All are invited to jump or watch Saturday, February 11, 1:00 p.m. The Rotary Club of Rockford presents the seventeenth annual Sweetheart Splash on Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm. This winter fun event takes place at the Rockford dam is a community favorite. Area “jumpers” brave the icy Rogue River with participants performing skits and dance routines prior to going in the water for a captive and lively crowd and a panel of judges. Splash lasts approximately 90 minutes and includes music, surprises and lots of laughs. This year, our panel of esteemed judges includes local business leaders and politicians and WZZM Meteorologist, George Lesson. We are hopeful that George will order up a warm break in the weather for us! Coveted, Sweetheart Splash Trophies are presented for category winners in Singles, Couples, and Groups. Entrants must be 15 years of age and pre-register by 10 a.m. Saturday, February 11, 2012. Entrants between the ages of 15 to 18 must have a parent/guardian present at time of registration. Registration forms are available at Rockford Community Federal Community Credit Union located at 3 N. Monroe – Rockford. Registration fee is $5 per person and group size is limited to ten. T-shirts are available for $5. This fundraising event benefits North Kent Community Services. “This year, Splash spectators and the community are asked to donate cash, non-perishable food items, new or gently used blankets and coats for clients of North Kent Community Services. The center’s need for these items exceeds the available supply, leaving our communities most vulnerable in the cold,” says Connie Taylor, Sweetheart Splash Co-Organizer and NKCS Board member. Coats and blankets are currently being collected for the Splash event at NKCS and RCFCU. The Rotary Club of Rockford is a community and world service organization made up of local business people. Rotary has weekly lunch and breakfast meetings. For more information visit them at: www.rockfordmirotary.org.
Sweetheart Splash an annual favorite at Rockford dam by BETH ALTENA Sweet 16 has never been as cold as ice before, but this year’s Sweetheart Splash at the dam in downtown Rockford is as sure to thrill as it is to chill. Individual, couple and group jumpers are invited to prove their love—or nerve—as they take the plunge into the Rogue River, often in costume and with skits and freebies for the audience. Participants must pre-register by 10 a.m. the day of the event, but the big show begins at 1 p.m. and lasts about 90 minutes. Last year’s 15th annual Splash had a record 70-plus jumpers, including the Rockford Fire Department, who stripped for the crowd before hitting the water. Celebrity judges decide the winners in each category. Returning from last year is Matt Kirkwood of Storm Team 8, who performed an “impromptu” plunge after raising $1,500. Organizer Lisa Boyd said she believes he might again be enticed to show some skin before going in. “Standing with Matt Kirkwood, egging him on to strip, was rough,” Boyd joked. “As soon as we announced he might go in, out came the $20 bills.” Boyd, a former Rockford Rotarian, and current Rotarian Connie Taylor have been co-chairing the event for a decade. They noted that the event is fun, but also for a good cause. The Splash was started as a fundraiser for North Kent Community Services (NKCS), which is experiencing record requests for aid in Kent County. Taylor, who is also on the NKCS board, asks the public to participate in a blanket-and-outerwear drive by donating new or gently used items. Splash donations last year, either from passing the bucket in the crowd, or by jumper donations, totaled over $7,500. “We do have a lot of fun, but we are also here for a reason,” Boyd stated. Over the years there have been a marriage proposal during Splash, well-organized skits by groups, fun costumes and plenty of music. John Decker and Tom Pearce went in as the Blues Brothers several years, and the entire Rockford Board of Education took the plunge in Ram-themed boxer shorts to raise money for a defibrillator. Boyd said every year the Algoma dive team is on hand to make sure […]
Gene Parker takes plunge for $1,035 No good deed goes unpunished and for annual Splash announcer and radio personality Gene Parker, the saying was certainly true Saturday. Parker, who kindly donates his time and talent to many Rockford events, was cheerfully doing a great job Saturday during the 14th annual Sweetheart Splash at the Rockford dam when Rotarian Rick Ehinger decided to ratchet up the crowd’s incentive to donate. He said he’d pitch in $200 to see Parker take the plunge into the Rogue. Parker waffled, saying he wasn’t prepared for a dip in the drink and John Decker and Sandy Waite both upped the ante by another hundred each. With $400 on the line in the fundraiser for the North Kent Service Center, local businesses, Splash jumpers and members of the crowd began throwing in the dough to total an impressive $1,035 guaranteeing Parker’s plunge (and probably the end of donating his time for Splash). With 30 jumpers and an air temperature of 30 degrees, the event went smoothly and was well attended. Rockford Quick Lube team again stole the show with their group jump. Without the Jaycees, who disbanded this year on what would have been the group’s 50th anniversary, competition was low. The Quick Lubies made it up to the crowd with a great limbo routine and challenging other local businesses to up the ante next year with more team groups. Connie Taylor of the Rockford Community Federal Credit Union called the jump very successful with over $2,000 raised for NKSC. Past good hauls included the year Herman’s Boy’s Floyd Havemeier went in at age 65, raising $5,000 from the many people who paid to see him go under.