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Red Bull in hand, ASU's "Wing Women" take flight for Barcelona

Three ASU students are competing in Red Bull's "Can You Make It?"

Winners of the Red Bull Challenge.
Winners of the Red Bull Challenge.

Three ASU students are about to compete in a challenge that looks a lot like The Amazing Race — with wings.

Can You Make It? is a competition sponsored by Red Bull and centered around an extreme trek through Europe. ASU's “Wing Women,” global studies seniors Caira Button and Katie Knoepker and psychology senior Emily Poes, will fly to Barcelona April 9 and have to make it to Paris by April 19.

But here's the catch: They can't spend money. Just Red Bull cans.

The Wing Women will start off with 24 Red Bull cans and will go through at least six checkpoints, where they will receive 24 more cans each time, before their final stop in Paris. They'll use those cans to travel more than 600 miles of Europe.

Their final score is made up of three parts: a social media score dependent upon how many likes and shares their posts get; an adventure score from a series of random challenges to complete while traveling; and a checkpoint score for an opportunity to finish a challenge at each checkpoint.

Poes said she and fellow sorority sister Knoepker, both members of Kappa Theta Alpha, saw a post about the competition of Facebook one night and immediately jumped at the opportunity.

Then, they made a minute-long video, which they completed in a week, showcasing their team and detailing why Red Bull should pick them.

“We got it all in and at that point, I was like we actually did this, and I really wasn’t expecting it," Knoepker said. "You know how you get ideas with all your friends, and you’re like let’s do these fun things and it never happens? This actually happened."

After making the video, Button said the girls needed people to vote for their team. They ended up getting 4,824 votes, placing them second for their region.

“We were doing everything we could," Button said. "I messaged every single friend I have on Facebook, we stood on campus for multiple days and just stopped people."

Button was the one to get the call in her 9 a.m. class, and she quickly shared the news with Poes and Knoepker.

Poes said that the news took a little while to sink in.

“It was too much," Poes said. "It was one of those moments where you’re like, ‘I don’t want to get my hopes up, just in case this isn’t real.'"

She said she feels her sorority is a big reason that their team won, because they reached out to a lot of chapters for support.

Poes said they’ve been practicing their foreign language skills in preparation: She’s learning Catalan, Button speaks Spanish and Knoepker speaks French.

Button said their team can’t really strategize their plan yet, because they don’t know exactly what’s going to happen once they get there.

“There’s nothing really we can do, and I think that one of the most exciting parts is that we’re going to hit the ground running and it’ll be such a new experience," Button said.

On the trip, the team cannot bring items such as cameras, devices with Wi-Fi access or motorized transportation, to name a few.

“We all have sleeping bags, just in case we can’t find a place to stay,” Knoepker said. “I’m basically acting like I'm going camping in a city. That’s what I’m packing for, and I've never been camping.”

All three of the Wing Women said they have received a lot of support from their friends and ASU faculty members.

“My teachers were like, ‘Oh, I’m actually jealous about this; will you take pictures and show me?'” Knoepker said.

Poes said she’s in a positive psychology class, which revolves around what she calls "once-in-a-lifetime opportunities," and that her professor was also really excited about her trip.

“I think psychology gives you a little bit more of an appreciation of moments and taking hold of it,” Poes said.

Button has already traveled to multiple countries — 39 to be exact. In that time, she’s backpacked, couch surfed and hitchhiked in Europe. She said she thinks her experience in Europe will be helpful in this competition because she’s covered the region that the team will be sent.

“I have a lot of faith in myself when it comes to traveling," Button said. "My biggest piece of travel advice I can ever give to anyone is you just have to be able to roll with the punches."

Button said she’s excited to meet some of the teams when they get to Barcelona for the first night.

“I can't wait," she said. "I feel like it'll be an opportunity to meet people that are as equally wild as us."

Related links:

DJ Party Favor and Red Bull bring a silent rave to The Secret Garden

Sophomores design Nyan Cat flying machine for Red Bull competition

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