PHOTO GALLERY: Rappelling event raises money for Special Olympics

Sunday, October 4, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 10:41 a.m. CDT, Sunday, October 4, 2009
"Just lean back" is much easier said than done when suspended 10 stories above the ground on the south wall of The Tiger Hotel, but Amber Lonchar, a senior at the University of Missouri and volunteer at the Over The Edge event on Saturday, did it with a smile.

Special Olympics Missouri held an unusual fundraiser Saturday. Participants received pledge money to rappel down the side of The Tiger Hotel with the help of Over the Edge, a company that operates similar events across the country. The 10-story descent was a daunting challenge for some, especially the organization's chief development officer, Susan Stegeman, who is afraid of heights.

Becky Morris, a teacher at a school for the severely disabled, makes her way down the south wall of The Tiger Hotel during Special Olympics Missouri's Over The Edge event Saturday.
Columbia Police Department detective Cyndi McLane rappels down the side of The Tiger Hotel on Saturday for Over the Edge to benefit Special Olympics Missouri.
Susan Stegeman listens to Over The Edge consultant Nathan Schuster as he instructs her on the rappelling process that will get her safely down the side of The Tiger Hotel during Saturday's Over The Edge event for Special Olympics Missouri.
Over The Edge, an event to raise money for the Special Olympics Missouri, provided participants a chance to literally go over the edge — the edge of The Tiger Hotel. After suiting up, a brief gear instruction, a two-story practice rappel and an elevator ride to the top, participants pushed themselves to the limit and lowered themselves the down the side of the hotel.
Usually, the ability to rappel down the side of a building is reserved for window washers but not on Saturday. Participants who raised money for Special Olympics Missouri got the chance to throw on a harness, get their adrenaline pumping and witness Columbia from a unique perspective in the Over The Edge event.
From left, Ken Hoeg and his 3-year-old son, Logun, seven-year-old Tanner Lightle, front, Brittain Center and Josh Boveri, all wait for their family members to rappel off the Tiger Hotel on Saturday's Over The Edge event in support of the Special Olympics Missouri. The rare spectacle of people rappelling down the side of a large building brought quite a crowd to eighth street.

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