summersault record
5:01 pm
Sat August 18, 2012

Hundreds roll on Art Hill for charity, fall short of world record

Updated at 8:26 pm on Saturday, Aug. 18 with number of participants

What a sight it was from the top of Art Hill in Forest Park today. 

Feet flew, grass stains were made, but more than 700 people fell short of setting a new world record for simultaneous summersaults.

Nevertheless, a fun time was had by all. 

Joe Baker brought out his son to take a shot at making a little piece of history.

“My son, he gets the Guinness Book of World Records from the library every time we go,” Baker said.  “So, we heard about it and thought it would be a good idea.”

The event was the brainchild of Andrew Tessier, who said he first started doing mass barrel rolls as a party prank. 

But when videos of his mass, public summersaults started to go viral, Tessier said he wanted them to count for more than random fun.

“We got to a point where we were like, ‘why don’t we take it and attach a brand to it and support a foundation that really needs help in the city of St. Louis,” Tessier said.

Tessier and his buddies picked Nurses for Newborns, a non-profit with a mission of preventing infant mortality in at risk families. 

Each participant got a red wristband for a $2 donation and signed his or her name to a massive list that can be used to certify if a record was, in fact, set on Saturday afternoon.

With a helicopter en route to take areal footage, Melinda Ohlemiller, executive director of Nurses for Newborns, said Saturday’s event was a first for the organization.

“First fundraiser we’ve ever had that involves helicopters,” Ohlemiller said.  “I think it’s the first fundraiser that involves the Guinness Book of World Records.  But we’re knocking it out of the park today, absolutely knocking it out of the park.”

Update, with number of participants and money raised.

Ultimately, Tessier fell about 100 participants short of besting the world record of 835 set in Switzerland last year.

They did, however, beat their initial fundraising goal of $2,500, and ended up taking in about $3,000 in donations.