KAYLA DRAKE | Reporter
A dancer, a film major and a man that looks like he walked straight out of the ’70s make up a finalist team for Red Bull’s Can You Make It Challenge. It sounds like the setup for a joke, but these men are considering this quirky challenge to be the launch for a personal brand and are treating it as a business venture.
Known as the wild fans at sporting events, like rugby and basketball, Vince McDonnell and Joe Flowers are Lindenwood students, and Kane Katubig is a student at Webster University. The men are known for going all out on themed nights, such as wearing ’90s jumpsuits and bring their own spice — like wearing swimwear and carrying a salmon — to the stands.
“We’re going to be one of the most apparent teams on this TV show,” McDonnell said. “We’re going to make it that way.”
The race can be thought of as the millennial amazing race, and all participants must be university students. Only 18 teams from the U.S. were accepted, and 3-1-Fource (a tribute to the St. Louis area code) represents Lindenwood University.
The Red Bull Can You Make It challenge is a seven-day race (April 9-18) to Amsterdam across Europe between over 200 teams. The catch is players are stripped of all forms of currency and only given 24 Red Bull cans to barter with. Teams will be dropped off between five starting points: Madrid, Budapest, Manchester, Stockholm and Rome. 3-1-Fource will be starting from Budapest, which is 867 miles away from Amsterdam.
Katubig said the goal is to travel at least 100 miles a day to a checkpoint. Teams are required to go to at least six checkpoints. Each stop is an opportunity to win more Red Bull if they complete challenges. 3-1-Fource can also win points by interactions on social media from followers and Adventure Challenge points. Past challenges have included skiing and gondola riding.
In order to make it to the race, Katubig filmed a video of the three and then the public voted for the best video within the Midwest region. The judges criteria were on charisma, adventure and energy. Then Red Bull called the team (a week earlier than the March 6 deadline) to notify 3-1-Fource that it made the competition.
In Can You Make It 2016, the most recent race, the Red Bull website accumulated 2.9 million page views by the end of the week, according to archrival.com.
“Once this gets started, people in Europe know what’s going on, so they’re going to be like, ‘Oh you’re a part of that Red Bull thing? Take this plane ticket,’” Flowers said.
A team actually did score a helicopter ride over the French Alps in exchange for one Red Bull can in the 2016 challenge.
McDonnell said he is good at negotiating and “roughing it” and Flowers said he is “down for anything,” and is the mediator between Katubig and McDonnell, who have known each other since they were 6 years old. Katubig said he remains calm under stressful situations and has a cinematography background.
The team has put everything off since Jan. 15 to prepare for this competition. The three men have been working on abs at the gym, made a YouTube playlist for Red Bull competition in America, are studying elementary Spanish and German and have read the entire race handbook.
“Day and night, up until 4 a.m. studying the terms and conditions, looking up competition,” Flowers said.
The team is currently working on finding sponsors for the race and building a follower base on their personal social media accounts.
“We’re all trying to build hype for this entire deal,” McDonnell said.
So far the clothing brand Shinesty is sponsoring the team with swimwear.
All of the men want to gain connections from the race and are interested in working with Red Bull in the future after the competition.
“The whole thing is going to be over in seven days,” Katubig said. “If we don’t prepare for what’s going to happen after, then we’re not going to get our full value out of it.”
Lindenwood radio production Professor Sherry Farmer actually helped the team win votes for the video. Flowers, known as “Joe Floww” for his on-air name, mentioned it to her and she sent out an email to all of her students and promoted the team on social media.
Farmer said Flowers and the team can “go far with the Red Bull can” because reality TV will give the men connections some people work years in the industry for.
“I keep telling [Joe], you work it, you work that camera,” Farmer said. “Give it a personality because you don’t know how many people can end up following you from that.”
The essentials the team is bringing with them: pants, a sleeping bag, jacket, map and a Spanish dictionary. Although none of the men have ever camped before, Flowers plans to bring a tent.
“I consider that a strength because I don’t have expectations. I’m expecting to be sleeping on the ground,” McDonnell said.
Katubig said he only plans to bring a GoPro and point-and-shoot camera with him instead of extensively filming the entire trip.
“I don’t want to go home with a couple terabytes of footage and then realize I wasn’t actually there,” he said.
People can watch 3-1-Fource on live streams and edited versions on Red Bull TV’s website and on Red Bull social media. The grand prize for the winning team will be a trip with Destination Red Bull, although Red Bull will also host a giant party for all 200 teams at the end of the race too.
“We’re taking this experience and we’re going to milk the hell out of it,” McDonnell said.