Water skiers brave frigid river to grant kids' wishes - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Nick Kenney

Water skiers brave frigid river to grant kids' wishes

On a chilly New Year's Day, a hearty group of Mid-Southerners water skied in the frigid Mississippi River for a very good cause, and said they had a great time doing it. 

"Everybody'll get to laugh at these people skiing, I guess," said participant Mark Nixon.

The Ski Freeze is an annual ritual in which a group of skiiers hits the river to ring in the new year.
"It's kind of like a habit...a bad habit, now," said Julie Yancey, who has participated in all 32 Ski Freeze installments.

While many people were at home sleeping off a long night of revelry, these adventurers were splashing around in chilly waters.

"I ski hard, but I ski safe," said Duane Griffith, who has participated since 1988.

Skier Bennie Chesteen was the very first brave soul in the water on Thursday morning.

"I expected it to be cold, but when you splash and crash, it makes it even colder because you just fell...now you gotta get back up and start all over again," he said.

Skiers paid $30 for a turn behind the boat. Each participant received a commemorative shirt, and the knowledge that their donation will benefit Dream Factory, a volunteer organization that grants the wishes of critically-ill children.

"We'll probably raise enough to grant three or four wishes," said Dream Factory's Brian Juengling.

Wishes granted over the past 20 years include shopping sprees, trips to Disney World, and even meeting football star Brett Favre.

Click here to e-mail Nick Kenney.

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