This year’s annual Williams Lake Rusters Rugby Football Club Polar Bear Swim goes Jan. 1 at Scout Island. Registration starts at 12:30 p.m.

Polar Bear Swim to celebrate 13 years

The Williams Lake Rustlers 13th annual Polar Bear Swim is coming up Jan. 1.

For those brave enough, or even those who just want to come out and witness the spectacle, the 13th annual Williams Lake Rustlers Rugby Football Club’s Polar Bear Swim is coming up Jan. 1, New Year’s day.

Brad Bulow, WLRRFC member and swim organizer, said there’s really no better way to ring in the new year than participating, or seeing, the action go down at Scout Island on Williams Lake.

Close to 100 swimmers annually experience the ice-cold waters of Williams Lake — the largest Polar Bear Swim outside the Lower Mainland.

“Everyone’s welcome,” Bulow said. “Sign up is at 12:30 p.m. Take the plunge at 1 p.m.”

Proceeds from the event will go toward youth rugby programs in Williams Lake. Additionally during, or prior the swim, participants are asked to collect pledges. Bulow said in the past there have been some interesting pledge ideas concocted.

“There are guys who have, in the past, done a by-the-minute pledge where they’ll go around and ask people if they’d be willing to pledge them for $10 a minute or something, and they’ll stay in the lake for four minutes, and get a $40 donation,” he said.

“This year the Williams Lake Boy Scouts are going to be a part of it, too. The boys I guess told their leaders they were interested in doing the swim and fundraising and they got a hold of me, and they’ll be donating half of what they raise to youth rugby and the other half will go to scouts.”

Prizes will also be awarded for best costumes, high pledge earners and more.

And just to ensure everyone stays safe during the swim, the Rustlers have put out a request for a lifeguard and notified the BC Ambulance Service to be on hand just in case. Additionally, hot beverages will be served, and semi-trailer warming huts equipped with carpets and propane heaters, will be parked on site.

Bulow added swimmers should also bring a change of warm clothes, two towels, two pairs of shoes and a lawn chair to use in the warming trailers.

If anyone is interested in volunteering for the event they are asked to contact Bulow at 250-267-1725 as volunteer positions are still available.

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