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Zombies, daredevils turn out for Hoggy Doggy splashTell North Platte what you think
Photo by Jay Huff
Lewys Carlini
Photo by Jay Huff
Parading for the judges
Photo by Jay Huff
Big Rob Mitchell flanked by other brave souls.
Photo by Jay Huff
"Jones and Smith"
Courtesy Photo­Image
Gary Keeney
Photo by Jay Huff
Josh Erlandson

The air temperature was in the mid-40s Friday but the water temp was a balmy 34 degrees for some 40 fanatics who took a dip in the South Platte River.

The 15th Hoggy Doggy Shadow Splash raised $4,000 for the Adopt-a-Backpack program for North Platte school kids.

A fair-sized crowd of onlookers gathered on the bank of the river south of the Paloucek Law Office to watch the craziness.

The brave splashers hit the water with enthusiasm, sending cold water flying in all directions. Some submerged themselves completely. A handful made it all the way across the river.

Shivers and goose bumps were prevalent and there were some streaks of color flowing downstream from some of the dye that accented crazy costumes.

Lewys Carlini, who holds a lifetime achievement award for his costumes, appeared as a zombie.

During a pre-dip parade for the judges, Carlini got into character and had some kids backing away from him as he stumbled their way groaning in “zombie speak.”

Two North Platte residents who identified themselves as Steve Jones and Mike Smith, who have been cavemen at past splashes, wore bright red flannel underwear this time. However, some tinges of blue showed in their faces after the icy dip.

Josh Erlandson of the Brouillette Law Firm said he entered to get a kick from the splash. His costume was one of the most elaborate -- a Roman Soldier.

The cost to enter was $100 a person, and Gary Keeney of North Platte donated a fine he received in court.

Keeney said he had a run-in with police, who charged him with carrying a concealed weapon -- a hunting knife in his car, after they pulled him over and administered a sobriety test.

Keeney said he ended up with a $100 fine, but he sat out his time in jail instead of paying the county. Then he donated the money to the splash and the backpack program. He wore a jail house costume.

“That way I could donate it (the fine) to a charity, and this event was perfect,” he said.

After the dip, the splashers dried off, warmed up and enjoyed food provided by Jimi Johns and Subway.

One of the three organizers, Jim Paloucek, felt that it was a great re-entry to public involvement for the Splash.

The splash has been on hiatus the past couple years, with only Paloucek, Jones, Fudge and attorney Martin Marty Troshynski jumping in.

Jones thought the turnout was good this year, since it was only promoted on facebook.

“We really didn’t know what to expect this time from the social networking aspect of it,” he said. “This isn’t the smallest or the biggest turnout, and for the future we hope to promote the event better and get more of the media involved.”

David Fudge, also one of the organizers, said it was a good run this time. “We did raise $4,000 for a real good cause,” he said. “I’m very pleased and after we thaw for awhile and have time to plan we’ll toss around ideas on how to promote it next time.”

The sky was hazy, leaving questions about the odds of six more weeks of winter.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 2/1/2013
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