Ken Jaffe and his son, David Jaffe, came to Boulder Reservoir a couple of hours before Saturday's Boulder Polar Plunge, not to mentally prepare themselves, but to watch other people jump in the frigid water.

"This is my seventh year," Ken Jaffe said. "We've seen every from little kids to old farts in Santa suits."

"It's hilarious," David Jaffe added.

Lisa McAlister, a member of the leadership committee of the event's sponsor, the American Cancer Society, said that about 200 people signed up for the event, which had raised about $25,000 for cancer research as of Saturday morning.

Oscar Sanchez, of Barcelona, takes his clown act down the red carpet to the water during the 2017 Boulder Polar Plunge on Saturday at the Boulder Reservoir
Oscar Sanchez, of Barcelona, takes his clown act down the red carpet to the water during the 2017 Boulder Polar Plunge on Saturday at the Boulder Reservoir to raise money for the American Cancer Society. For more photos and a video, go to www.dailycamera.com. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

The event returned Saturday to Boulder Reservoir after a year off and a new sponsor. It was also being held on a different day. In years past, it was always held on New Years Day, but organizers believed conflicts with other holiday weekend activities might have been impacting attendance.

Platteville resident Jason Cudgate came down the banks of the reservoir ahead of the event to check out the water. He said he has wanted to take the plunge for a long time.

"I've been wanting to do it for about 18 years," Cudgate said. "No, wait, I'm 38, so I've been wanting to do it for 22 years.


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"My friend finally talked me into it," he added.

"Was alcohol involved?" event volunteer Steve Antaya chimed in.

"No, not at all," Cudgate answered. "We were both at work."

Cudgate's eight-man team, the Anadarko Gas Smashers — all employees at a gas processing plant — broke from the sometimes timid approach of many of the participants and barreled into the water.

Longmont resident Kevin Mooney brought his wife, daughter and her boyfriend to the event — it was his seventh time and he dressed as Santa for the occasion — and although he does it every year and finds it refreshing, he's not all that crazy about the feeling.

"It's like putting your hand in a burning candle," he said. "It feels a lot better once you pull it out."

"It's forced family fun," his daughter, Bailey Mooney added.

The plunge started at noon, and eight people were allowed to jump into the lake at any given time. A variety of clowns, a family dressed as characters from "Titanic," Princess Leias, people in large Afro wigs and scantily clad women swathed in Saran Wrap lined up along a stretch of red carpet.

Members of the Boulder Fire Rescue Dive Team stood watch in the water — which was about 38 degrees — to help anyone who had trouble getting out.

Boulder resident and recent Missouri transplant Liz Crain was drying herself out in the warming tent, and said that the jump wasn't as bad as she had anticipated.

"(I expected) death, the worst," she said. "But it wasn't that bad because I was already so cold standing there."

Kevin Schrader came up from Colorado Springs on Saturday to jump in the reservoir. As he was toweling himself off afterward, he said it was "amazing."

"I do it every year as a life-affirming activity," he said. "You can't take yourself too seriously."

John Bear: 303-473-1355, bearj@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/johnbearwithme