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Auto sellers will duel at Polar Fest

Brock Webber of Webber Family Motors, left, and John Sauvageau of Norseman Motors in Detroit Lakes playfully challenge each other in a mock tug of war at the Boys & Girls Club on Friday. The two local car dealerships will face off for charity on the ice of Little Detroit Lake as part of “half time” festivities at the Polar Fest Plunge on Saturday, Feb. 15. DL NEWSPAPERS/Vicki Gerdes

Though “The Plunge” is typically the highlight of Detroit Lakes’ annual Polar Fest celebration, the 18th annual fundraiser for the local Boys & Girls Club will include a “half time show” that could upstage the main event.

At approximately the halfway point in the Polar Fest Plunge, teams from Webber Family Ford and Norseman Motors will be facing off in a tug-of-war — over the hole in the ice where the plungers leap into the water.

“They may not get pulled in, but the losing team has to jump into the water,” said Polar Fest Plunge committee member Scott Walz.

“There will be a wet loser,” joked Boys & Girls Club resource development director Sue Trnka, who helps coordinate the annual fundraiser.

Walz said he approached Brock Webber a few weeks ago about finding a way for his family’s business to help add a little spice to the annual “Plunge” festivities.

Webber came up with the idea of holding a tug of war with another local car dealership.

“I thought it would be a neat challenge, like at the (Northwest) Water Carnival, when the police department goes up against the fire department in the water fights,” Webber said.

“We’ll have dealership employees for both teams,” he added, noting that he intends to be one of them.

“You’re crazy!” laughed Norseman's owner John Sauvageau, adding, “They wouldn’t want me on our team — I’m too little.”

The plan is for each team to include four men, and possibly one woman as well, Webber said.

“We’re hoping it develops into a bigger thing over the next few years,” he added.

“We hope to open it up to other teams in the future, and make it into a business challenge,” Walz explained — though the number of teams participating will have to be limited, due to time constraints.

“The divers (who assist people out of the water) can only be in there for a certain length of time,” Trnka explained.

Both Webber and Norseman have agreed to provide matching funds of up to $1,200 for all donations made toward the “Jump & Match” Tug of War — both on the ice, and online.

Prior to the event, people can pledge donations for the tug of war at — or go to the main page at and type “Jump & Match” into the search bar.

Sign-up for the Polar Fest Plunge is also still open online at, from now until Friday, Feb. 14.

The Plunge is set to take place at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, on the ice of Little Detroit Lake near the DL Pavilion.

Organizers have a goal of raising $70,000 and bringing in 250 jumpers for The Plunge this year, according to Boys & Girls Club director Pat Petermann.

Throughout the day, there will also be ongoing indoor activities nearby, inside the Pavilion.

The Knights of Colum-bus will start off the “Plunge Party” festivities at the Pavilion with a pancake and French toast breakfast from 7 to 10:30 a.m.

“Throughout the event there will be kids’ games and activities inside the Pavilion, run by our club staff,” said Petermann.

The Detroit Lakes Jaycees will serve brats, hot dogs, chips, chili, soft drinks and beer from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and when the Plunge starts at 1 p.m., party guests can enjoy a live television feed of the festivities in-side the Pavilion as well.

Of course, the fun will continue long after The Plunge is over, Trnka said.

“Bring your steins,” she added, referring to the limited edition Polar Fest beer steins that are being sold at the Boys & Girls Club as well as participating area bars for $30 each, while supplies last.

“Those who bring their steins to the Pavilion on the day of the Plunge can use them for specials at the Jaycees booth,” Trnka said.

The steins will also be good for 2-for-1 beer specials at Lakeside Tavern, Bleachers Bar & Grill, and BJ’s Barbecue Shack from now until Sunday, Feb. 16.

But all this is just the beginning of the day’s festivities.

“Stick around and enjoy more food, beverages and fun,” Walz said. “There will be a bean bag tournament inside the Pavilion after The Plunge.”

He added that they are still looking for people to sign up for the bean bag tournament. Contact Mike at 218-847-5700, ext. 5, for more information.

The festivities will continue into the evening as well, with a tailgate party, “Frozen Fireworks,” live music by Slamabama at the “Polar Fest Wrap Party” in the Holiday Inn and the Polaritaville dance hosted by the Lakes Area Parrot Heads at Zorbaz.

A complete schedule of Polar Fest activities, Feb. 7-16, is available at

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454