One Cool Character

  • Matthew Myers
  • Posted on December 20, 2018

Under blazing sun and steely silver moon, buffeted by winds and blanketed in fresh snow, he sits, patiently waiting.

The days and weeks roll by, but still he sits, unseasonably clad in a T-shirt and shorts, waiting and watching as the firmament below him thickens and thins. In mid-winter, then late winter, Rocky bides his time, waiting for warmer days to come.

In the past few years, Rocky has become a familiar figure to travelers passing through Leominster’s west side. Perched on his lifeguard chair, he stoically watches the pond, the shoreline, the traffic hustling by.

And throughout the day, the evening, the night, residents around the city and region are keeping an eye on him, too, via a strategically-placed webcam. As spring approaches, as weather warms and ice begins to thin, those viewers  — comfortably nestled in their warm homes — are waiting for Rocky to take the plunge. They’ll cheer when the legs of his chair begin to wobble, then sink into the icy waters of Rockwell Pond. It’s ice-out time!

The moment that Private Rocky hits the water, the time is recorded — and the person who comes closest to guessing that exact time will win this year’s Ice-Out Contest sponsored by the Leominster Veterans Center. It may not be fun for Rocky — who began his career as a department store mannequin — but it’s a financial win-win, for the person with the best guess and for the Veterans’ Center.

If you think you’re up for the challenge of guessing the date and time of Rocky’s chilly dip, visit leovets.org to read the full rules and purchase a ticket or two.

Here’s a tip: In the past five years, the dates of Rocky’s icy plunge have ranged from February 22 to April 7. Sure, there
are a lot of days, hours, minutes and seconds in there — but give it your best shot. It’s for a good cause, and you can join Rocky in having something to look forward to, as cold winter days give way to a hint of spring.

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