Jaime earns her wings at the Red Bull Flugtag in Tampa.
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Last week I had the good fortune of serving as a celebrity judge for the Red Bull Flugtag in Tampa.
What is a flugtag, you might ask?
According to Red Bull, it’s a homemade human-powered flying machine. Chances are you already know what I’m talking about.
I knew for a month and a half that I would be a judge, and this was one of those events that make me love my job. To me, this wasn’t work. I counted down the days to this event, which I spent with over 100,000 people and teams of grown adults who were basically acting stupid. How else could you describe adults who build homemade human-powered flight machines and then pilot them off a 30-foot high deck in the hopes of achieving flight?
Although I’m an adult, I don’t always like to put on my grown-up pants. I enjoy doing non-grown-up activities as often as I can. So getting to judge grown adults do something like this made for a great day of work for me.
Along with myself there were five other judges: Tampa Bay Rays’ Evan Longoria, former NFL player Ryan Nece, pro golfer Lexi Thompson, motocross racer Tarah Gieger and radio personality MJ from the MJ Morning Show in Tampa. They sat me between Evan and Ryan and my first thought was, ‘Oh great. They probably think I’m going to be the Paula Abdul of the group here.’ But that definitely was not going to be the case. I’m a tough judge. I thought to myself, they have no idea I’m more of the Simon Cowell of this group.
The only problem I had was with Ryan Nece, because I’m a huge Harry Potter fan and one of the teams was Potter-themed. I tried to bully/pout/bat my lashes/flirt with Ryan to give them a higher score because he really didn’t appreciate or understand the whole Harry Potter theme. That was the only time I tried to influence a judge, and he didn’t even fall for it.
There were three components to the judging. There was creativity, which we got a better understanding of in the morning when we were taken around to all 38 teams to see the flugtags before they went off a ramp and crashed into pieces. We got to question some teams about how they planned on getting their vehicles to fly. There were some we had high hopes for, and there were others we questioned.
I definitely had a couple of favorites, Team Turbo Jorts being one of them. Underneath it all I’m a redneck from south Georgia, and these guys looked similar to my family members with their jorts, mullets and mustaches. Their craft was an airboat, and I grew up riding on airboats in the Everglades. So I felt a kinship with that group. Those guys were my early favorites.
We also judged teams based on their skit, which was performed before the flight, and on the actual flight itself. So that’s the background on how the judging was scored. Only one team, the A-Team, got a perfect 10 from all the judges.
By the end, I was just itching to cannonball off that 30-foot jump. Longoria told me I was crazy, but that jump was nothing compared to the almost 800-foot bungee jump I did while on The Amazing Race. Cannon balling 30 feet is like jumping into a swimming pool.
As I was thanking the Red Bull workers, they asked if I would like to get my own team together. It’s going to be in Miami next November. They said it’d be awesome if I wanted to enter a Playboy Playmate team, so I’m definitely going to start recruiting girls for that. We’ve just got to find someone who’s able to draw or build us a high-powered human-flying machine. I fully intend for my Playmate team to get a perfect score in the creativity department. We’ll mostly likely have to get a lot of our points there, but we’ll get them where we can. I’ve already decided I’m going to be the pilot, and I definitely intend on achieving flight.