For the seventh year, the Barbour River Rats are bringing in the New Year with a cold morning dip in the Tygart Valley River.
The Barbour River Rats gathered under the covered bridge in Philippi for its annual Polar Plunge Tuesday morning. It may seem like a crazy thing to do, but participants said it's a great way to have fun in the winter season.
"It's just something difference that not everyone else does, say 'hey I jumped in the river in the snow', plus you know, it's invigorating. It gets the adrenaline pumping and everything else," said Cecil Springer II, who took his fifth plunge Tuesday morning.
The event raises money every year to support the Barbour County Emergency Squad. Organizer Sam Muncy said he wants to be sure that the emergency squad has what it needs to operate after responders were called to help his son some years ago.
"They saved my son's life, and it affected me, and I love the Barbour County Emergency Squad. Those guys work hard and don't get enough money," Muncy said.
And that support is something the squad can always use. It's recently purchased a brand new ambulance, and said the money from this event will go a long way to help serve the community.
"It makes a big difference. Times right now are financially for everyone, hard, and so it does support and it helps us a great deal," said Matt Knotts, who was at the plunge working with the squad.
And the event shows no sign of slowing down. Muncy is already planning for next year, and even first-timers this year, like Joan Rine, may be coming back for more.
"I got a feeling I'm going to do it again, because my granddaughter who's eight is going to do it next year, and my son's done it many times, so we're all going to go in," Rine said.
All the participants had help getting warm after their plunge with chili and drinks after the event.