Topic: Alumni

November 14, 2008

As a Red Bull First Person contest winner, Ball State student Andrew Schilling got to sky dive and base jump with extreme athletes representing the energy drink company. Schilling was one of five winners in the national contest.
Red Bull touts its energy drink's ability to "Give You Wings," but for its First Person extreme sports contest, the company handed Andrew Schilling a parachute instead.

With gear in tow, Schilling, a Ball State University student and native of Rushville, Ind., spent two days on a surprise adventure this summer skydiving and base jumping with the Austrian-based company as a Red Bull First Person winner. The self-described thrill seeker said the experience was life-changing.

"I got to jump solo and do things that were above and beyond what most people would do on their first day skydiving," said Schilling, who completed five jumps - and a few aerial tricks - with a Red Bull crew. He has since sold his motorcycle to pay for his own parachute to skydive. "That's how serious I am about this."

Schilling was one of five college students picked by Red Bull to fulfill their wildest extreme fantasies with world-class athletes sponsored by the company. Other winners' experiences included snowboarding, surfing, flying a Red Bull jet and performing acrobatic stunts in one of the company's helicopters.

Footage from the contest was compiled into videos now available at The company will begin accepting applicants for a second Red Bull First Person contest in early 2009.

Schilling said he learned about the First Person contest from a friend and submitted a video with footage of his daredevil antics on a whim.

He and the other student winners were sent phones in metal briefcases. When the phones rang, each had 48 hours to arrive at the sites where they were kept in the dark about their challenges until they were presented with them.

"It was all very James Bond-like," Schilling said with a laugh. "It wasn't until we made it to the airport that I knew we were skydiving."

Of his second day of thrill-seeking, Schilling described base jumping off a 500-foot suspension bridge in Idaho "ten times as scary" as skydiving in Washington. "Most people have about 500 sky dives under their belt before they ever attempt something like that."