It was a warm and sunny 68 degrees outside at Fort Bragg's Smith Lake on Thursday. For some that was warm enough to step up to MWR's polar bear plunge challenge.
Soldiers showed up for a complimentary lunch hosted by Outback Steakhouse and took part in some fun contests winning gift certificates and prizes valued over $800 planned for the event along with music by a live d.j.
At the sound of the horn, Garrison Commander, Col. Stephen Sicinski kicked off the polar bear plunge for those brave enough lining up on the beach to dive into the 50 degree waters at Smith Lake. Towels and a warming tent were provided afterwards for the participants who shrieked in delight at the sheer craziness of the event. Fun was had by all at the first annual event.
The ski rixen has not been open since 1998, but was open to the polar bear plunge participants today. The ski rixen consists of five metal pylon structures that tow wakeboarders around the track. Think of it as water skiing without the boat - complete with ramps for stunts. The track can accommodate nine people at one time. If the wake boarder takes a plunge, he can swim to the dock and walk back, or wait for the lifeguard personnel in boats to assist them.
Deanna Lampley, business manager for MWR, chaired Thursday's activities at Smith Lake. "This is the first time we are utilizing the newly installed ski rixen," she said. "The event is a new initiative in support of the single soldiers."
With the recent closing of the Fort Bragg Riding Stables, this venue will be a hit in the spring and summer for MWR. Prices and season passes will be sold to ride the ski rixen, but costs have not been released yet.