I can’t stop staring at the Rio.
Seriously, it’s becoming a problem. Every time I drive down I-15 or head west on Flamingo, the hotel and casino is there, all 51 stories of shiny, color-blocked, dangerously slick glass towering over me. This Thursday — without a gun to my head, a $10,000 check in the wings or any sort of liquid courage — I am going to jump off the edge.
Okay, it’s more of a slow shimmy. A few weeks ago I was approached to participate in a media preview of the Special Olympics of Nevada’s Over the Edge fundraiser going down October 8. Las Vegans who raise $1,000 for Special Olympics will be rappelling down the side of the Rio this Friday with the help of a Nova Scotia-based sky-high event-production company that shares the benefit’s name. A few lucky local members of the press were invited to try out the rigging a day early to drum up excitement for the actual event. In other words, I’m one of the guinea pigs.
And I’m totally fine with that. Unlike most sane people, who avoid looking down and riding in experimental aircraft, I like heights, particularly when they come with an incredible view and a good cause. The Special Olympics, which delivers free year-round athletic training for children and adults with developmental disabilities, certainly is that. If I’m going to give my mother heart palpitations by rappelling more than 500 feet from a casino roof, at least it can be for so worthy a charity. If you feel the urge to donate, you can sponsor my descent by clicking here.
And if you happen to be driving by the Rio on October 7 around 1 p.m., take a moment to glance up at the giant building. Maybe you’ll see a tiny body skimming down along a (hopefully very strong) rope. You won’t be able to catch it, but I’ll be smiling all the way to the ground.