Red Bull Flugtag 2013, Chicago!

Red Bull Flugtag is back baby!  If you remember 2010, we were team “Sprocket Rockets” 38470_415417807930_2595556_naka “The Jetsons”.  You can read about our last adventure if you missed it!  This time around, we are packing a punch with some hilarity as Team CaddyShack Attack bringing Bill Murray and that pesky gopher to Chicago.  

Step one, application.  We didn’t have a dang clue what it took to gain entry in 2010 when we applied, but obviously made an impression and got in.  I think part of the “impression” we made was at the 2010 selection party.  Some guy approached Erin and me while we admired our sketch on display among 425 others.  Then he told us he was head of the selection committee for Red Bull.  Erin proceeded to laugh at him and then accuse him of “hitting on us”.  We later found out he was head of the selection committee.  Luckily, we flirted our way out of that one.  Entry gained.

Being that Flugtag is in Chicago this year (we live in Minnesota) and we won’t have the opportunity to laugh at, mock and save ourselves by flirting with the selection guy, we had to bring the heat in another way via the application process.  So we took the same approach but kicked it up a notch and added a bit more humor.  

In case you are wondering what it takes to get into Flugtag, I thought I would share our approach and application.  First, you need a theme.  Both years we searched high and low for a theme that hasn’t been done before and is something everyone knows (Jetsons, CaddyShack, etc.).  Red Bull only requires you answer a few basic questions and submit a sketch online.  They do imply other approaches (pictures, video, etc), but don’t require it.  As in life if you half-ass your approach to things you want, you don’t get the results you want.  Enter…creative writing and iMovie (thank you MacBook Pro!).  We kept the application on the down low in case we didn’t’ get it.  But, we got the call from Red Bull saying we were in and they loved our theme!  And that folks, is how you get into Red Bull Flugtag!  

Follow us along during our journey to launch September 21st.  And if you have any wheels, chicken wire or fake fur lying around, we will take it!

Application Video:


What’s the concept behind your craft?

Caddyshack!!  We searched high and low for a theme that would have mass crowd appeal and hasn’t been done before.  We think we found that theme!  Caddyshack the movie is incredibly popular and allows for us to build a giant, hilarious gopher to ride.  Plus, we can create hot-sexy golf themed outfits and dance to a popular and catchy tune!  We can build this bad ass ride using chicken wire, paper mache, wood, foam and hay (for the gophers fur spray painted brown)!  It’s going to be hilarious and awesome rolled into one.

Why should we pick you?

For us, RedBull Flugtag is sheer entertainment and to provide that, you need adrenaline seeking people who are outgoing and willing to go above and beyond to amaze a crowd.  We can do that.  Last time around, we were delusional and thought we could fly.  This time around, we are aiming for pure entertainment and best crash.   In addition, we have an award-winning choreographer to give us the best dance you have seen.  Last time around, we took the same approach and heard over and over “You had the best dance!”

We have known each other for a long time and know what it takes to build a sweet whip.  We have the same team as 2010 and promise to be back in style, better than ever.   Pick us again, and you will not be disappointed!  It can’t hurt to have crafty Flugtag veterans who know what it takes to get the job done right??


Melissa, Erin, Jackie, Chris, Nik


Red Bull Flugtag, Adventure of a Lifetime – Part 14

Flight Day – WOOT!!

I was woken up at 1:30am Saturday morning by massive wind, rain, thunder and lightning.  A slight panic came over me – what if Flugtag was cancelled?  Over 500 hours of work would have gone down the drain.  I managed to fall back asleep and was awoken by my alarm at 4:30am.  Red Bull had asked our team to be down at Harriet Island by 6:00am in full costume for media.  We were not 100% certain what they meant by “Media”, but we knew we wanted in!  It was easy to get up with the anxiety of it all, quickly get dressed and head out the door.

When we arrived at Harriet Island, it was chilly for July but at least it was not raining! We were quickly approached by a nice Red Bull rep with long blond braided pig tails who let us know we were going to be interviewed live by both Channel 5 & 9.  Ummmmm…OK!  The first “quick hit” was with Channel 5.  They equipped Nik & I with earpieces & microphones and told us it would be a live feed where the anchors would ask us questions.  I quickly realized it takes some talent to be able to do this, which we seemed to lack!  Nik & I could hear the anchors asking us questions but were not able to communicate who would answer what question.  They asked about the Pilot and we both looked at Erin like she was going to answer.  Neither of us realized in the moment that she couldn’t hear the anchors, only we could (I know…duh).  Overall, it was a decent interview and something none of us had experienced before. I can’t wait to see the play back of it!
The next “quick hit” was for Channel 9 morning news with Todd Walker.  This interview was hands down the most fun.  We went up on the Flugtag launch pad, he lined us up and asked each of us a question.  Then, he asked for a preview of our dance and we showed him about 8 counts of our skit.  It was great because we were all able to participate and had a blast doing it.

At 8:00am, the rest of the teams arrived for the day.  Red Bull risk management came around to make sure our crafts were “safe”.  I mean really?  How safe can they be when you chuck them off a 30-foot launch pad?  The judges including St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, X Games Athletes Levi Lavallee & Grete Eliassen, Vikings linebacker Ben Leber and mascot Ragar followed risk management to judge our craft.

Shortly after the judges passed by, the gates opened to the spectators. I clearly remember looking up at what I thought was the only gate, and seeing 1000’s of people in a mad dash towards the river for a good spot.  I’m sure my jaw was on the ground as I turned around and realized there was another gate behind us.  People were pouring onto Harriet Island and almost instantly surrounded us.  It was literally non-stop from 11am – 12:30pm with people taking video, pictures, and asking for radio interviews.  It was absolute madness and was beyond anything we could have anticipated!  I’m fairly certain we all had perma-smiles.

The Red Bull crew started clearing out as many people as they could from the hanger and started the opening ceremonies.  The Minnesota Viking Cheerleaders kicked it off with some sweet dance moves, the National Anthem was performed and then the Red Bull Air Force sky dove into the venue and landed on the flight deck!

The processional started and one by one, teams performed skits and launched their Flugtag into the Mighty Mississippi.  This included the new world record holders, Major Trouble and the Dirty Dixie’s.  (Although…If I had 15-20K and a team of engineers to build my Flugtag, we could have won too.  No bitterness here!)  We were slowly creeping up to the ramp and I instantly got so excited.  This event didn’t even compare to my days performing as a diver or gymnast.  This was 90,000 people with all eyes on us.  We were fitted with helmets, life vests and started the push up the ramp.  I wasn’t nervous but my stomach was turning – it was sheer excitement and some anxiety.  Once we were I top, I realized you couldn’t see the faces of the crowd; the people looked like a sea of colorful ants.  Not being able to see the faces somehow made it easier to perform.

I remember taking a moment to do a full circle and take in all of the people at the event.  Just imagine, the new Twins stadium holds 40,000 people, this crowd was more than 2 times the amount of that!

At the top of the ramp, host Uncle E did a quick interview with Nik.  In the blink of an eye, the Jetsons Theme song remix started and we were shaking our butts on camera in front of all those people!  We did what I thought was an amazing job on the dance (no one forgot the moves) and then ran behind the craft.  Erin gave the OK and we started pushing.  We were a little worried the wheels would pop out or the craft would veer right, but it didn’t!  About 5 steps in, Chris yelled “We’re good…PUSH!” And so we did!  We hurled Erin off the 30-foot launching pad into the Mighty Mississippi.   That moment to me seemed like it took place in slow motion as Erin screamed and rode the craft all the way down.  Holy crap…it LANDED!  I quickly jumped off the launching pad (with a split jump toe touch of course) and plummeted into the water below.  I came up and everyone was cheering and my fellow flyers were all safe in the water screaming with excitement.  We swam over to the Jet Ski’s, which towed us to the water exit.  (BTW, when you step down, the Mississippi muck is up to your knees!  Yuck.)

Comedian Dan Levy did another quick interview, asked us about our costumes, and we were done just like that!  We were able to go into the Pilot Lounge, relax and watch the remainder of the teams attempt to fly.

We later learned our scores were 7,8,9,9,9 and a 10, which we couldn’t have been more pleased with.  Although we didn’t win or place in the top 5, it didn’t even matter.  We were 1 of 38 teams selected to participate out of over 430 applicants.  This was truly one of the best things I have ever been a part of.  It’s almost an indescribable adventure that not many people are lucky enough to be a part of, and one that I will never forget.
Thank you to all of our friends, family and fans who came to watch us fly and who also supported us through the process.  I am so happy you were all able to share this with us. Would I do it again?  In an absolute heartbeat!!

GO St. Paul Sprocket Rockets!  Check out our flight here:

P.S. I am still waiting for all the video and will compile a master imovie to share once I have it all.

Red Bull Flugtag, Adventure of a Lifetime – Part 13

Flugtag Hanger day!

The last 2 days of our Red Bull Flugtag adventure were an absolute whirlwind of fun. On Friday before the event, our day started at 6:30am when Jackie, Erin and I went over to Harriet Island to watch one of the local news stations send their test Flugtag off the launching deck.  A huge stack of pancakes was hurled off into the Mississippi and did a nosedive straight into the water. A sign of things to come the following day? Perhaps!

Throughout Friday, 36 Flugtag teams were loaded into the “Hanger” where they would be on display the following day.  To transport our Jetson’s craft, we loaded it onto a borrowed snowmobile flat and made the trek from Roseville to St. Paul down Rice Street and through downtown St. Paul. The girls followed the boys down there and were able to take video of the entire trip.  The looks we got were priceless as people saw the fluorescent green craft roll by and heard us yell “Fluuuug-taaaag” as loud as we could out the windows.

When we arrived, we signed release forms and moved the craft into our spot.  We were finally able to get a view of our competition.  I was absolutely amazed at the creativity and the talent it took to build some of these crafts.  We were told that only light assembly was allowed on-site, but there were definitely teams doing full on construction.  Including…the Dirty Dixie’s who needed a crane to lift their craft on top of the pier they made.  Hmm…not exactly “light” assembly.  We covered our craft with leftover boat shrink-wrap and put steaks into the ground to hold it down.  At the very last minute, Chris got some heavy-duty steaks from the Red Bull crew to add additional protection to our craft (which would easily take off on its own with the right amount of wind).

After all the Flugtag crafts were loaded in and tied down, there was a meeting to review the rules and then a team BBQ.  We were also allowed to go up on the 30-foot launching pad and get a feel for our adventure to come the next day.  It was truly amazing what Red Bull built.  The work and effort that went into everything by the crew is something they should be proud of and was beyond impressive.

We left Harriet Island to practice our dance a few times, ate some dinner and headed home to try and get a good night sleep.  Storms rolled in that same night and which had 70 mph winds, thunder and lightning.  I had nightmares about our craft blowing away, rain ruining the event and no one showing up to see all of our hard work.  Luckily…that was not the case and the following day was something that our team and myself will never forget!

Red Bull Flugtag, Adventure of a Lifetime – Part 12

Mean, Green, Flugtag Machine!
The week of Flugtag is here!!  My concentration for anything besides Flugtag is at a minimum and I am having dreams about music, dancing and falling.  Fast and furious is the name of the game, as we have worked 2-3 times/week to finish our Jetsons space ship.  I have to say, it is AMAZING and it promises to impress.  I would estimate we have well over 500 hours into it and have spent over $1,000.00.  After we assembled our 300 feet of PVC, glued it together and put our gold wheels on, we needed to cover it.  Our good friend Pete hooked us up with his uncle who sold us 800 square feet of boat shrink-wrap for cost.  After much deliberation, we covered the entire craft in about 10 hours. Once it was covered and taped, we hit it with a huge blowtorch to shrink up the material.  I have to admit; I thought it was going to be a total train wreck.  However, we had some help from a “certified professional” and thank goodness we did!  It turned out much better than I ever expected.  Next, we finished making all the accessories to bling out our ride.  Lastly, we painted the body of the ship fluorescent green which is sure to make us stand out.

Besides building the craft, we had to make all of our own costumes and learn our skit.  We have stayed true to the Jetsons theme and the costumes are no different.  My mom and I made the hoop skirts for the girls which are so adorable (THANKS MOM!!)  Jackie, Erin and I decked out some tank tops and put huge futuristic collars on them.  Elroy will be wearing a classic green overall and George has pimped out blue pants with a white polo and pop up collar.  I’m not going to lie; we may actually get mistaken for the Jetsons.  Especially when we get into the ride and it flies…because it will.

This July 24th on Harriet Island in St. Paul, we plan to make history.  We are going to nail our 30-second dance to a remixed version of the Jetsons theme song, get Erin into the craft and chuck the whole thing into the mighty Mississippi!  If you come to the event, make sure to stop by and say “Hello” to the St. Paul Sprocket Rockets, team #21.  I look forward to seeing our friends & family and also meeting some new people.

It’s going to be a wild and unforgettable event that the Twin Cities has never seen!  See you there!

Event Details here:

P.S. So we don’t give too much away, full pictures won’t be released until Friday!  We need to keep some surprises for the event…

RedBull Flugtag, Adventure of a Lifetime – Part 11

Twin Cities Event Details

The countdown is on and I am getting super excited.  We have started getting some questions from friends and family who are attending the event.  Below are all the details of the event provided by Red Bull.  Looks like the park on the St. Paul side of the river could be a good place to watch the event.  However, be warned that you may not get to see the skits from that side of the river.  Our skit will be facing the audience on Harriet Island.  They will be broadcasting up on a big screen, however, I am not certain where you will be able to see that from.  The safe bet…get there early and get a good spot on the Harriet Island side.  A couple key things from all the info below….FREE admission, shuttles to event, vendors with food and beer, CASH only, NO coolers (Boo!), and no weapons (duh).  Miami Flugtag was today and they had over 80,000 fans!  I’m certain Twin Cities peeps will show up in full force…this event is just the kind of thing us Minnesota’s people enjoy.  Hope to see you there watching us attempt to soar!

When & Where
Red Bull Flugtag Twin Cities will take flight at Harriet Island on Saturday July 24, 2010. Gates open at 11a.m. with the first flight departing at 1pm.  Final flight will take off at about 3:30pm and will be immediately followed by an Awards Ceremony.

Location Details
Harriet Island, Saint Paul
75 W Water St, St Paul, MN 55107

Follow the directions below to get to Harriet Island:
From the West: Take I-94 eastbound to St. Paul to Hwy 52 south. Follow Hwy 52 south to the Plato Blvd exit. Turn west (right) onto Plato Blvd.

From the East: Take I-94 westbound to St. Paul to Hwy 52 south. Follow Hwy 52 south to the Plato Blvd exit. Turn west (right) onto Plato Blvd.

From the North: Take 35E southbound to St. Paul to Hwy 52 south. Follow Hwy 52 south to the Plato Blvd exit. Turn west (right) onto Plato Blvd.

From the South: Take 35E northbound, take the Kellogg Blvd exit. Go right on Kellogg Blvd and follow to Wabasha Street. Go right onto Wabasha Street to go over the bridge.

Flugtag Launch info:
The Hangar will be on the right side of the site near the Minnesota Centennial Steamboat.

The Flight deck will come out from the land right in front of the Minnesota Centennial Steamboat, then turn 90 degrees to the left so flight will be upstream.

The main crowd will be on the Harriet Island side.

The water-take-out area will be at the steps near the Pavilion.

Entry Fee?
Red Bull Flugtag Twin Cities is 100% FREE to the public and open to all ages.

Can I watch from my boat?
Yes, you can watch from your boat, but your location will be restricted until the beginning of the event. Please stay outside the buoy lines marking the flight path for our Red Bull Flugtag flying crafts.

Will I be able to hear everything from my boat?
Yes!  Tune into FM Broadcast 87.9 (subject to change).

Will there be road closures?
Currently no road closures are scheduled for the event.

What you can expect on site?
There will be food, and beverage vendors stationed around the event site. The event is open seating, so get there early to reserve a spot. No smoking or outside coolers allowed!

Where is the ADA seating?
ADA seating is located on the riverfront pathway, just west of the Flight Deck.

Will credit/debit cards be accepted?
No, Red Bull Flugtag Twin Cities is a cash only event!  Please plan accordingly.

Are there ATM Machines on site?
Yes, for your convenience we will have 2 ATM Machines on site.

What can you bring to Red Bull Flugtag Twin Cities?
NOTE: Guests and their belongings are subject to search on event site. Please return for any additions or amendments.
• Blankets
• Umbrellas (small hand-held style)
• Baby Strollers
• Portable/collapsible chair
• Regular-size/unframed backpacks
• Sealed water bottles
• Empty Camelpak or other empty plastic container (ie, Nalgene bottle)
• No large bags allowed.
• Binoculars
• Personal camera equipment

What you CAN NOT bring to Red Bull Flugtag Twin Cities?
• Weapons of any kind
• Framed or large backpacks
• Alcohol
• Glass containers
• Cans
• Food
• Pets or animals
• Tents
• No illegal vending is permitted.

Will Alcohol be served?
Yes, Summit and Grain Belt Premium beers will be served at Red Bull Flugtag Twin Cities.

Where do I park?
There are several parking lots located on Harriet Island along Water Street and Plato Boulevard, but expect them to fill up fast!  You can also park in downtown St. Paul and take the shuttle.

What is the shuttle route and times?
The shuttle will run continuously beginning at 10am and ending at 6pm.  You can catch the shuttle at Wabasha St. and Kellogg Blvd., Wabasha St. and 7th St., and Kellogg Blvd., across from the Xcel Energy Center.

How do I get there if I’m not driving?
For transit directions please check out:

If you are dropped off in downtown St Paul or taking transit to downtown St. Paul, it’s only a short walk over the bridge to Harriet Island or you can take the FREE Shuttle!

Red Bull Flugtag, Adventure of a Lifetime – Part 10

Gold Wheels, I think YES!

The Flugtag building has continued and it has progressively been more fun.  We have efficiently gone from parts lying around on the ground to an actually craft which may fly (that wishful thinking is for you Erin!).  We have the entire frame glued together and it seems secure.  Additionally, Chris, Nik and Nik’s dad Joe worked hard to put some extra PVC support beams in place.  We wrapped the edges in PVC foam to help smooth over all the joints so when we cover the craft, it doesn’t look so boney.  The next step was the wheels.

Jackie’s mom lives in Hudson and was able to pick up 3 bike wheels and 3 forks from the “Bike Guy” who refurbishes old bikes. Best part, it was 10 bucks!!  Keeping the cost low is key since all the supplies are adding up fast.  The boys got the bike tires and forks connected to the PVC and Joe helped us weld them on for additional support.  Then came the extra fun part.  Yes, gold spray paint.  We painted the wheels (tires and all), metallic gold.  It was the obvious choice of color to start getting the craft all decked out.  I have to say, it is looking amazing.

Later this week…dance mania!  We are beyond lucky to have Michelle from Larkin Dance Studio choreographing our routine.  We will dance to the beat of a sweet Jetsons theme song remix, which she also helped with.  Wish us luck with the dance…we will need it!

Red Bull Flugtag, Adventure of a Lifetime – Part 9

St. Paul Sprocket Rockets Team Bio – Released!

Flugtag - Having a blast!

Red Bull has requested a lot of information about our team over the past month.  I must admit, we have had a BLAST trying to be creative when responding to their requests.  Why not have a little fun with it?  We recently received our completed team Bio, created by Red Bull.  (I wish I knew who wrote it so I could give them full credit!)  They combined some of our application statements, team information as well as incorporated their creative perspective on our team.  We love it!  Hope you get a chuckle out of it too.

TEAM NAME: St. Paul Sprocket Rockets


PILOT: Erin Heisler

FLIGHT CREW: Nik Wagner, Melissa Aune, Chris Aune, Jackie Bohmbach

ITINERARY: Explaining the inspiration behind her team’s entry, team captain Erin Heisler says, “The Jetsons have rad characters, a catchy tune, sexy outfits and a sweet whip that flies.”  If anyone should know about sweet whips, it’s the St. Paul Sprocket Rockets.  The squad’s application video shows Erin (who will perform as Jane Jetson) bailing hard out of a soap-box car, while Melissa Aune (Judy) rides a tractor, Jackie Bohmbach (Rosie) does her best bull-rider impersonation on what appears to be an industrial water tank, and Nik (George) revs a mini-chopper while wearing a cowboy hat, sunglasses, black socks and possibly shorts.

For Red Bull Flugtag Twin Cities, the crew members have combined their shared passion for alternative vehicles in an effort to re-create the Jetsons’ famous ride.  True, the machine won’t shuttle Elroy-impersonator Chris Aune to the Little Dipper School or neatly fold into a suitcase upon touching down in the Mississippi River.  However, the team have worked hard to mold PVC, Styrofoam, chicken wire and balsa wood into a craft worthy of George and the gang.  What’s more, Erin says the team will deliver with “hot chicks, sweet moves, a badass ride and the ability to draw a huge fan base to attend the event.”