A new winner was crowned at Burien’s 2024 Polar Bear Plunge held at Three Tree Point on Monday, Jan. 1, 2024 – Joe Hauser, dressed as a sloth, complete with all the affectations of the slow-moving mammal – took home the historic Polar Bear trophy and a cash prize.
Hauser is an environmental engineer who also serves on the Burien Planning Commission, as well as an excellent sloth who obviously method-acted the part (see video proof below).
As all local historians know, the sloth is a prominent figure in the Burien area, as one that’s 10,000 years old was discovered in 1961 when a giant ground sloth known as Megalonyx Jeffersoni was unearthed during construction of Sea-Tac Airport’s second runway. The fossil was discovered by a crane operator and later excavated by a scientist from the Burke Museum, where the original now resides. A full-scale replica can be seen at the Highline Heritage Museum in Burien, or at times now at the south beach of Three Tree Point.
Below is a highlight video of the event, as shot/edited by Scott Schaefer: