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Taking a plunge for the team

A friendly wager between friends ended in shivers, goosebumps and chattering teeth Tuesday.

At noon, Kennewick residents LeeAnn Truax, Paul Skoglund and Mark Tennancour made good on a bet by jumping off the boat docks at the east end of Columbia Park.

Their icy plunge was the forfeit between the wet Minnesota Vikings fans and their friends who had cheered the Chicago Bears on to a 40-14 victory Monday.

The losers had to jump into the Columbia River, which the Corps of Engineers reported is running at a bone-numbing 44 degrees. And there wasn't any relief after climbing out, as the air temperature held in the low 30s.

The wager started out between Eric Razey of Pasco and his co-worker, Truax. The two convinced two more pairs of Viking and Bears fans into joining them in what they began calling the River Bowl. All six work at Tri-City casinos -- Crazy Moose and Coyote Bob's -- so are not allowed to bet for money, even among themselves.

Razey had had a bet with another friend that each would wear the other's team jersey if their team lost.

"But LeeAnn didn't want to wear anything of the Bears, so I tried to think of something just darn-right funny and laughable," Razey said. "Then it came to me -- jump into the river. No one would get hurt, and we could all laugh about it.

"She's the only Vikings fan I knew of ornery enough to take the bet and not back out," he said. "I told her my idea, she thought about a minute and then said, 'Let's do it, I'm in.' "

The Vikings and Bears first played in mid-November. The Vikings lost and Truax took the plunge Nov. 14.

"It happened to be almost 60 degrees out and the river was about 55 degrees -- still cold but nothing compared to how cold it was today," she said later.

"I was in and out. It took me a good minute after I was out of the water to catch my breath," she said. "I could not stop shaking on the way home. I don't think I've ever been so cold in my whole life."

Fellow Vikings fan Tennancour agreed, saying, "I didn't so much brace myself for the cold as hurry up and get it over with."

Afterward, both headed for hot showers, which likely is where Skoglund went too.

Yet all six involved in the wager are ready to do it again next year.

But, Tennancour said, "I'm just hoping for a stronger team next year."

"Yeah, I hope it's Eric jumping into the Columbia next year," Truax said.

Loretto J. Hulse: 582-1513; lhulse@tricityherald.com; more news at www.tricityherald.com

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