UMD students to use Red Bull as currency in Europe for week-long competition

 From left, Andrew Acther, Nick Anderson and Brandon Colucci have been selected to spend a week in Europe using Red Bull as their currency. Photo by Tony Eaton.

From left, Andrew Acther, Nick Anderson and Brandon Colucci have been selected to spend a week in Europe using Red Bull as their currency. Photo by Tony Eaton.

Three UMD students have been selected to take part in a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe for the Red Bull “Can You Make It” race. The “BroPeds,” Brandon Colucci, Andrew Achter and Nick Anderson, will begin the race in Stockholm, Sweden on April 10 and will have one week to make it to Amsterdam using cans of Red Bull as currency to barter for food, shelter, transportation and other necessities. The three friends will be stripped of their cash, cards and cell phones and will be given 24 cans of Red Bull and one smartphone.

The BroPeds are one of 200 student teams from over 60 countries that will travel across Europe for this challenge. Points will be awarded based on the six checkpoints that are successfully completed, social media shares and likes and the completion of various tasks from an adventure list.

Brandon Colucci said the team believes they have what it takes to win the competition.

“I think we have a good chance because we’ve been good buddies for the past four years, we developed our relationships up here, and throughout the city we’ve found different things where we’re getting our way into free things,” Colucci said. “We just always find our ways into getting people to help us out in certain situations.”

The trio had to create a submission video to apply for the competition, which included shots of the friends jet skiing, doing back flips, snowboarding, skydiving, bungee jumping and more. The three friends hope to find more exciting adventures and activities when they spend a week traveling around Europe.

“It’s a great opportunity to knock some more things off our bucket list,” Achter said. “I think a lot of people in Europe are going to know that we’re going through and bartering and we need things for free, so I know we want to take advantage of that great opportunity to do some things that we haven’t done yet.”

The idea of traveling across Europe with no money may sound like a daunting task to most people, but the BroPeds say their friendship at UMD has been filled with adventurous, thrill-seeking activities. It is part of the reason the group is confident that they can win the competition, and while they know the challenges ahead, Colucci said they have what it takes to overcome the struggles.

 From left, Colucci, Achter and Anderson have shown in their submission video that they are no strangers to adventure. Photo by Tony Eaton.

From left, Colucci, Achter and Anderson have shown in their submission video that they are no strangers to adventure. Photo by Tony Eaton.

“There are some nervous aspects to it, just going out there for a week essentially without anything but a case of Red Bull.” Colucci said. “Our families are nervous for us most off, but us as a team when we’re together, we’re not going to struggle. I think we’ll come out of it fine and there are going to be some tough situations I’m sure where we might have to sleep in a tent for a night or any sort of thing, I think we can handle it though.”

Achter, who is currently an intern at Destination Duluth, said that Destination Duluth played a large role in helping the team get selected for the competition. The team will use this special opportunity to showcase UMD and Duluth to the rest of the world.

“(Destination Duluth) helped us a huge amount promoting the social votes at the first stage and they plan to help us continue to promote while we’re in Europe,” Achter said. “We’re going to plan to wear UMD stuff and talk about it when we’re doing our live video updates throughout the week.”

The BroPeds will rely on supporters from the Duluth community to collect social support points. Followers will be able to watch live videos and track the team’s progress on their Red Bull team page.

“It’s pretty important that people from UMD follow our videos throughout the week,” Achter said. “I think it’ll be kind of fun. We might end up having to sleep porter potty for a night, it would be kind of fun to see UMD students either struggling or making it.”

The student team that reaches Amsterdam first will get to choose one of six immersive experiences from Red Bull Destination. Colucci said that he would choose the Red Bull air race, which would include a maneuver flight aboard a racing plane with a professional pilot. However, Achter said that he would choose the Red Bull surfing lessons taught by Hall of Fame surfer Sofia Mulanovich on the coast of Peru.

Even if they don’t win, the friends know that the experiences they will find in Europe will be a prize of its own.

“I think Duluth has helped shape our relationship, just having the city being so adventure-oriented, that has definitely helped out,” Colucci said. “I’m just always open to the adventure and the thrill-seeking type of activities and I don’t think that’ll be very hard to find in Europe.”

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