Originally Published in Issue 30 of 4Low Magazine
Story by Shelley Krehbiel, Photos by Nicole Dreon, Tim Calver and Richard Giordano
The longest off-road rally in America just happens to be for women-only. The Rebelle Rally is not a women’s off-road rally, it’s not watered down, it’s not pinked, it has every challenge attached that would attract any gender to the event, it’s just been designated as a women’s only event. But not to empower them, these women are empowered already, they don’t need anyone’s permission to do great things, but just simply to provide an environment that will attract the world’s baddest-ass women to compete amongst themselves.
And Badass women they are:
CEO’s, Engineers, Business Owners, CFO’s, Moms, Trainers, Entrepreneurs, Wives, Corporate Board Members, Nonprofit activists. Name a profession or occupation and these women, these professionals own it. Not only own it, but flourish in their careers. These are women who are winning awards and contracts, taking the world by storm, whether in their business, the media or in their home, a Rebelle makes a difference.
Kris Vockler, CEO of ICD High Performance Coatings and driver of “Bob” Team #145 describes the women joining the Rebelle as “The Competitor, the adventure seeker, the confidence seeker and the Challenger…the Rebelle hits the mark for these folks.”
In 2019, year four for the Rebelle Rally, not much has changed since the inaugural year. The format remains the same, it’s working, no need to change it. The Rebelle Rally is an all-women’s navigational challenge. It is a competition, but not a race. Speed doesn’t factor in, except in terms of time management. Seven days of competition began near Lake Tahoe after an introductory day of welcome, tech and registration.
From there, the teams travelled through Gold Point, Nevada, Death Valley National Park, Big Dune, Wagon Wheel OHV Area, Dove Springs, Cougar Buttes, Joshua Tree National Park and Imperial Sand Dunes. A variety of terrain for certain. Each requires a different set of skills and gear.
Each team consists of three members, the driver, the navigator and the vehicle. The importance of each in their own right cannot be stressed enough.
Driver expectations, be able to
- drive in varied terrain
- understand traction and throttle control
- follow directions
- know how and when to use 4 wheel drive
- choose tire placement
- understand your vehicle
- recognize your limitations
Navigator expectations, be able to
- know how and when to take a compass heading
- know how to read a map
- plot latitude and longitude
- use triangulation
- have good communication skills
- have time management skills
- fine-tune your organizational skills
- two classes available, 4×4 and Crossover
- good tires appropriate for the terrain
- street legal
That’s it, no special modifications are needed for any of the members of the team, a little knowledge, some practice and training and a stable platform is all that is required.
Oh, and did I mention there are no electronics? No GPS, no phones, no laptops. None of the electronic trappings of daily lives. That’s why the navigator has to be good with Map and Compass.
Once all the pieces are in place, the event begins. Each day at 5 a.m. the teams are provided a CheckPoint guide to use with their map collection, two hours later, the first team will leave the start line for the days’ adventure. Each day is different, some have only checkpoints to find, some have an Enduro Challenge, others are transit days that may include both of the above. Time limits are placed on the day, ten to twelve hours maximum to complete the challenges. By the time the last team rolls in at night, the sun is down and the food is hot. Bedtime comes early most nights for the teams.
Emily Miller, founder of the Rebelle, briefs the teams both night and morning to be sure all competitors are on equal footing. Chrissie Beavis, lead judge and former X-Games Medalist ensures the competition is fair. There are sixty more staff members, many volunteer, who are tasked with all the details to be sure the experience is one that no one will forget.
And while the staff takes care of the logistics of the event, the competitors are the star of the show. Each finds their own groove, each fights their own battle. Some change from day one to day two, others grow through the week and don’t discover the changes until they return home for reentry in to reality. Just having a week with no electronics can be enough to start you on a new path, imagine with no electronics and a daily challenge as well.
Kristian Yehl-Moley, founder of Chocolove, on her first Rebelle experience shares “A Rebelle defies convention and blazes her own trail . . . To start, it may very well be in the wrong direction, but the farther she goes, the wiser she is, the better she becomes.” The Chocolove team intended to drive a Mercedes Benz G-Wagon run on “waste” chocolate, but last minute mechanical issues had team #124 flying back to Boulder, Colorado the night before tech to pick up the Volkswagen Toureg in the driveway, and return to Lake Tahoe, so as not to miss the start!
Not all off-road events have the same impact on the participants, competitions tend to be the ones that do. If you’re ready for a challenge, let me suggest the Rebelle Rally, October 8-17, 2020. Registration is open. www.rebellerally.com