UB students have made it in the Red Bull ‘Can You Make It’ Challenge

Four UB students begin “the adventure of a lifetime” this April


“Whether it was swimming with great white sharks or crashing a million dollar wedding in India, those experiences will help me out in the competition,” said Bryan Murphy when speaking on Red Bull’s ‘Can You Make It’ challenge.

Chris Komin, Jake Dixon, George Gombert and Bryan Murphy are going on “the adventure of a lifetime,” traveling through various cities in Europe on a quest to have the best adventure they can. The catch: they can only use Red Bull as their currency.

As announced earlier this month, four UB students who applied for the ‘Red Bull Can You Make It?’ challenge were accepted for the trip. They will begin the journey April 12.

Komin and Dixon, both junior media study majors, and Gombert, a junior mechanical engineering major, are representing the Queen City team. They will be starting their journey in Berlin, Germany and making their way to Paris, France in seven days.

Murphy, a senior media study major, is part of the Contiki Wildcard Team. He and two others will represent Contiki, a youth travel agency.

Murphy has had some experience with this. Two years ago he entered the same competition with his friends, but did not get invited to compete.

This year he decided to apply again but individually for a wild card team. He said he knew the ropes a little bit and the disappointment from not getting in the first time helped his way into the competition.

Murphy will be joined by Anna Wilcox, a professional freeskier from New Zealand, and Dimitry Galamiyev, a student and member of the Canadian Forces from Canada. They will be starting in Florence, Italy and also make their way to Paris, France.

Both teams have a lot to look forward to and prepare for as the week abroad comes closer.

The goal of each team is to have the most points by the end of the trip. Dixon said teams are given “various points for various items or things you get for Red Bull.”

He said even something like a sandwich in exchange for a can of Red Bull can equal a certain amount of points, while a tattoo could be worth even more points.

With this in mind, the students have certain things they want to exchange for Red Bull.

Doing the most adventurous and daring things, such as private jet rides and tickets to soccer matches, gets you the win, but also creates the greatest memories.

Dixon wants to go to a soccer game, Gombert wants to do something he can only do in Europe, Komin wants to get a tattoo and Murphy is just looking forward to meeting new people.

“Meeting people on a trip is what sticks with you the most, the people you meet have the greatest impact on your life,” Murphy said when speaking on what he’s looking forward to.

Before being chosen to compete, each team had to submit a one-minute video explaining why they deserved to be involved in the competition. Each team then relied on votes in order to get selected for the challenge.

Queen City had help from Time Warner Cable News, who published a story about the group. The team also created a Facebook page and posted advertisements to get as many votes as possible.

The Queen City team had a few worries for the upcoming trip. All of them agreed that the three things they were most worried about were sleep, weather and coming back to Buffalo after the excitement of the trip.

“Sleeping arrangements aregoing to be one of the hardest things,” Dixon said.

The team hopes that if they have to resort to hitchhiking, they may be able to stay with the people who gave them a ride. Most of the trip is uncertain so the students will have to find their own places to sleep, even if that means not sleeping at all.

“Flying coach back is going to be such a let down,” Komin said.

Murphy said that leaving would be the most difficult part.

“No matter what vacation, even if it’s the Jersey Shore, it will always be tough leaving in the end,” he said.

But even with all of the worries Murphy and the Queen City team are still confident. With the skills in backpacking with the Outdoor Adventure Club (OAC) at UB, various languages they know a bit of – or are fluent in – or travel experience, they all feel prepared.

Komin’s first language is Polish and his father lived in Germany for a period of time, which he thinks will give him a leg up in the competition. Dixon has been backpacking in Peru before which has similar qualities to the trip they are going to embark on. Gombert knows some French, which will help the group during their time in Paris.

Murphy also has some experience that he said he believes will help him out in the competition. He was part of a travel abroad program in which he traveled on a cruise taking various classes in different countries.

Going to places like South Africa and India, he believes his travel experience will allow him to contribute to the group.

During his time abroad, Murphy was able to film and photograph his experiences, which he hopes he is able to do during the Red Bull challenge.

Each team will be assigned a series of checkpoints where they will have “both mental and physical challenges,” Komin said.

Both the Queen City team and Murphy agreed that it was similar to the “Amazing Race,” where they would receive a prize for completing challenges before continuing on their way.

The teams believe that they will only be allowed to bring some clothing, toiletries, food and obviously Red Bull, all kept in backpacks brought by the competitors.

The Queen City team was still trying to figure out where they were going to store the Red Bull, because space was going to be limited.

That wasn’t the only thing the teams were still figuring out.

Queen City was also wondering about the moments leading up to the start of the competition.

The competition starts at 6 a.m., so they will have to stay overnight in the starting city. The team still did not know where Red Bull was going to hold all of those kids.

Murphy is trying to get in contact with his teammates, because they’re located across the world.

Preparing for the trip is an important step, so Murphy hopes he can meet up with Galamiyev in Toronto and talk to Wilcox before the start of the competition.

All of the competitors were enthusiastic to go on the trip and – the most important part of the trip – being able to do some of the craziest things with just Red Bull.

“It is surprising how many people will have good intentions and good nature when someone is in dire need for something,” Murphy said, and that is the exact situation these students are in.

With no currency and only a pre-set phone given to them by Red Bull, a 24-pack of Red Bull and communication with people will get them to their destination.

Evan Grisley is an arts staff writer and can be reached at arts@ubspectrum.com