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Hundreds take the Polar Plunge

MEDICINE PARK  Despite Saturday's sunny, 60-degree forecast, Medicine Park Polar Plunge jumpers  also known as the dauntless, the crazy and the buzzed  still emerged from the water with shivering bodies and clattering teeth.

Plungers of all ages dressed in outfits of all flavors, from a Speedo to a Ninja Turtle costume to a tutu, and took on the not-quite-freezing-but-close-enough waters of Medicine Creek. 

The plunge brought together at least 250 jumpers and 600 onlookers, as estimated by longtime plunger Charley Wright, famously known as the cobblestone community's Santa Claus. 

"You see everybody smiling, laughing and having fun," he said. "It's camaraderie. All the crazy people in probably three or four counties  maybe a couple states  come here."

Onlookers took photos and videos of their friends who, after counting down "5-4-3-2-1," splashed into water and quickly climbed out of the water, with the exception of the "brave" few who lingered, soaking in the creek as if it were a hot tub.

Jumper Zach Johnston, a former resident of Medicine Park who lives in Oklahoma City, wore his chicken suit for the sixth year in a row. He denied that the suit functioned as an insulator. 

"It's way worse. When you get out (of the water), you're still in," he said. 

But he said this year's forecast was nice compared to the past, such as four years ago when he had to break ice to reach the water. 

Bringing a taste of Hawaii to Medicine Park, Lawtonian Zepher Christie dressed in an outfit he didn't pick for himself.

"I lost a bet," he admitted. "Now, I'm stuck in a grass skirt and coconut bra."

Christie said he and a friend made a bet about the outcome of a football game last year. To hold up his end of the deal, he had to not only participate in the Medicine Park Polar Plunge for the first time, but he also had to wear whichever outfit his female friend told him to. As a man of his word, he followed through.

Prior to jumping, some adults gathered at the Park Tavern, located within walking distance of Medicine Creek, to insulate their bodies by drinking Bud Light, Fireball and other beverages.

Other adults with children lined the streets of downtown Medicine Park, talking about how "freezing cold" the water would be.

The Lawton Constitution

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