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Can they make it? Students steel themselves for trek across Europe

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Three University of Louisiana at Lafayette students are packing their bags.

They will fly to Europe April 9, but not for a relaxing vacation.

Brandii Champagne, Emily Daigle and Sam Riehl, all seniors in the College of the Arts, will compete in “Red Bull Can You Make It?” contest. They are one of over 200 teams from over 60 countries who will try to traverse the continent using only cans of Red Bull, an energy drink, for currency.

The trio – who call themselves The Cajuns – will touch down in one of five European cities: Budapest, Madrid, Manchester, Rome or Stockholm. “We have no idea where yet,” said Daigle, a performing arts major.

Upon arrival, contestants will fork over their cash and credit cards. In return, they will receive a smart phone with unlimited data and 24 cans of Red Bull.

With empty wallets, teams will leave their respective starting points April 10 for Amsterdam. They must arrive in the Dutch city by April 17.

Along the way, competitors will secure meals, lodging and transportation – or try to – with their cans of Red Bull.

Getting to Amsterdam well-fed and rested won’t be the only hurdle. Teams will stop at designated checkpoints where they will complete tasks to earn points. Competitors will also earn points based on the number of likes they receive for social media posts made during their trips. The team that accrues the most points will win the contest.

In a previous contest, one assignment involved skydiving, Daigle said. Although competitors won’t be forced to do anything they don’t want to, “the more difficult the challenge, the more points you get.”

Faring well at checkpoints, though, might not be the hardest part of the journey.

Case in point: In the past, failure to successfully barter for a place to sleep meant one group of students caught shut-eye under the Eiffel Tower.

Champagne, also a performing arts major, isn’t sure what she and her teammates will face during their sojourn, but she is “expecting the unexpected.”

“I anticipate being hungry and miserable, but also having the best time of my life,” she said.

The UL Lafayette students earned the right to compete in the contest by submitting a minute-long video. In it, they explained a bit about themselves and their excitement at the prospect of participating in the competition.

The videos were posted on the contest website. Videos that received the most votes were pared to a group of finalists. A panel of judges ultimately selected teams that will participate in the adventure, based on votes and content of the videos.

The Cajuns will need to depend on the same charisma that helped them become contestants.

“You’re relying on charm to convince people who help you that they are part of something awesome,” said Riehl, an industrial design major.

The winners of the 2018 contest will receive an as-yet-undisclosed prize.

One group of past winners traveled the world for about three months for free, Riehl said. “They got to go wherever they wanted.”

Learn more about The Cajuns: https://canyoumakeit.redbull.com/en/teams/625/

Learn more about the contest: canyoumakeit.redbull.com

Photo, from left: Brandii Champagne, Sam Riehl and Emily Daigle will travel to Europe to compete in “Red Bull Can You Make It?” contest.