largest team is team Maverick. The most money raised by an individual is Lori Morales and the most money raised by an athlete is Eli Jaren.”

The team Platte County athletes all jumped Saturday. For an athlete to jump it’s $50 and for an individual it’s $100.

“That gets them their T-shirt and their beanie,” Dial said. “We also did a bucket-around to raise the money for two individuals that weren’t enrolled so they could jump. Today we had 19 jumpers.

The A Team consists of Kayla Robinett, Anthony Krotz, Cassidy Kirlin, Bryce Robinett and Stacy Teel. Team Maverick has Patrick Rukavima, Brandy Britton, Lauren Christensen, Debbie Wheeler, Leslie Bailey and Randy Ewell.

The annual Jackalope Jump in Platte County raises funds each year for Special Olympics Wyoming.

According to Special Olympics Wyoming, “Special Olympics is founded on the belief that people with intellectual disabilities can, with proper instruction & encouragement, learn, enjoy & benefit from participation in individual & team sports, adapted as necessary to meet the needs of those with intellectual & physical limitations. Special Olympics believes that consistent training is indispensable to the development of an individual’s sports skills. In addition, competition among those of equal abilities is the most appropriate means of testing these skills, measuring progress, and providing incentives for personal growth.

“Some may know the legend of the Jackalope, but few have ever seen one! This horned jackrabbit has evaded many a hunter and continues to remain a mysterious creature roaming the plains of Wyoming.

Wyoming is the one and only location on the planet to hold an annual Jackalope Jump, also known as Polar Plunge events in other parts of the country.  

Jumpers create awareness and raise funds to support Special Olympics Wyoming by participating in a cold-water plunge fundraising event. Funding will go to help the kids get to competitions and much needed practice gear and T-Shirts.

This statewide event runs from February through March each year. Awards to recognize the best costume, largest group, and most funds raised are given out with a chance to earn some cool Special Olympics gear!

They call it freezin’ for a reason and the reason is a good one.

“Hats off to all who come out to participate in the jump or just come out and put some financial support into the hat and cheer on those brave souls who sacrifice body warmth for the kids of the county,” Special Olympian coach Kayla Robinett said.

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