Four Manitoba men made a huge splash in the nation’s capital last weekend.
Chris Cabildo, 29, Chris Reimer, 22, Neil Smalley, 21, and Charles Reimer, 20 — a.k.a. El Beaverdor — were among 30 intrepid teams from across Canada that took part in Red Bull Flugtag Ottawa-Gatineau on Sat., July 27.
Organizers say the challenge is for teams to design and build homemade, human-powered flying machines and pilot them off a specially-constructed, 22-foot flight deck surrounded by the Ottawa River with the aim of achieving flight.
The winning team, Sally’s Leap of Faith from Montreal, took home $7,500, the runners-up, This is Bananas from Ottawa, landed $3,000 and third placed Bernache da Goose from Gatineau netted $1,500.
While distance was one criterion, the teams were also judged on creativity and showmanship by a panel of celebrity judges.
Speaking before the event, Reimer, El Beaverdor’s team captain, said the quartet’s strategy was to make maximum impact using the team’s signature move, dubbed the "flying beaver elbow drop."
"We’re going to push a guy off the edge of the ramp and aiming to go elbow-first into the water," Reimer said, noting his brother, Charles, will pilot the flying machine. "We’re not going for distance, but to make a huge splash."
Reimer, who lives in Grunthal, Man. and is a graphic designer at St. Boniface-based Bounce Design, said the inspiration for El Beaverdor came from the location of the event.
"We wanted to keep it a Canadian-themed flying device and since Ottawa is the capital, and we’re pushing our device into a body of water, we felt it would be fitting to create a critter that represents both of these elements," Reimer said, noting their beaver is fused with the competitive spirit of a wrestler to give to give it an edge.
Among El Beaverdor’s competition was Winnipeg’s other representative, the St. James-based Flying Beanie team. Not that Reimer was too worried: "Sure, there’s a friendly rivalry with that team. But a hat is not nearly as cool as a beaver," he laughed.
So, on which side of that fine line between genius and insanity does the team fall?
"I think it’s about 50% of each," Reimer said. "Being the pilot, Charles is probably more on the insane side."
Smalley, a Southdale resident who is also a graphic designer at Bounce Design said the event suits the competitive and physical nature of the team.
"We’re all pretty athletic and play lots of sports, so this will be a new adventure. I haven’t done too many crazy things, so this will be a fun thing to do," Smalley said.
The Collège Béliveau alumnus believed El Beaverdor could rank highly in the event if it could consolidate any potential points surrendered in the distance category.
"It feels good to be selected as one of the finalists. I think our chances are pretty good, especially if we do well in the creativity and showmanship categories," Smalley said., days before the team left for Ottawa. "I hope our comic factor bodes well with people."
To learn more about the team, go to Facebook and search for El Beaverdor. For more about the event, visit redbullflugtag.ca.