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University of Arizona student and Sigma Pi fraternity member Taylor Bednarik is the captain of a team participating in Red Bull Flugtag Arizona. In flugtag (German for "flying day") competitions, teams come up with a creative concept for a skit and a wacky human-powered flying machine. After performing the brief skits, one team member hops on the machine and gets launched over a lake. True to its name, the Sigma Pi team, Flight of the Pac-Man, will use a machine that looks like the video-game superstar. The skit will also feature the four ghosts who are forever chasing him. See Bednarik, along with Erik Bakke, Denny Armstrong, Gary Ebersbach and Clay Carroll, compete at Red Bull Flugtag Arizona on Saturday, April 29, at Tempe Town Lake.

So explain what it is you all will be doing.

You do your skit, and then you get on your flying device, and you fly off. You win based on (traveling the farthest) distance or people's choice (for winning over the crowd) or judges' scores for just being up there and making a fool of yourself. That's all it is. No one takes it seriously. You're just building it to get up there and have fun, and not make it fly. My friend said that he went to one--I forgot where, but somewhere back East last year--and the local radio station spent like $10,000 on their flying machine, just to enter it. It was a replica of the Wright brothers' plane.

How'd you get the idea to enter the competition?

We got the idea to do it, because this guy ... who's the Arizona rep was having a surprise party for his girlfriend at his house. He was playing this Red Bull DVD of past flugtags. I looked around his house, and he had all these Red Bull posters. I asked him, "Are you sponsored by Red Bull? What's going on?" He said, "Well, I'm the rep." And we started talking, and my friend and I were like, jokingly, "Yeah, we should do that. No, we really should do that." And he kept calling me to do it, and I talked to a few friends. I wanted to do it, because Denny Armstrong--he's the one who saw it last year--said, "Dude, it was the best time I ever had, and I was sober." He said there were probably 20,000 people there, and it's a huge event. So with all that behind me, I thought we really should try to enter. We designed it together, and it worked out.

Where'd the Pac-Man idea come from?

I guess the conceptual design started maybe two weeks before it was due (judges picked 31 teams from more than 200 applicants about a month ago). I was just trying to figure out something funny to do. Everyone kept saying, "Oh, something Greek. Something about U of A over ASU." But everyone was going to be trying to do those things. We needed something original. ... I was searching online to find things to do, and I saw this Pac-Man video of guys running through a library in Pac-Man outfits. I was like, "This would be funny if we actually did that."

What do you think your chances of winning are?

Well, we're looking at the people's choice. I don't think we're going to win distance or by (making people say,) "Wow, they spent a lot of time on that." When I say "spend time," I mean we're not going to have a really intricate (flying machine), where people say, "Wow, they spent a lot of money, spent a lot of time designing that." It's just going to be a funny thing. We're going to get up there on the stage; it's going to look good, and then we're going to destroy it.

So you don't know if it's going to fly at all?

Um, it may. But, really, we're just really banking that Gary, the guy who's the pilot, is going to be so bottom-heavy that he's going to fall right into the water. There's no way we can construct a huge flying device on our budget. I mean, we're just a bunch of college kids--there's no way we could.

So it's just going to hit the water?

I really think it will. We have to push Gary, and he's going to be on kind of like a little bed with wheels. We're going to have to have handlebars on the side and push Gary all at once. He's picking up so much speed that ... he's probably going to flip and fall off. (Laughs.) I don't know what's going to happen.

Does Gary have medical insurance?

(Laughs.) Uh, I don't know. I mean, no one's ever died.

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