Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year's Day: Water Skiing In The Mississippi River

For 28 years now, crazy people gather on the levee under the Arch on New Year's Day for the Polar Bear Water Ski in the frigid Mississippi. It's a fundraiser for an organization that teaches handicapped people to water ski and provides opportunities to do so (more about which Friday).

The temperature hovered at about -4 C. There were quite a lot of people and cameramen from the local TV stations. Dozens of masochistic aqua athletes followed one another in the icy water. The first one out brought his dog, a tradition, I was told. They wore wet suits but many had bare hands and feet. No sign of any treatment facilities for hypothermia. I was happy to stand on the dry levee stones and record their folly.

There is a Polar Bear Club that goes swimming on Coney Island beach in NYC every January 1. Would you do something like this for a big enough payoff?

TOMORROW: Thursday Arch series


9 comments:

Kate said...

That guy should be arrested for cruelty to animals...what a dolt!!

oldmanlincoln said...

Sometimes people are dumbed than the animals they own. What a stupid stunt this was.

oldmanlincoln said...

WEll, on reflection, maybe not stupid. I see FOX news covered it. That's typical of them.

Anonymous said...

You guys are nuts, dogs love cold water.

Strangetastes said...

Kate and Abe - I watched these two out on the river for some time and the dog seemed fine. I don't think that this was the first time they have done this together. Neither of them look upset in the second picture, when they were coming out of the water.

All four of the local over-the-air network stations had cameramen but only the Fox guy had a jacket with the station logo. That's the only reason I used his picture.

Olivier said...

superbe reportage, la première photo est vraiment impressionnante

Superb reportage, the first picture is truly impressive

• Eliane • said...

Well, I love this post! I saw this pic on your Flickr page and was wondering what the story was.
To answer your question, I'd love to say that yes of course I would brave the cold for a great cause like those crazy people did. But I am really not that courageous. Brrrrr... -4C!! That dog deserve a threat!!! (love the 2nd pic as well - shows the complicity between those two)

Waldo Oiseau said...

Crazy people, indeed!! Looks fun from afar.

Annie said...

What a fun series, great photos!
Happy New Year