WHEATLAND – The sun was shining but the water was still frigid at the annual Jackalope Jump held at Wheatland Reservoir No. 1.
Teams of different numbers and ages converged at the dock to wade into the snow-melt filled reservoir to show their support and raise money for the local Special Olympics organization. The event was originally scheduled for March but the raging snow storms of late forced the group to reschedule to a later date.
The teams were not allowed to jump of the dock this years for safety concerns, it wasn’t deep enough, so they all had to run in the water down the ramp. Some wore matching shirts and some elected for costumes like the unicorn outfit worn by Ashley Clark of the Niobrara Sheriff’s office, “It’s for a good cause.”
A new addition to the event this year was the upbeat music provided by Justin Herdt of DJ Magik and Tasty Treats donated donuts. When the time came for action, teams lined up to brave the dunk with good spirits and smiles. The good humor and antics continued with one jumper, Myron Singleton, yelling out, “I like it, I’m going back,” as he ran back in for a second time.
“The first year was so cold my hands were like ice,” said veteran jumper Krystal McClain. “Next year my goal is to get 20 teams here to jump.”
The event raised $5,299. The Blue Line Family raised the most amount for a team, the most raised by an individual was Joanne Ockinga and the most money raised by a Special Olympics athlete was a tie between sisters Monika and Miranda Ockinga. Best costume was a tie between Ashley Clark and Jay Owren.