Living Lands & Waters Place At Red Bull Flugtag in Cincinnati
Thousands of spectators watched on in Cincinnati as homemade flying contraptions were tested off of a 22-foot-high deck, one of which was created by one of the Quad Cities' own groups.
Living Lands & Waters, started by Quad-City native Chad Pregracke, is known to be the only "industrial strength" river cleanup organization. The organization travels the Mississippi River, pulling debris and trash from the waterways.
Since the founding of the organization, the group has involved over 120,000 volunteers who have helped to remove over 13 million pounds of garbage from waterways around the country.
At the Red Bull Flugtag (German for 'Flight Day'), teams of five people test the flying machines they spent the past few months making, and they're pushed from the 22-foot deck while being piloted by one of the team members.
The competition is judged on three criteria: Flight Distance, Creativity, and Showmanship.
Living Lands & Waters brought their flying machine to the competition, made completely of recycled items that they pulled from the bottom of our riverways. The wings undersides were covered in information about the non-profit, while the top was decorated to look like a bald eagle.
"The results are in…river rats CAN fly!" Living Lands & Waters shared on Facebook. "One of the braces on our wings did, in fact, snap and break on the way up the flight deck, but thanks to some zip ties and a lot of gumption, we were able to tie for the third-longest flight of the day! Thanks to style points from the judges - second place was secured!"
They shared the video from their attempt, showing their flying machine nearly reaching the 50' marker.
Judges determined that their style and creativity were high, and the points brought the team to the podium.
You can hear the group's founder, Chad Pregracke, talking with the event's MC before their flight.
"This is made of literal garbage," the MC said, not referring to the design of their craft, but the fact that the materials used were recovered garbage.
The event will be broadcast on ESPN 2 on Saturday, August 19th from 6-7pm EST.
Chad Pregracke was featured last week on Mike Rowe's podcast, The Way I Heard It.
You can listen to the episode here: