Sweetheart Passion Plunge returns to Helena to support Special Olympics Montana

Sweetheart Passion Plunge
Posted at 5:23 PM, Feb 06, 2024

HELENA — February is not the usual time for a dip outside, but that’s exactly what people will be doing on Saturday for the annual Sweetheart Passion Plunge.

“It’s exhilarating,” Helena Police Department Sgt. Domingo Zapata said. “It’s definitely an event that surely takes your breath away, but it’s a lot of fun.”

The Sweetheart Passion Plunge is the biggest local fundraiser for Special Olympics Montana. This year’s fundraising goal is $31,000.

“We usually get a pretty big influx day-of when people register, but we’re hoping we can get close or surpass that mark,” Helena Police Department Cpl. Sean Schoenfelder said.

While Special Olympics is an international organization, money raised by the Passion Plunge in Helena stays in Montana to support Montana athletes. Money helps cover expenses like travel, uniforms, meals and more.

“We try to make this as free or mostly free as possible for the athletes and their families so they can focus on their competition and their sport,” Zapata said.

This year’s Passion Plunge has teams from all across the community—Capital High School, Carroll College, the Montana Television Network, and of course law enforcement.

The plunge is put on by the Law Enforcement Torch Run, which is the largest awareness and fundraising group for Special Olympics. For Zapata, who is the director of the Law Enforcement Torch Run Montana, it means even more—Special Olympics is about family.

“One of my older sisters is actually an athlete, and I have a picture of me being carried by my mom on her hip while she’s doing a track and field event,” Zapata said.

Due to safety concerns, this year’s Sweetheart Passion Plunge is at Kenny Simpson Nissan rather than Spring Meadow Lake. There is still time to sign up to take the plunge and donate to support Special Olympics Montana. Registration is available online or day-of. Donations can also be made online.

Registration opens at 10:30 am on Saturday and plunging starts at noon.