Webster University student travels Europe using Red Bulls as currency


Kane Katubig has never travelled outside of North America. Now, he is planning to travel Europe using only Red Bulls as currency.

“It’s definitely a big leap,” Kane Katubig said. “I’m sure this is a really unique first time seeing Europe for anyone.”

Kane Katubig is part of one of 18 U.S. teams competing in the “Red Bull Can You Make It?” challenge. The challenge involves over 200 students in a seven day race across Europe using only Red Bulls as currency. Each team is given 24 Red Bulls that they must use to barter for food, transportation and housing. The race runs from April 10-17.

The team is placed in a city in Europe and must travel as fast as they can to Amsterdam. For Kane Katubig’s team, “3-1 Force,” that city is Budapest. Personal items like wallets and cell phones are sealed in a container that, if opened, will disqualify the group.

Kane Katubig is on a team with two Lindenwood students, Joseph Flowers and Vince McDonnell. A film major, Kane Katubig said he was asked to be on the team because of his video skills.

“First you make a one minute video and all three people have to be in college,” Kane Katubig said. “It took about two weeks to film, and I edited it in about three days.”

Flowers said Red Bull looked for three traits in contestants applying: charisma, energy and adventure. Each teammate showed a different trait in the video. For Katubig, that trait was adventure. The team’s video portrayed him hanging off the back of a moving jeep.

Kane Katubig said after uploading the video, his goal was to win the popular vote for the challenge. The video ended up being the seventh most popular in the Midwest. The team then advanced to the final round where they appeared in front of judges. Kane Katubig said the team was selected as two of nine teams in the area to compete in the challenge.

Katubig is described as "analytical and artistic" on his team's page
Kane Katubig is described as “analytical and artistic” on his team’s page. Photo by Sara Bannoura

Kane Katubig said he decided to enter the challenge for the possibility of free travel. He said he was also drawn in by the possibility of gaining life experience outside of school.

“I am excited. I do not want to have any expectations,” Kane Katubig said. “I’m just open minded about what’s going to happen.”

Kane Katubig received the phone call that he was selected when he was walking back from a grocery store. He said the conversation was casual and short.

“She said, ‘Congratulations. You are one of the finalists to be in the Red Bull Challenge.’ I’m like, wait, what?” Kane Katubig said. “I think all of us would agree that it hasn’t hit us yet.”

McDonnell, one of Kane Katubig’s teammates, said he has known Kane Katubig since kindergarten. He said when he and Flowers were looking for a third teammate, he immediately thought of Kane Katubig.

McDonnell said each teammate brings their own strengths to the team. For Kane Katubig, McDonnell said, those strengths include looking at situations from a different perspective and maintaining a willingness to try anything.

“He’s definitely able to rough it,” McDonnell said. “I think his personality matches well with [Flower’s] and I’sI knew that he could definitely be a key player in this entire ordeal.”

Alex Katubig is Kane Katubig’s older sister. She said when she first heard about Kane Katubig’s involvement in the challenge, she was not surprised.


Katubig smiles with his film camera.
Kane Katubig leaves for the challenge April 9. By Sara Bannoura

“I feel like he’s like the most adventurous person in our family,” Alex Katubig said. “Growing up he was always doing all kinds of things with his friends. He’s always been really creative.”

Alex Katubig said while Kane Katubig has never been abroad, she is not worried about her brother’s safety during the challenge. She said she feels her brother’s personality will allow him to thrive during the race.

Katubig said he is excited about making friends during the race. He said he hopes those relationships will last after he returns home.

“[I hope to] make friends in other countries good enough to where I could tell them ‘If you’re ever in America, come to St Louis and you have a place to stay,’” Kane Katubig said.

The team is getting ready for their trip abroad by doing research and physically training. Kane Katubig said he tries to work out as often as he can and eats a healthy diet.

After the Red Bull challenge comes to an end, Kane Katubig said he hopes his involvement continues to open doors for him. Kane Katubig said Red Bull is considering making them the media crew in St. Louis.

“Once it’s over we don’t want it to be like ‘Challenge over. We’re back to life,’” Kane Katubig said. “We want to be able to get as much as we can from it.”


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