Iowa House Speaker, Rep. Berry set to rappel down a Des Moines building

The fourth annual “Over the Edge” event raises money for the Special Olympics

DES MOINES — Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha, and state Rep. Deb Berry, D-Waterloo, are set to rappel down a downtown Des Moines building today to raise money for the Special Olympics.

“Nervous, but ready,” Berry said when asked Tuesday how she felt in advance of the rappel. “I’m doing this because last year I went to the Special Olympics in Ames, and I saw all these amazing people there.”

The politicos are part of the fourth annual “Over the Edge” event, which raises money for and awareness of the Special Olympics Iowa. They’re among 100 people who will rappel down the 345-foot Financial Center building. Completed in 1973, the building held the distinction of being the tallest in the city until the 1975 completion of the 460-foot tall Ruan Center.

Other participants include former University of Iowa standout and NFL player Tim Dwight and “various business leaders,” said Joyce Allard, director of communications for Special Olympics Iowa.

Paulsen, a U.S. Air Force veteran, said he’s never rappelled such a distance.

“It’s for a good cause,” said Paulsen, who was otherwise characteristically tight-lipped about his preparations for the rappel. He did say, however, that he accepted the challenge as soon as it was offered.

“We’ll see how it goes,” he said.

Berry, on the other hand, said she’s been preparing for the rappel for several weeks.

“Basically, I’m exercising every day,” she said. “I wanted to do this to support people who might not have big lobbies or a lot of money. Like I said, going to the Special Olympics in Ames changed my life.”

Special Olympics Iowa is a statewide nonprofit organization that provides training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities in all 99 counties of Iowa in 23 Olympic-style sports.

More information on the event can be found on the group’s website at

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