It was a tense scene at the Harwin County Municipal Outdoor Pool on Saturday as a 657 lb brown bear repeatedly did cannonballs off the high dive, soaking anyone within a fifty- foot radius.
FREEPORT, MI—The scene was quiet for a Saturday at the pool. No kids laughing or splashing, no frolicking, no playing Marco Polo or Life Guards shouting at kids not to run. All eyes were trained on one specific patron who seemed to be the only one having any fun that day: A giant brown bear obsessed with doing high dive cannonballs.
“I wasn’t going to ask it to stop,” said sunbather Kelly Jones who had been drenched numerous times by the beast’s enormous water bombs. “My towel was completely soaked, my hair was drenched, I even had some sandwiches that got wet. That beast was relentless,” she said with troubled eyes.
The bear had climbed in over a back fence and gotten in line for the high dive, right behind 12-year-old-Jeremy Barnts. “I felt its warm breath on my back. That was when I knew this wasn’t going to be a normal day at the pool.” Barnts says the other divers in line went silent as they noticed the large bear in line. Some left the line carefully, others, like Barnts, opted to do their best to act normal, making their way to the high dive and jumping into the water in nervous silence.
“When it was the bear’s turn, it seemed to have this big smile on its face. It ran out to the end of the board, launched upward, grabbed its back feet and tucked into a cannonball. The splash it made was so big that the water level of the pool noticeably went down,” said lifeguard Tony Alfonso.
This went on for nearly three hours, relentlessly splashing the onlookers until all were soaked to the bone. At one point, pool patron Jimmy Garner tried to take his kids and leave. When the bear heard the squeaking gate, it turned and roared at the frightened family. “Clearly the bear was offended anyone would try to leave while he was performing his cannonballs,” said Alfonso. After that, nobody attempted escape. All stayed put, enduring the three hours of constant, heavy splashes.
Though animal control had been notified, they waited outside the splash zone. “You don’t want to interrupt a bear who is in the zone like that,” animal control officer Janine Wicket explained. “We figured it was best to keep our distance.”
When the bear was finished, it left through the main exit and meandered back off into the forest. Though their day had been ruined, the pool goers breathed a sigh of relief. They may have been epically soaked, but at least they were alive.
Editor in Chief of BNN. Author and illustrator of Bearmageddon, Axe Cop and the upcoming Dickinson Killdeer’s Guide to Bears of the Apocalypse: Ursine Abominations of the End Times and How to Defeat Them.