According to OSU, the event’s goal was to raise $50,000 this year, compared to last year’s goal of $30,000. Coaches and athletes participated in the plunge while Cowboy supporters helped the cause by donating just over $50k.
“Last year we raised $34,000 in our first year to do this and I thought it was incredible, so we set a stretch goal to raise $50,000,” Darren Shrum said. “And as usual, the Cowboy family stepped up.”
Former OSU softball player Chelsea Alexander and First Cowboy Darren Shrum created the event in 2022.
“Every time Darren and I get the opportunity to support student philanthropy that goes toward making students’ lives better, we are so excited to do that,” OSU President Kayse Shrum said. “This is a great example of our student athletes supporting our Special Olympics athletes.
“Part of the Cowboy Code is we finish what we start, and this is finishing and jumping in the water.”
OSU says the original threshold for this year’s Chilly Cowboy was $10,000. As more prominent OSU personalities were to be dunked, the total climbed. At the $50,000 mark, Cowgirl basketball coach Jacie Hoyt was next to be dunked.
As donations continued to grow, Hoyt wasn’t sure if the $50,000 goal would be reached. After a few late donations Monday morning, she also took the plunge.
“I think that Oklahoma State is just an amazing family,” Hoyt said. “It’s a testament to the people here and always having so many people who are willing to be selfless and have each other’s backs and just support in whatever way possible.”
The event included a text-to-give raffle, an auction during a recent Cowboys men’s basketball game and donations made to the Chilly Cowboy event.
“I think it’s just a really cool way to combine things I am passionate about and that is OSU athletics and Special Olympics Oklahoma,” Alexander said.
OSU says some of the proceeds from this year’s event will be given to the OSU Unified College Program, an organization that benefits Special Olympics student-athletes at Oklahoma State. The organization partners students with Special Olympic athletes who compete against other unified university athletes.
“The money that we raise, I think of it as athletes helping athletes,” Alexander said. “It’s really cool for us to use our platform and give back to the community that is so strong here. And this year I’m really excited because a portion of our proceeds are going to help OSU Unified. It is really an exciting time for us to help out our community here throughout Stillwater and throughout Oklahoma.”
OSU baseball members and coaches, men’s and women’s basketball, equestrian, football, rodeo, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, track and field, and wrestling joined in. OSU football coach Rob Glass, assistant athletic director of athletic performance, was at the $40,000 tier.
“I’ve always enjoyed helping the Special Olympics,” Glass said. “We’ve had powerlifting for years and this is a great opportunity to get people together for a great cause.”