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Red Bull Flugtag: Why do people sign up for this?

Kayla Antonio, 23, pilot, Gods of Rock: I really wanted to do it in 2008. I went, and was really jealous of everybody that was in it, like: Why didn't I think of this? Why didn't I hear about that?

Christian Priskos, 19, Sigma Chi Teletubbies: I called my buddy who is in a frat back home in Salt Lake City. We drew something up and sent it in. We didn't think anything of it. I got a call three weeks later that I was accepted to Flugtag. I didn't realize how big it was until she told me how big it was. I heard there are going to be about 300,000 people and I was like, "What?"

Chip "Demo" Santiago, 38, professional wrestler and pilot, Dade City Motocross — Little Evil: I knew what the Flugtag was. I've watched it before on YouTube. As soon as (the captain) asked me if I would be his pilot, I said, "Hell, yeah!" Why not? I love stuff like that.

Justin Hewitt, 24, pilot, Free Range Flyers: I'm kind of an adrenaline junkie. I've always rode motorcycles, four-wheelers. I used to race when I lived in Michigan. I have a car that I drag-race in Bradenton. I'm always the guy, it seems like, behind the wheel.

Antonio: I've done other things, like skydiving, cliff diving, bungee jumping, all those sorts of thing. I felt like Flugtag was one of those once-in-a-lifetime, daredevil kind of things.

Hewitt: I got into a motorcycle accident back in May. I had a broken collarbone, second-degree concussion and road rash on my arms, legs, back. I had two bone contusions on my ankle and my knee. I had zero gear on. The only thing I had on was sunglasses. I've been recovering from that, and getting ready to start rebuilding a motorcycle and get riding again. This was an opportunity for me to do something different with some downtime.

James Bell, 25, Team Stumble Force: I'll do anything for a laugh.

Austina Leonard, 25, Team Shake It Off (on a cell phone): I'm getting hammered in Munich with four of my teammates. It's my 25th birthday, and I wanted to get drunk, so I said, "What's better than going to Munich's Oktoberfest?" We closed out Ibiza, Spain. We're going to Prague. We're gonna come back, and we're gonna rock the Flugtag.

Antonio: This is the only one in the United States this year. It's being part of something amazing. Epic. It's very epic.

Bell: To me, it's pushing your body and mind. You use your mind to build something like this, and hope your body doesn't break when you do it.

Elisha Bonsignore, 27, Free Range Flyers: We work at an engineering firm, and there's a little group that our firm has called the Young Professionals. We all just became friends working together, and we have a lot of fun together, so it was a fun reason to get together and do something outside of work.

Hewitt: It's the opportunity to build something with your hands and start from scratch and design something. Not too many of us actually start something and design it and see through with it.

Bonsignore: It's been good teamwork-building.

Priskos: We've been able to raise about $1,300 bucks for the Huntsman Cancer Foundation. We're sending out emails and would love to get our name out there even more. Cancer has not only touched me, but everyone in the fraternity. It's really a good cause.

Dusty Showers, 40, the 2nd Basemen Team: It's 100 percent for breast cancer. My life is committed to it. I'm a professional human wildlife trapper. I work about 20 percent of the time and the rest is for breast cancer. I swam in Alligator Alley in a pink bra. I ran down Michigan Avenue in Chicago in a pink bra. I've made it clear I'll do anything, so this is really not that big a deal.

Priskos: I wouldn't say I'm nervous. I'm more excited than anything. We hope it goes well.

Hewitt: I think our goal is 212 feet. It's a few feet over the record, if I'm not mistaken. The guys on the mechanical side did all the number-crunching, figuring out the weight of the craft and how far it could go, depending on weather. If we have fair weather and a calm wind, if all goes well, we should be able to hit our goal.

Leonard: We are ready to jump off that little ramp. We're gonna soar through downtown Tampa. You have no idea. We're gonna shake it off, and shake it down. The only thing we're concerned about is how tight our abs are gonna be. You can quote me on that.

Antonio: It's definitely scary. But I like to put myself out there. I like adventure, and I'm not afraid of the spotlight.

Santiago: With wrestling, the adrenaline has to last me two or three hours, throughout the whole show. With this, there's only gonna be a 20-second flight. So I better get my rush on that one shot.

Randy Yoho, 53, owner, Dade City Motocross — Little Evil: If it doesn't fly, it's just fun, you know? If it flies, it's even better.

Antonio: And then it's gone! I've kind of gotten attached to it, too. Every time we see it, every time we get one more thing accomplished — like we got the wings on — I just start smiling, and I'm like: Yeaaaah. That's it.

Leonard: Why not? The question is, who doesn't want to have fun?

Meet the teams The local teams mentioned in this story:

Free Range Flyers

A group of industrial engineers from Hatch in Tampa. Their craft is a tree topped with a birdlike glider. Team members will wear egg costumes, then hatch.

Team ((Shake)) It Off

A group of friends — including an interior designer and a singer — built a device that looks like a giant Shake Weight.

Dade City MotoCross — Little EvIl

Little-person wrestler Chip "Demo" Santiago, dressed as Evel Knievel, will ride a flying motorcycle into the water.

Gods of Rock

A group of workers from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino built this giant guitar, piloted by Kayla Antonio, who is Miss April in this year's Seminole Hard Rock Girls calendar.

The 2nd Basemen Team

A team of breast cancer advocates designed a massive pink bra.

The Sigma Chi Teletubbies

USF's Sigma Chi fraternity built a winged version of the Tubbytronic Superdome and will dress as Teletubbies for the launch.

Team Stumble Force

A group of little "androids" ride a 12-foot Android phone with wings made from parachute material.

For example …

Red Bull Flugtag: Why do people sign up for this? 10/05/11 [Last modified: Friday, October 7, 2011 10:28am]
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