Yeti Fest Fundraiser For Warroad Special Olympics Team
March 4, 2023
by Laurel Latham
Although Warroad's Yeti keeps a low profile for most of the year, except for an occasional early morning stop at Caribou Coffee on his way to skate the Riverbend Skate Path, Yeti is currently brushing out his long fur and getting ready for this year's 9th Annual Yeti Fest and Yeti Plunge. In 2022, 65 brave jumpers took the icy plunge, an increase over the 36 jumpers in 2021.
The Warroad Fire Department spends hours checking the safety of the ice, cutting out the ice, moving the ice, with four to six firemen sitting in freezing water for two hours or more keeping plungers safe and guiding them to the ladder. Krueger Ice Cabins donate the use of two warm ice cabins, one for men and one for women, so jumpers can immediately warm up chilly goosebumps after their invigorating plunge!
Donations of $17,545 were raised last year between the Yeti Plunge, the sunset candlelit Yeti Fest 5K Fun Run around Government Island, and other Yeti Fest Events. There were 38 SK runners in 2022, compared to 45 runners in 2021. This year's Yeti Plunge begins at 3 p.m. (a flotation device is required), with the Fun Run beginning at approximately 7:30 p.m.
Other events include Pint & Pose at 9 a.m., Boot Hockey at 11 a.m., and at 1 p.m. - Fastest Puck of the North, Toboggan Run, Street Games and Robotics. There's a Fun Skate at 5 p.m. and Dinner catered by Doug's Supermarket from 5-8 p.m. Doug's will be serving a Brat Bar with five varieties of fresh made in-house smoked brats with several toppings available. Coleslaw and chips will be included.
Joe Harren is especially excited about the Boot Hockey Tournament sponsored by Tru North Realty.
"I first became involved in boot hockey with friends in Brainerd who were holding a boot hockey game that turned into a fundraiser," explains Joe. "We had such a great time that I wanted to bring boot hockey to Warroad. Unlike a pond hockey
tournament, which takes tons of work and talent, everyone can play boot hockey! Regular nets and hockey sticks are used, but players wear boots and use tennis balls instead of a puck. Games are played on smaller rinks with two ten minute halves played straight through. A Youth Boot Hockey Tournament was held during Friluftfest at Doc's Rink which was such a good time! We definitely plan to hold a Youth Boot Hockey Tournament again! The boot hockey game during Yeti Fest will be for those 18 and over and held near the docks at the Brewery or on the street if the ice isn't good. Each team only requires three members, a goalie and two players. I already have four sets of goalie gear that can be used and some extra hockey sticks. We are looking for 8 teams to play in the tournament. Entry is free and those 21 and older will get two free drinks at LOW Brewery after the tournament. Boot hockey is the least amount of effort for the most amount of fun!"
One group planning to take the Yeti Plunge this year is the Research & Development Team at Marvin.
"Last year R&D formed several teams and competed with each other to fundraise," reports Kelly Schaible Thiele. "Chris Bouley helped make our Yeti trophy last year, which went to the top fundraising team headed by Josh Broten. This year R&D is forming one team, the R&D Depth Finders. Dave Goulet has challenged Brian Mayfield and the Operations team to a friendly competition to see who can get the most team members to take the Plunge and raise the most funds for Warroad Area Special Olympics. The Depth Finders plan to wear custom team t-shirts that will also note memorials for R&D team members Josh Broten and Stephen Stengrim. According to my notes from last year, teams led by R&D raised $13,515 in 2022 for Special Olympics and other Warroad area initiatives!" "In 2021, our planning team chose to host the Yeti Plunge on our own to keep 100% of the funds raised local to support our own Warroad Special Olympics Team, " explained Patti Hodgson. "Our funds are placed in the 5013C "Dream Big" account that was initially funded/sponsored by Northwest Minnesota Foundation. Funds raised for this team in the past have been mostly spent on hosting a Special Olympics Track & Field event here in Warroad. Keeping events local makes it possible and easier for athletes and families in Northern Minnesota to attend. We will not be able to host the Special Olympics Track & Field again in Warroad until our track is repaired."
Warroad School District signed a commitment in March of 2021 to become a Unified Champion School! This is a movement to increase opportunities for inclusion across school environments, into the community, and across the State of Minnesota. A champion team has been planning and preparing opportunities for students and community members to enjoy the Warroad Community together and build strong relationships. Funds for this movement support Unified Sports Events, Unified Student Leadership Training, Awareness Campaigns for the entire school as well as Virtual Opportunities to bring students together from across the state and more.
"Our future plans for funds are to host more local events and fun activities to get our athletes out in our community and active," said Patti. "Pedal Warroad, hosted by Doug's Supermarket, is a bike lending library that has been funded by Yeti Fest. Adaptive bikes have been purchased and placed in this library for families to borrow and enjoy some physical activity around Warroad. Other activities funded by Yeti Fest include a Unified Swim Club at Warroad Pool every Monday and Wednesday in March, a Unified Bike Club in September and October, Unified Field Trips around the community and Unified Special Events throughout the year. Warroad Special Olympics Track & Field Team currently consists of 18 athletes, 16 Unified Partners (friends that compete with our athletes) and 15 Coaches."
Sponsors of Yeti Fest include KQ92, Warroad Fire Department, Warroad EMT, Warroad Police Station, Warroad City Office & City Workers, Warroad Chamber of Commerce, Marvin, Dream Big, Krueger Ice Cabins Lake of the Woods Rentals, The Woods, Warroad Threads, Marvin Home Center, Andrew Stoskopf Trucking, Northern Toboggan Co., Doug's Supermarket, Caribou Coffee, G & B Carpet, Bloomin Creations, Security State Bank, Doc's Harbor Inn, and Student and Adult Volunteers. A HUGE thank you to all sponsors! A special thank you to all families, friends, and the entire Warroad and Surrounding Communities for continuing to support local Special Olympics Teams and Events!
Hope to see everyone at Yeti Fest in Warroad on Saturday, March 18th at Lake of the Woods Brewing Company! Also on site will be Lillypad Touch with Massage, R.O.A.R with Demo Equipment and Hero's Rise Coffee Co.
For more information see website https://www.facebook.com/TryItUpNorth .