Monday, April 18, 2016

Red Bull has given wings to these three Utah State students

By Braden Clark
Dane Cooper, Vico Noma’aea and CJ O’Neal, who are students at Utah State University, are currently in second place in the “Red Bull Can You Make It” competition in Europe, with hours remaining. The contest has a total of 165 teams from different universities across the world, and Team USU is in second place in the entire competition.
They require help from social media as they travel through Europe with only cans of Red Bull to get them where they need to go. They accumulate points by people sharing, hashtagging and liking their videos they post on the Red Bull website.
Team USU currently sits in first place in the social media category of the competition with a commanding 146,633 point lead. Right in front of them, in the overall standings, is a team from Belgium, Germany, but are trailing Team USU by 55,302 points in social points.
Fans of the team can help Team USU earn points by hashtagging the phrases TeamUSU, VikoCJDane, CanYouMakeIt16 and USUFans.
“They’re a little bit more muscular than I am,” said George Service, one of the contests directors. “I’ve done some digging into their statistics, and I have seen that 71% of their audience are actually female, and they are making sure that they post their videos when everyone back home is awake to see them so they get more points.”
Students at Utah State University have been following Team USU very closely as Cooper, Noma’aea, and O’Neal travel throughout Europe, and are helping any way they possible can.
“It’s been really exciting for us to keep tabs with our friends as they travel through Europe,” said Sonina Mikkelson, a friend to the members of Team USU. “They’re really close to winning this, and I want to help any way that I can. I enjoy the fact that they are getting the publicity they are receiving, because they are working really hard day and night."
Team USU is required to use cans of Red Bull as its only way of currency, and so far they have traveled through five different countries and traveled a total 2,514 miles.
They have managed to trade Red Bull cans for different forms of transportation, and on Sunday they traded 24 cans of Red Bull for a train ride from Avignon, France, to Clermont-Ferrand, France, approximately 236 miles between the two cities.
The competition ends April 19 at 2 a.m., which is 6 p.m. Monday evening in Utah, and the team just reached Mont Saint-Michel an island in Normandy, France. The Belgium team has a significant lead in all the other categories of the competition, but family members of Team USU are hoping social media will be the team's way to victory.
“We are so proud of our boys, and the fact that they have made it this far is incredible,” said Kathy Cooper, Dane Cooper’s mother. “The adventure that they are on is the true prize, but we are so thankful for Red Bull for this opportunity. Team USU has done a great job, and they are so motivated, and we couldn’t be happier with the support their friends at Utah State are giving them. Just please keep voting until the contest is over.”
The winners will be crowned soon after the competition is over, and will be ambassadors for Contiki Travels, the contests sponsor, as they travel throughout Europe this summer.

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