SM PIER — A Los Angeles Police officer will ride the iconic Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier for 25 hours straight later this month in an attempt to break the Guinness World Records title.
Gus Martinez plans to hop aboard the Pacific Wheel May 31 and ride it from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. on June 1, according to a press release issued by Pacific Park, the amusement park on the pier.
Martinez will have to remain in a Ferris wheel gondola throughout the record-setting effort. He will be periodically joined by his son Jason, an athlete with the Special Olympics of Southern California. Other family members and fellow law enforcement officers will be on hand to ride along and cheer him on.
Martinez hopes to raise money for Special Olympics.
Supporters can get involved with a variety of fundraising options available online at www.pacpark.com/worldrecord. Once an online donation is confirmed, the supporter can then guess how many rotations the Pacific Wheel will make during the 25-hour world record event.
The supporter who comes closest to the total rotations without going over will receive a free, private one-hour ride on the famed Ferris wheel. The ride will occur during non-operating hours with four guests and include a meal from The Lobster restaurant.
In addition, supporters donating at the website will receive a $10 off coupon for Sports Authority, a Special Olympics of Southern California partner.
Guests can also ride the Ferris wheel in one of the remaining gondolas for $5 during the park’s exclusive after-hours from 8 p.m. to midnight. All proceeds raised during the period will go toward the Special Olympics.
“Rarely does an opportunity come along to help such a great organization, while recognizing the hard work of law enforcement and an athlete, all while having fun,” said Jeff Klocke, director of marketing and sales at Pacific Park. “Pacific Park is committed to being the best partner to Special Olympics Southern California. We recognize the excellence, endurance and time the athletes put toward their sport. We are matching that enthusiasm with the Ferris wheel, fundraising and will power.”
After the 25 hours, Martinez and his son will light the official Southern California Law Enforcement Torch. A Santa Monica police officer and Special Olympics athlete will then take the torch up the pier, down Colorado Avenue, onto Main Street to the Public Safety Facility where the flame will be kept for the weekend.
On June 4, law enforcement officials will kick off the Southern California legs of the Law Enforcement Torch Run for the Special Olympics of Southern California Summer Games.
Martinez has been with the LAPD since 1994 and is currently a detective with the Special Crime Task Force. He is also a Special Olympics coach. His son Jason has Down syndrome.
“Special Olympics athletes are real athletes: no endorsements, no scholarships, just pure joy to train and compete,” Martinez said. “Being in this … world of athletes, parents, volunteers… it’s a bit of change from working with the crime-related activity I typically focus on day in and day out.”
As a detective who works long hours, Martinez believes he has the stamina to pull off a world record. He’s motivated not by the recognition, but by his son and his desire to help the Special Olympics.
The Special Olympics Summer Games will take place June 9-10 at Cal State Long Beach. An estimated 6,000 people are expected to attend the games.
For more information on the games, go to www.sosc.org/summergames.