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Ryan Johnson, Published September 19 2013

ND team takes to the sky for Saturday's Red Bull Flugtag competition in Chicago

CHICAGO – Five North Dakotans will put their gliding skills to the test here Saturday when they vie for glory during Red Bull’s national Flugtag competition.

The team – dubbed Lucky Lindegaard in memory of North Dakota National Guard members Sgt. 1st Class Darren Linde and Spc. Tyler Orgaard who were killed last year in Afghanistan by an explosive – has met up at the home of Andrew Galegher in Thompson for the past few months to prepare for the competition.

Teammate Nyland Huck, a native of Williston, said he jumped at his chance to participate when Galegher called him earlier this year and asked if he’d want to be a part of the big event.

“Andrew just called me and asked if I wanted to go to Chicago to push him off a bridge, and I said OK,” he said.

Huck said 155 teams applied for the Chicago event, one of five Flugtag competitions taking place on Saturday in cities across the country. Of the applicants, 30 were selected to compete in Chicago.

Lucky Lindegaard, comprised of former North Dakota State University students, was given specifications for building their non-mechanical flying machine. The bison with wings that they made out of PVC piping and paper mache needed to have a width of 28 feet or less and a final weight less than 400 pounds, including the pilot.

But pilot is a bit of a stretch – Galegher will straddle the top of the large bison that makes up the bulk of their glider, holding on as Huck and the other three crew members push it off a ramp 30 feet above Lake Michigan.

“Hopefully we all push at the same time,” he said, laughing.

Competitors can win several awards Saturday, with the main goal of traveling the farthest distance before crashing into the lake below. The first-place team will get the chance to skydive with the Red Bull Air Force expert flyers.

Teams also can win the people’s choice prize, a VIP treatment at a New York Red Bulls basketball game. The competitors will be evaluated by a panel of judges on the criteria of flight distance, creativity and showmanship.

Huck said their Bison-themed craft should help spread some NDSU pride in front of a national audience.

But Lucky Lindegaard’s flight time has an unfortunate conflict – they’ll be pushing off around the same time as the 2:30 p.m. kickoff for the Bison’s home game against Delaware State at the Fargodome.

To follow the progress of Lucky Lindegaard, visit www.facebook.com/NDFlugtag.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Ryan Johnson at (701) 241-5587