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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UA teams booed at Flugtag

    A crowd of more than 70,000 people showed up to Tempe Town Lake this weekend to witness the Red Bull Flugtag, which comprised 29 teams, including two from the UA.

    Aided by free Red Bull, spectators excitedly cheered as team after team dove off the 30-foot flight deck into the water below, where they were quickly picked up by awaiting rescuers.

    Created in 1991, the Red Bull Flugtag (floog-tawg) is German for “”flying day”” and gives teams of up to five people the opportunity to build homemade, human-powered flying crafts that are then piloted through the air and into the water.

    Although every team was unique in its own way, several memorable crafts won over the crowd with their humorous pre-flight skits and heroic falls.

    Kings Got Wings from Laguna Hills, Calif., were inspired by Elvis’s favorite treat, a peanut butter and banana sandwich.

    Dressed in sequenced jumpsuits and muttonchops, the team danced to “”A Little Less Conversation,”” incorporating all of the King’s standard moves, before riding the 18-foot-by-15-foot sandwich off the ramp.

    The crowd was also entertained by the Toilet Bull, which, as its name would suggest, was an enormous toilet with wings. It was piloted by South Park’s fecal character “”Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo.””

    The team also included toilet paper, air freshener, a toilet brush and a plunger; all of whom participated in a skit with Mr. Hankey’s famous greeting “”Hidey Ho.””

    Another big hit with the crowd was the Shaggin Waggin, who recreated the van from the movie “”Dumb and Dumber,”” complete with ears.

    The team drove more than 20 hours from Oregon State University in order to participate in the event, and even though the van didn’t fly, they still felt the experience was worth it.

    “”(The craft) didn’t fly as far as we all had wanted it to,”” said Brian DuPont, a graduate of OSU. “”But the whole thing was really awesome.””

    Winning the Flugtag for the second time was The Need for Speed, from Fort Collins, Colo., who used “”Top Gun”” as inspiration for their human-powered fighter jet.

    Although the craft soared 26 feet, it was the team’s live rendition of “”You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”” that won over the judges and had 70,000 highly-caffeinated spectators singing along.

    Second place was awarded to a very similar craft, Air Farce One, from Salt Lake City, which used President Bush’s “”Mission Accomplished”” speech for inspiration.

    The pilot dressed in Air Force attire accented by oversized “”Dubya”” ears and was chased around the flight deck by terrorists.

    The president saved himself by pouring Red Bull on the terrorists, who ripped off their robes to reveal American flag-themed outfits before dancing with the president.

    The rivalry between the UA and Arizona State Univeristy had been hyped up throughout the event and reached a crescendo when Flight of the Pacman prepared for their flight and the announcer stated, “”These guys are all U of A students. How does the crowd feel about that?”” The answer was a “”boo”” 70,000 people strong that lasted throughout the performance.

    The team received 31 out of 50 points but was not able to win over the crowd even though everyone seemed entertained by their performance, in which Pac-Man was chased along the flight deck by the other team members dressed as the ghosts “”Blinky,”” “”Pinky,”” “”Inky”” and “”Clyde.””

    Pilot Gary Ebersbach, a fine arts freshman, said he was surprised by the crowd’s response but didn’t let the negativity affect the experience.

    “”I thought the crowd was going to be Tempe people, not ASU people,”” Ebersbach said.

    Team captain Taylor Bednarik, a business administration senior, had his own way of dealing with the crowd.

    “”Honestly I didn’t care. I tuned everything out,”” Bednarik said. “”Based on our budget (of $100), we did the best we could do.””

    The second UA team, which was originally slated to stick it to ASU with a Chariot to Hell craft, changed its theme to Sesame Street telling the crowd that the Flugtag was a time for celebration and not rivalries.

    The team changed its name to the Sesame Street Posse and dressed as characters from the TV series to tell the crowd its craft was “”brought to you by the letter H and the number 7.””

    Oscar the Grouch climbed into the oversized trashcan and was pushed into the water with the help of Cookie Monster and other characters.

    The crowd didn’t respond to the theme change as the team would have hoped, insisting on “”booing”” the performance as they had done earlier.

    ASU’s Dipsomaniacal Devils took home the “”Most Creative”” prize with their 30-foot-tall replica of Sparky, and many thought this was a sign of who had won the rivalry.

    “”I’m not going to lie,”” said Alex Koeppel, a musical theatre freshman. “”(The UA) teams were pretty lame, kind of dinky.””

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