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Oklahoma State Football

Chilly Cowboy Raises More Than $28,000 for Special Olympics

March 7, 2022

STILLWATER – The Chilly Cowboy, which is a fundraiser created by Oklahoma State softball player Chelsea Alexander, was a rousing success on several fronts as it raised more than $28,000 for Special Olympics.

Monday’s high peaked at about 36 degrees, so it was the perfect day for people to get dunked. With a few hundred people huddled around, it was a fun event to experience as Mike Gundy went under three times, once to begin and then twice on his own. Mike Boynton was one of the fastest to hop out of the water, right along with Dr. Shrum. I’m not ashamed to say I would’ve been out of the water as soon as my feet hit the bottom of the tank. But the penultimate moment was when Cowboy wrestling’s Zack Esposito hopped on Cowgirl tennis head coach Chris Young’s lap and the two were dunked together.

Darren Shrum, the husband of Oklahoma State President Dr. Kayse Shrum, has been a special education teacher and helped spearhead the project with Alexander. The event officially began on Saturday, March 5 with a fundraiser at halftime of Cowboy basketball’s game against Texas Tech. There was an auction taking place on the concourse level of Gallagher-Iba Arena, as well as Cowboy football’s Aden Kelley playing the role of auctioneer while people bid on a Mike Gundy-signed Fiesta Bowl helmet.

“We have a special relationship with the Special Olympics; we host the state games every year, so it was a great tie-in,” said Oklahoma State Athletic Director Chad Weiberg. But really this was all Chelsea [Alexander], her passion and her idea; she’s been involved in this for a long time, obviously with her brother. So, she brought the idea to us, and it was a no-brainer to get involved in it and get behind it. Obviously, with Darren [Shrum] and Dr. Shrum’s leadership and just how all the coaches and all the student athletes came together, I think it was great, especially for the first year and with the money we raised and the good it will do.”

Because the event far exceeded expectations, the group of Oklahoma State head coaches, along with Dr. Shrum and her husband, Darren, Athletic Director Chad Weiberg and a collection of student athletes, which included Alexander, participated in an Oklahoma State-unique polar plunge, called the Chilly Cowboy. A dunk tank was set up outside the Student Union and each person took turns getting dunked by Special Olympic athletes.

“It was cold, probably colder than I expected, but it was for a great cause,” said Oklahoma State President Kayse Shrum. “Special Olympics is something near and dear to my heart as a former athlete, pediatrician and mom. Chelsea Alexander, it was her idea and something that we wanted to support and help our student athletes build that foundation for philanthropy.

“I said next year we might have to raise the goal because that water’s pretty cold,” President Shrum said with a smile.

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Chilly Cowboy Raises More Than $28,000 for Special Olympics

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