The seventh edition of Rebelle Rally toke place from 6th to 16th October 2022. Rebelle Rally is a competition, a journey and an inner voyage that changes the lives of the ladies who participate in it. From Nevada to California, from Incline Village, Lake Tahoe, to the Imperial Sand Dunes in Glamis. 2580 km through the most iconic and beauty places in the American west. Nena Barlow and Teralin Petereit won the 4x4 Class in their Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe. Christine Benzie and Melissa Clark won the X-Cross Class in their Bronco Sport.
Photography Paolo Baraldi - Story Rebelle Rally
Since it was founded in 2016 by Emily Miller, the Rebelle Rally has grown more and more attracting great attention and admiration. Rebelle Rally boasts many records: the only American all-female offroad competition, the only old-style navigation competition (maps and compass only without the use of any technological device), the longest (2580 km) competition of the United States and I would add that the Rebelle Rally is the only event able to improve self-esteem, determination and self-awareness of the women who participate.
Rebelle, "If it was easy, everyone would do it"
This last aspect that I just mentioned is the most important and the one that most characterizes the Rebelle Rally. Emily Miller's motto (Rebelle founder) "If it was easy, everyone would do it" summarizes in the best way what it means to compete at the Rebelle Rally.
The Rebelle Rally, as Emily says, is not easy and this is the first awareness of her Ladies. The Rebelle is difficult, not because to orient the Ladies must use maps and compass without the help of modern electronic devices, which are strictly banned, but because first they have to deeply believe in themselves, in their own abilities and in those of his own adventure teammate. In the car between driver and co-pilote a deep synergy, understanding and bond is created that goes beyond the race; a bond that remains for life.
Secondly, the Rabelle Rally is difficult because for the entire duration of the race the Ladies are isolated from the rest of the world, they are out of their comfort zone and are deprived of the affection of their family members.
And finally, in addition to all this, let's not forget that this is an offroad competition through the harsh deserts of the American west and on the challenging dunes of Glamis.
Only a woman can do it!
This is the Rebelle Rally! This is the meaning of "If it was easy, everyone would do it" and this is why the Rebelle Ladies have all my respect because, as a man, I would say that we boys will never be able to compete with their own determination, concentration and ability.
Rebelle Rally 2022: Tech Inspection in Lake Tahoe, CA
October 6, 2022. 54 teams from 94 cities and four countries arrived in Nevada's stunning Lake Tahoe to kick off the official start of the seventh edition of the Rebelle Rally.
Anticipation was high for the 108 competitors as they prepared to embark on the longest competitive off-road rally in the nation. For the uninitiated, the Rebelle Rally is an endurance rally where precision driving and navigation are the name of the game - and strategy is key. Teams covered 2580 kilometres across the Nevada and California terrain and encounter sand dunes, dirt roads, and iconic locales as they simultaneously tackle weather, temperature, and altitude changes.
Things were a little different this year with a Pre-Tech held on October 5th. The optional Pre-Tech was created to provide a little extra time for teams to prep early before heading into Tech the next day - stickering vehicles, distributing gift bags, receiving competition vests and YB trackers were all on agenda. The extra time took the edge off for new and returning competitors alike. On Thursday the record amount of teams kicked off their morning with a welcome meeting held by Founder and Rally Director Emily Miller who provided a warm welcome and encouragement for competitors. Next up was Tech Inspection where an even split of 54 rookies and 54 returning competitors received Icom satellite phones, team numbers, and completed required paperwork, vehicle inspection, and had their team photos taken. There are 46 4x4 entries and 8 X-Cross™ entries this year, including the first Isuzu and BMW (X5) to compete. More information on the teams and their vehicles can be found in their team bios here.
In addition to the two vehicle classes, there are special designations and awards for Bone Stock (a vehicle without any modifications except aftermarket wheels and tires), Rookie of the Year (highest scoring team of new competitors), and the International Cup (highest scoring team of two non-U.S. citizens). Vehicles that are EV, PHEV, and hybrid are all part of the Electrified Designation - note these teams still compete in their respective classes. Lastly, the Team Spirit Award is given to the team that displays the best attitude, helps others, and defines the Rebelle spirit, as selected by their fellow competitors and Rebelle staff.
2022 contingency programs include the Pirelli Scorpion™ Tire Challenge, where 2022 event participants running the tire are entered to win money toward a team's designated non-profit, plus an additional cash prize in the case of top three podium in each class. The Scrubblade program awards the top three event participants in each class that are Scrubblade-equipped with money to the non-profit of their choice. In addition, MAXTRAX is returning with their contingency program which awards a cash prize to the top scoring team running MAXTRAX. For the second year, they are also awarding a MAXTRAX Team Spirit Award for the team who provides the most "un-stucks" to other competitors utilizing their recovery devices.
Rebelle Rally 2022: Prologue
October 7, 2022. The 2022 Rebelle Rally kicked into high gear today with temperatures below 40 degrees and an infamous cowbell greeting competitors before dawn.
The day's first-ever standalone Prologue Day began at 11:00 am following a morning rally school for the 54 teams. After a first night camping at Basecamp 1 in Belmont, Nevada, teams began their day with a comprehensive competitor briefing before departing for the course.
“It went well this morning with the progression of the Rally School to then getting their maps and CP guides, they just didn’t really have the chance or time to get nervous.” Chrissie Beavis, Rebelle Rally Head Scoring Judge noted. Considered “Day Zero” of the Rebelle Rally, the Prologue allows teams to get a feel for the competition format at the rally with an unscored day of competition. To stretch their legs and get into the groove, teams were able to test their skills on two critical elements of the rally, discovering checkpoints via coordinates plotted on a map and navigated to with a compass; and an “On Time Enduro,” where the goal is to read navigation notes from a road book and cover a route as close as possible to the target time listed in the book.
There were nine check points (CPs) and one enduro along the Prologue spanning 80 kilometers. Set up as a loop from basecamp to the ghost town of Belmont, they started with the enuduro heading east before switching over to the map and compass up steep passes with sweeping views across Monitor Valley. All the teams ended their Prologue in the mining ruins of Belmont, featuring the iconic Dirty Dick’s Belmont Saloon. Situated on the old main street, Belmont once boasted a population of 2,000 miners and peaked in the 1870s.
This doesn't mean that some of the teams didn't have a few wrenches thrown into their Prologue plans, in an update from Beavis, “The starting line went great today; everyone was really excited. We had one team, Team #108 with Karen Hoehn and Dana Saxten, which had a flat in the start line so that’s why they didn’t start at their normal time. They pulled off, changed their flat, then came back and started at the end of the group so they get a new REC start time. That is why they are running at the back of the pack even though they were in the top 15 or so of today’s starting grid". To determine today's Prologue starting grid, veteran teams were given a ranking based on their previous year's Enduro performance and then rookies had a random drawing for the rest of their starting times.
At the end of today's Prologue stage, competitors had their prohibited items sealed up until they cross the finish line. For many competitors, it's a welcome reprieve from technology, “Disconnecting for 10 days? This is one of the biggest draws of the rally for me, it’s amazing. There’s nothing like waking up in the morning and knowing that “all” you have to do that day is chase checkpoints with your friends. No errands, no chores, no news, no obligations, no cooking, no taking care of anyone but myself. It’s f---ing beautiful (pardon my French).” #141 Melissa Vander Wilt.
Rebelle Rally 2022: Stage 1
October 8, 2022. "Today will be a long a complex day. Pace is the name of the day," said Rebelle Founder Emily Miller during the start of the morning meeting on today's Stage 1. With sweeping views of Mt. Jefferson, Stage 1 loop covered 242 kilometers and included 18 checkpoints (CPs) and an On Time Enduro.
The course consisted of crossing over numerous high passes including Northumberland Pass where the 4x4 Class competitors had to decide whether to take the regular route which includes a steep descent into Monitor Valley or the more technical driving X route for CPs #7 and #8. The teams then had the option to visit the rare and unique geologic formation Diana’s Punchbowl which required some careful driving, or turn back west again to collect CPs near the town of Manhattan before returning after their very long day back to basecamp.
Stage 1 was a chance for teams to start strong and stand out as contenders to be on the podium at the end of the rally. Team #129 4xEventures of Nena Barlow and Teralin Petereit showed that they’re back here to win again, finishing their day on top with a perfect score.
When asked if there was pressure to stay on top, Barlow had the following perspective, “Yes, absolutely. It’s not only competition with others but yourself as well. You ask yourself if you can maintain that consistency. We stayed really consistent last year all week and while anything can happen, you want to continue that momentum. I think we can - but you never know when there are some blips in the road. The other side of the spectrum is that it puts a target on your back and there are a few people in this room who have their eye on your position.”
They were followed by a two-way tie for second with the Toyota 4Runner of Team #154 CHAOS (Rori Lewis / Renée Vento) and the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited of Team #188 Dirt Hustle (Laura Wanlass/Maria Guitar) who also happened to be the first off the line today. For Wanlass, it was a slightly different approach, “Today was all about getting back into the groove of the rally, so we decided to attempt the more difficult course that Emily and her team planned out. There were a few mistakes to work on, but it was a really fun Stage 1,”
For the CHAOS Team, they are both seasoned veterans of the Rebelle but this is the first time competing together. “This is the first time I’ve actually had enough time prior to the Rebelle to prepare with my partner," stated Vento. "So we were able to get in the car together and practice on numerous occasions. I knew who I was going there with, and I knew the vehicle was going to be sound, so I had a lot more peace of mind coming into this year’s rally. Being partnered with Rori gave it an extra boost because I was on the fence about whether or not I was going to do it this year. When the opportunity to compete with her came up, that was a no-brainer. This is the best I’ve felt going into a rally."
Other notable finishes included last year’s Rookies of the Year, Becky Brophy and Samantha Barber #152 Toyota Way-Finders, who finished fifth. They are back with an all-new 2022 Toyota Tundra Hybrid and showing the field why they were the only top 10 rookie finisher in 2021.
Kris Vockler and Andrea Shaffer of Team #145 Fast ‘N Curious Offroad who have a combined nine years of experience in the Rebelle (with Andrea being an OG), only started competing together in 2021. They finished fourth with plenty of experience to keep them a team to watch.
And the X-Cross™ class competition is just as fierce this year with quite a few veteran teams coming over to compete in a different class. Sharing the lead at the end of the day was Carey Lando and Angie Lux in the 2014 Subaru Outback Team #204 MtnSubi. The duo are close friends and travel buddies after meeting at last year's training for the Rebelle Rally. Both were drawn to the adventure of being outdoors and fun fact: Angie is a jammer for her local roller derby team, Spawn of Skatin!
The other half of the X-Cross™ lead is held by a 2022 Ford Bronco Sport Badlands #200 Team Built Wild helmed by Chris Benzie and Melissa Clark. Their bone stock Bronco turned heads on the trail and while this is their first time competing together, they've been friends since meeting on the 2018 rally.
After her fourth year of competition, Chris is competing with someone other than her daughter but she still firmly maintains, “What’s better than being a Rebelle? Having a daughter who is a Rebelle”.
Rounding out the top three in the X-Cross™ class is another bone stock vehicle, a 2023 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition brought to the rally by Sedona Blinson and Lyn Woodward as Team #216 Wild Grace.
With such a strong field of X-Cross™ competitors this year, things are sure to heat up as we see more of these extremely capable vehicles out on the trails.
As a result of a random draw, Team #156 The HoneyBadgers will be the first out of the line at 7 AM PDT on Sunday morning for Stage 2 en route to the marathon leg of the rally where competitors will self camp and spend the night without Rebelle staff.
Rebelle Rally 2022: Stage 2 - Marathon Leg
October 9, 2022. With the promise of hot springs surrounded by colorful peaks, teams departed for their Marathon Stage which was a self-camp night away from basecamp amenities near the border between Nevada and California. A chance to shake off any mistakes from Stage 1, teams started their day heading west towards the Monte Cristo Range with some demanding routes but spectacular scenery. The latter part of the day featured the old mining area of Columbus and ended at Fish Lake Hot Springs featuring a hot springs and the opportunity to connect with other competitors without the staff around.
With competitors out at the Marathon Leg tonight, reports will be limited. A full brief will be sent out with results from both Stage 2 and Stage 3 tomorrow.
Tana White #206 – “With the Marathon Leg, I love the relaxed atmosphere and how everyone gets a chance to chat and talk. It’s the fun time where all the competitors get to know each other and it’s special because no one is here to tell us when we have to do anything,” competitor Tana White of Team #206, Plot Twist. “Yesterday our Terra Trip died, we lost our sensor so we ended up timing out of a lot of checkpoints. I was expecting to be way better yesterday than we were. We had a rockstar morning and then bombed it in the afternoon. Last night, our engineer friends gave us some math to figure out our distance so I just did math all day today. Every distance we had today I had to multiply our odometer reading from the car and figure out our location. It felt amazing, I felt like I had my groove back.”
Anna Lewis #148 – “I always enjoy coming to marathon camp now. It’s fun getting to hang out with the girls and be able to kind of reassess and fix things in your vehicle that you haven’t been able to get to because of impound. It was a beautiful day, we saw some gorgeous scenery. Our first two days have been going great getting checkpoints, just having a few computer issues with the car but getting on with as many as we can”, said Anna Lewis of Team #148, Switching Roles.
Rebelle Rally 2022: Stage 3
October 10, 2022. Wrapping up the Marathon Stage, competitors reluctantly left their oasis in the hot springs for an epic day of peaks and valleys, finally crossing into California. Without the standard morning briefing from Rally Director Emily Miller, teams had the morning to prepare themselves for a long day that features a variety of challenges and decisions.
Early in the day, the route took them to the edge of Death Valley where teams had to choose which route they would take. For the competitors who took the X CP route, they faced steep and technical trails up high above Owens Valley. All teams met back up for an On Route Enduro that lead them through the famed Alabama Hills and Movie Road.
On Route Enduros are not timed but competitors may have blue or black CPs throughout the route they need to navigate to while enjoying the iconic National Scenic Area. It is a welcome reprieve from the tedious task of finding CPs or the stresses of an On Time Enduro.
The afternoon threw them back into the thick of things taking the teams over Cactus Flats, the brown sand dune at Coso then into an On Time Enduro along the LA Aqueduct ending in the sand-filled Short Canyon, Rebelle Rally’s TSD version of Pike’s Peak. Over the span of the two days of the marathon stage, competitors traversed over 600 kilometers and encountered 39 checkpoints with both an on time and on route enduro finally ending at Basecamp 2 nestled in Dove Springs outside of Ridgecrest, California.
Not everyone had the smoothest of days because, as we all know, things never seem to go exactly as planned, but as true Rebelles do, competitors dug in and found solutions for any problems that arose.
Quite a few will keep Nick and the mechanics team busy, but some may be able to fix things in the field while on the competition route. The rookie teams of #180 Roverlanding and #121 Dark Defender ended up getting their hands dirty to do on-course replacements of shocks, showing just how tough a true Rebelle can be.
After a busy few days, the competition is tight with Team #129 4xEventures (Nena Barlow / Teralin Petereit) holding a narrow lead over the second place Team #188 (Laura Wanlass / Maria Guitar) after they essentially tied scores on the Stage 3 course. Coming up steadily in the ranks is the Toyota Tundra Team #152 (Becky Brophy / Samantha Barber) who keeps pounding out those checkpoints and pushing through those legendary Day 3 battles.
Barber’s recap of the day summed up their rollercoaster experience, “Today was tough, we struggled with one of the points in the beginning which really got into our heads. We were able to move on and had a great middle of the day but had a bit of a set back during the Enduro when someone from outside the Rebelle was stopped in the middle of our course. It was a good test of our communication and our ability to throw things in the back seat and let them go. Overall, we had a good day with beautiful sights and we love being out here!”
With a smaller field, X-Cross™ is keeping things exciting with competition throughout the entire field. The Ford Bronco Sport Badlands Team Built Wild #200 (Christine Benzie / Melissa Clark) continues to lead the group but has a Nissan Pathfinder of Team Wild Grace #216 (Sedona Blinson / Lyn Woodward) and Subaru Outback of Team MtnSubie #204 (Carey Lando / Angela Lux) right on their heels. For the first time, we have BMW joining the chase with Team eMpowered #210 piloted by Kelsey Stephens and Elizabeth Mohan with their 2013 BMW X5.
Vehicle owner Kelsey Stephens shared her thoughts about selecting her ride. “It’s really cool to get to be the first in something, especially with my BMW. BMW is heavily involved with motorsports all over the world so to be the first to bring a BMW to an event like this is even more amazing. I’ve been working on them and running a shop for many years, we’re passionate about the make. I compete with BMWs in other forms of motorsports so when it came time to do the Rebelle, there was no question I knew it had to be a BMW and the X5 was the obvious choice. We have the diesel so the long range is great and we don’t need to really worry about fuel. The vehicle is doing great, we’re out here and I have lots of torque for all of the sand and uphill climbs we’ve been faced with.”
Rebelle Rally 2022: Stage 4
October 11, 2022. As we approach the halfway mark of the 2022 Rebelle Rally, veteran competitors were looking forward to some familiar territory, but Rebelle Director Emily Miller made sure to throw in a few new surprises to keep ALL the competitors on their toes. Miller introduced the Ridgecrest Loop stage with the sage advice, “Manage your time wisely."
The field was split up into groups to start and sent in opposite directions with one starting their day with an On Route Enduro and the other group heading over to the El Paso Mountain Wilderness and Spangler OHV to collect a string of CPs in any order they want before swapping over to the other portion of the course. This option to capture their checkpoints out of standard numerical order is a new challenge for competitors as they previously were unable to go backwards if they missed one previously.
Drivers and navigators needed to work together to determine the best route to keep Millers’s words in mind. The On Route Enduro took the teams through Joshua Tree-covered hillsides and passing the Pacific Crest Trail. A new element of the Enduro introduced today was teams could decide between an X option roadbook and a regular route, the X option being easier to navigate but more difficult driving. With 35 checkpoints in the day (a Rebelle record!) the competitors had their skills pushed to the limit.
Despite the day’s difficulty, the biggest story of Stage 4 was all about two rookies and a Rivian who won the day with almost 20 more points than the second-highest scoring team. Team #187 Limestone Legends (Lily Macaruso / Alex Anderson) was the only team to garner over 90% of the available points today and took home the Daily Stage Winner title by showing hard work and training can make a difference.
Despite this incredible finish, the rookie team told us that they haven’t been looking at their scores but it’s for a good reason, “First and foremost, we’re a team and in order to make sure we make the best decisions for our team, we want to keep ranking out of our thoughts.” said Lily Macaruso, driver of the 2022 Rivian R1T. “Typically whenever you have the pressure of understanding how much you have to lose, you treat things differently. You get an ego, you take risks that aren’t worth it. You stop thinking through your decisions and more about losing positions or individual points. We don’t want to do that.”
The challenges the competitors were contending with wasn’t just maps and enough time but also rough terrain that is brutal on the vehicles. Mechanics Director Nick Cimmarusti and his team of mechanics are considered wizards when it comes to helping competitors with their major issues but before he jumps in, teams will work on their own vehicles to lead the diagnosis and solutions.
Regarding the looming terrain in Southern California Cimmarusti stated, “I think everybody's very intimidated by the dunes, but we typically see the least amount of breakage in the dunes unless it's a big event. Mostly we see damage in the middle of the course historically like Johnson Valley and Dove Springs, because it's that jagged rock that's very unforgiving and we get a lot of different sizes of whoops from the Trophy Trucks and the side-by-sides that come tearing through here. We get a lot of suspension failure, a lot of steering failure, and a whole bunch of tire punctures because of the sharp rocks.”
In standings news, still leading in the 4x4 class is Team #129 4xEventure (Nena Barlow / Teralin Petereit) with strong and consistent scores that show why this team will be hard to top this year. Chasing them is Team #188 Dirt Hustle (Laura Wanlass / Maria Guitar) who have had a few struggles but continue to get those CPs that have kept them in the top three for the first half of the event. Rounding out the top three is the dynamic team #150 G.O.A.T. (Shelby Hall / Penny Dale) who are ready to prove that they are a team to watch.
In the X-Cross™ Class, Team #200 Team Built Wild (Christine Benzie / Melissa Clark) continues to lead the group but have second place Team #216 Wild Grace (Lyn Woodward / Sedona Blinson) chasing with dogged determination. Rounding out the top three is Team #204 MtnSubie (Carey Lando / Angela Lux) who have impressed over and over again in their 2014 Subaru Outback.
Rebelle Rally 2022: Stage 5
October 12, 2022. Rebelle competitors started their day with news that Stage 5 would be spent with a road book and they only had three more checkpoints to plot this morning, not something that the field is accustomed to hearing. The name of the game today was Enduro math. The day was comprised of Enduros with only two smaller CP zones - a complete departure from the immense amount of plotting they had to do yesterday. Their route took them out of Jawbone Canyon this morning and out to two dry lakebeds before making their way south down Route 66 to Roy’s Motel & Café for Basecamp 3.
This twist to the competition today threw a few teams for a curveball. The combination of long distance and a long day meant that mistakes could be made in plotting, reading the roadbook, or in communicating the plan. There were definitely some setbacks for a few teams with the unfortunate result of Team #150 G.O.A.T. (Shelby Hall / Penny Dale) falling out of the top three following a few missteps.
Continuing their push for a second victory, Team #129 4xEventures (Nena Barlow / Teralin Petereit) garnered an impressive 100% of the points available to competitors. Taking advantage of the X options that are available, they were able to complete this incredible feat that few teams will ever be able to achieve. Still on the hunt for the coveted top position is Team #188 Dirt Hustle (Laura Wanlass / Maria Guitar) who are a mere 40 points behind the leader, which as we’ve seen, can change based on one or two small decisions. Rounding out the top three are newcomers and leading rookie Team #187 Limestone Legends (Lily Mancaruso / Alex Anderson). After their impressive performance in Stage 4, they continue to show they are a strong contender for the Rookie of the Year title.
Stage 5 in the X-Cross™ category ended in a tie between Team #200 Built Wild (Christine Benzie / Melissa Clark) and Team #216 Wild Grace (Sedona Blinson / Lyn Woodward), with both teams selecting the X route checkpoints to garner top points. Team Wild Grace is still chasing Team Built Wild in the standings but has shown they’re not out of the running quite yet. Melissa Clark, driver of the 2022 Ford Bronco Sport Badlands loves the competition and challenges that the Rebelle brings, "I actually get chills when Emily says a route is technical. My mind just goes, well, that's where we're headed today. It can be technical rock crawling, technical dune driving, technical anything. I guess technically, I'm a little crazy for the challenging route.”
Following up these two Bone Stock Designated teams in the standings is Team #204 MtnSubie (Carey Lando / Angela Lux) who are close on the heels of the Nissan Pathfinder as they head into the final two stages.
Rebelle Rally 2022: Stage 6
October 13, 2022. Before teams hit the dunes of Glamis, competitors faced a long transit-style day that crossed the Mojave Desert heading east toward the Colorado River and Arizona border. With valuable points at the end of the day in the Imperial Sand Dunes, teams could opt to skip some points based on how they managed their time throughout today’s stage. Teams had the chance to experience just how vast the valleys were in the heart of the Mojave, deceivingly vast. Once teams entered the dunes, they hunted for checkpoints in the northwest corner of the open area - just a glimpse of what they will see tomorrow in preparation for a long day ahead of sand.
We checked in with one of the rookie teams who have learned a lot since Tech Inspection back in Lake Tahoe. The rookies now have over 2,200 kilometers under their belt and really are now only rookies by name. In talking with Team #121 Dark Defender (Evelyn Chan / Jill Piovano) they’ve discovered a lot about the Rebelle and a lot about themselves in a short amount of time.
“We learned quickly that we really need to adjust our expectations,” stated Jill Piovano. “We shouldn’t be competing above our ability; we should be competing to improve our ability. That’s what happened when we first started the Rally, we wanted to get blacks, we wanted to do things well but then I noticed we got in over our heads, we started getting penalties and losing points. We were missing easy points and green CPs so we sat down and said, here’s our philosophy, don’t compete above our skill set, compete to improve our skill set. Challenge ourselves and do a little bit more each day. Like going into the dunes where we practiced driving today but don’t compete above our current skill set.”
Entering the final day of the 2022 Rebelle Rally, competition is heating up and the top teams are starting to feel the pressure of only one more day to gather checkpoints. At the top of the leaderboard for 4x4 is Team #129 4xEventure (Nena Barlow / Teralin Petereit) who are competing in the Bone Stock destination and are also part of the Electrified program.
When it came to their week and heading into the Glamis dunes, Nena Barlow stated, “We’ve had a great week. It’s been fairly consistent. We had some ups and downs and made some mistakes but we all do, and it’s all about how you deal with it and come back from it that counts. We had a rough start this morning but now we’re home in Glamis! This is our home court. Anything can happen on Day Seven so we’re going to be smart, and drive smart. Play it cool and straight.”
Leading the X-Cross is Team #200 Built Wild (Christine Benzie / Melissa Clark). They have a lot of pressure to put the Ford Bronco Sport on top of the podium again but have welcomed the challenge as they move into the final day.
“It’s been a remarkable week,” stated Clark. “I think what I pull away from the Rebelle Rally is that it’s critical that you have a very strong navigator. Driving is one aspect of it but having a really good navigator, knowing where to go and having good team communication has absolutely been critical. This is my 7th year, and in the course of that time I’ve had five different partners. Chris has been amazing; I’ve loved having her for her maturity and her thoughtfulness and her analytics has been great because I’m a little more random and cavalier. Coming into Stage 7 with the lead we have has been great because this is the opportunity to put the Bronco Sport back on the X-Cross podium for the win for the third year in a row. I felt some of that pressure at the beginning of the week and now I feel like it’s coming to fruition, and it’s been awesome.”
Chasing the lead competitors are two teams who definitely aren’t going to sit back and take the results without a fight. Currently, second place in the 4x4 class is Team #188 Dirt Hustle (Laura Wanlass / Maria Guitar) who are a mere 33 points behind Nena and Teralin. According to Wanlass, “It’s been fun this year. Plus, I didn’t time out of a green CP this year so that helps heading into Day seven. We’re just going to give it our all tomorrow, get as many points as we can, and hopefully it comes out ok. I feel good and we’ve worked really hard, and I feel like we’ve been pretty consistent.”
The dunes are a favorite location for Laura and knows the tricks to conquering dunes. “It’s all about being methodical, just distance and heading. You have to be very disciplined about staying on those, not rushing but making sure you get to a safe spot so you can continue your Rally. Consistency is important all week but most important in the dunes. This is my favorite part of the Rebelle, I love dune day. I love to drive sand dunes and come out here all the time with my husband and my family to drive.”
In second place for the X-Cross competition is Team #216 Wild Grace (Sedona Blinson / Lyn Woodward). Their bone stock Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition has everything an adventurer could need in order to conquer the terrain of the Rebelle. When asked about the competition format for 2022 and the importance of Glamis to a a Rebelle, Blinson had the following to say, “It’s been an incredible Rally with lots of changes that have made it more challenging for returning Rebelles. I’ve always, since my first Rebelle, separated the first six days of the Rally from Glamis, though. Glamis is a special way of driving and navigating so I try to go into it as fresh as possible. I’m excited for day seven.”
Rebelle Rally 2022: Stage 7
October 14, 2022. In true Rebelle fashion, Glamis wasn't the only thing bringing the heat in the final stage today - the battle for the podium was fierce up until the last moments of the competition with third place a back and forth between two teams - one rookie and one returning. And the final stage's location of Glamis, known for its imposing size and complex terrain, continued to prove an interesting end to the Rebelle.
This year’s course, built by Rebelle Founder Emily Miller and Course Director Jimmy Lewis, threw the competitors some new challenges earlier in the week and continued to push their abilities each time the teams left basecamp. Teams traversed over 2,300 kilometres over the past nine days and now are ready kick off the dust and celebrate their accomplishments.
At the top of the 4x4 standings for the second year in a row was Team #129 4xEventures (Nena Barlow / Teralin Petereit) who were able to hold on to their lead as the teams chased their points through the dunes. Giving their best push throughout the entire rally and ending with a second place podium was Team #188 Dirt Hustle (Laura Wanlass / Maria Guitar). Their consistency paid off and kept them at the top of the rankings at every stage. The real battle of the final stage was for third place in the 4x4 class, where a Toyota made it to podium for the first time on the Rebelle Rally. Team #152 Toyota Way-Finders (Becky Brophy / Samantha Barber) fought a very hard battle against other competitors to put their 2022 Toyota Tundra up to the podium. The Toyota Way-Finders were the 2021 Rookies of the Year and returned back to prove they weren’t just a one-hit-wonder. They narrowly edged out Team #187 Limestone Legends (Lily Macaruso / Alex Anderson) who finished their Rally as the Rookie Team of the Year with an impressive fourth place finish in their Rivian R1T.
In the X-Cross™ class, bone stock vehicles ruled two of the top three spots. On the top of the podium was Team #200 Built Wild (Christine Benzie / Melissa Clark) who got to the top and never let the position go. Their bone stock Ford Bronco Sport Badlands conquered all of the challenges the team threw at it and landed the podium for the third year in a row. Following closely on their heels was Team #216 Wild Grace (Sedona Blinson / Lyn Woodward) in their bone stock Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek Edition. Both veteran teams worked for their points in the X-Cross™ class just as hard as they have in the 4x4 class. Rounding out the top three was a fan favorite throughout the rally, Team #204 MtnSubie (Carey Lando / Angela Lux.) Their souped up Subaru was the envy of many an individual who has their own Subaru Outback in their driveway.
Final Rebelle Rally 2022: Rebellation
October 16, 2022. Once again Team #129 4xEventures (Nena Barlow / Teralin Petereit) won the 4x4 Class in their Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4xe, earning a custom trophy and $5,000 each towards next year’s Rebelle Rally as their prize. They also were the top-placing team in both the 4x4 Bone Stock and Electrified designations. Electrified is a special designation that was started in 2020 for EVs and PHEVs that are charged during the rally via Renewable Innovations. Bone Stock, as the name implies, requires vehicles to be exactly as delivered from the manufacturer, with the only allowance for factory-sized aftermarket tires and wheels.
Team #188 Dirt Hustle (Laura Wanlass / Maria Guitar) finished second in the 4x4 Class in their 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited and also won the Pirelli Scorpion Tire Challenge contingency program. This program awards the top three Pirelli-equipped finishers with donations toward the registered non-profit of their choice. Laura and Maria will win $1,000 toward Destiny Rescue and in addition, because they were a podium finisher, will win an extra $500 for them to use as desired. The other two Pirelli-equipped finishers were Team #187 Limestone Legends (Lily Macaruso / Alex Anderson) winning $500 to the charity of their choice followed by Team #186 Yellow Yetis (Rosanna Nuch / Nicole Johnson) taking third place with $250 to the charity of their choice.
For the first time in Rebelle history, a Toyota has graced the podium with Team #152 Toyota Way-Finders (Becky Brophy / Samantha Barber) in a 2022 Toyota Tundra. They were the 2021 Rookies of the Year and returned to solidify their place in the Rally. The only modifications the women did to their Tundra were to add a skid plate and swap out their wheels and tires. As a personalization, Toyota also stamped the 2022 Rebelle Rally and Toyota Way-Finders logos into the metal of the truck making the vehicle truly one-of-a-kind.
In the X-Cross™ Class, Team #200 Team Built Wild (Christine Benzie / Melissa Clark) finished first to also take home $5,000 each towards the 2023 Rebelle Rally for their efforts. The duo also took home the X-Cross™ Bone Stock award. This is the third year that the Bronco Sport has been at the top of the podium and continues to dominate the class. Team #216 Wild Grace (Sedona Blinson / Lyn Woodward) and Team #204 MtnSubie (Carey Lando / Angela Lux) battled it out to finish second and third respectively with only 38 points separating them in the final standings.
Rochelle Bovee and Melissa Vander Wilt of Team #141 Roaming Wolves were the only entries this year in the 4030 designation, which is specifically for vehicles that are at least 40 years old. Just like in 2020 and 2021, they competed once again in their late father’s 1969 Ford Bronco to honor his legacy.
Team Pawsativity – #144 (Katerina Gardner/Liza Tough) took home the International Cup for 2022, coming all the way from Canada to compete in the Rebelle Rally. Liza Tough has been a part of the winning International Cup team for the past three years. The team will have $2,500 donated to the charity of their choice, with Team Pawsativity choosing the Paws it Forward Dog Rescue Society this year.
Rookie of the Year went to the fourth place team who were contenders throughout the week for a podium finish. They came close but were just edged out by last year's ROTY. Team #187 Limestone Legends (Lily Macaruso / Alex Anderson) in their Rivian R1T won the title after an impressive showing including winning Stage 4. These team members were selected to compete by the company through a series of trials and training. Both are engineers within Rivian and have deep ties to the outdoor lifestyle, off-roading and camping.
Additional contingency competitions this evening were awarded to the following. The top-scoring team running MAXTRAX received $1,000, this went to Team #129 4xEventures of Nena Barlow and Teralin Petereit who rely on this essential piece of equipment for all their vehicle recovery. MAXTRAX also sponsored its own Team Spirit Award to the team that assisted the most stuck vehicles using MAXTRAX, and that award went to Team #159 Whips & Waypoints (Alex Gilman / Erica Stevens) for helping out numerous teams throughout the dunes and sticky situations. The rookie team running a 2020 Jeep Gladiator may have been new to the Rebelle but knew they needed to help other teams out with whatever obstacles came their way.
Scrubblade also offered up a contingency competition for all teams who were using Scrubblade wipers on their vehicle. X-Cross winning Team #200 Built Wild (Christine Benzie / Melissa Clark) lead this award by earning $1,000 to their non-profit, The Youth Garden Project in Moab. Rounding out the X-Cross Scrubblade contest was 2nd place Team #204 MtnSubie (Carey Lando / Angela Lux) with $500 to their charity and 3rd place to Team #203 Baby Bronco (Karisa Haydon / Trista Smith) with $250 to their charity. For the 4x4, Scrubblade's top winner was Team #188 Dirt Hustle (Laura Wanlass / Maria Guitar) with their $1,000 award going to their non-profit, Destiny Rescue. The remaining 4x4 Scrubblade contest winners were for 2nd place Team #152 Toyota Way-Finders (Becky Brophy / Samatha Barber) with $500 for their charity and 3rd place Team #154 CHAOS (Rene Vento / Rory Lewis) with $250 to their charity.
The final award of the evening was the Team Spirit Award, presented by Rebelle Impact. Voted on by the competitors and course staff, this year the prize went to Team #133 Stormtrooper (Suzi McBride / Heidi Dillard) who won the award after numerous stories of support and inspiration submitted by their fellow Rebelles. The Team Spirit Award winner receives $5,000 in their name to the charity of their choice, with Team #133 choosing Girls Who Code as the recipient.
After 2,580 grueling kilometers, Rebelle Founder Emily Miller left the competitors and guests with a few thoughts about their new life post-Rebelle. “The world is more distracted these days, relationships are more separated. You have to make an effort to be present,” said Miller. “Take what you’ve learned from the Rebelle, put the phone down and look up. Enjoy every sunrise and enjoy every sunset.”
About the Rebelle Rally
The Rebelle Rally is the longest competitive off-road rally in the United States. Traversing over 2,500 kilometers through Nevada and California’s iconic terrain, it is an endurance competition for women consisting of precision driving and navigating - not fastest speed. The competition is innovative and unique, using maps, compass, roadbooks and strategy - known as Rebelle Format. GPS and other electronic devices are strictly prohibited. Remote and off-grid for eight competition days, the Rebelle Rally is considered a providing ground for people, products and stock manufacturer vehicles.
The Rebelle Rally is not a race, it is a competition. It differs from a traditional race where speed is a priority to finish as quickly as possible. By contrast, the Rebelle Rally is about precision, not speed. Precise navigation and precise driving. There is no GPS, no pre-running, and you don’t need a highly modified vehicle to be successful at the Rebelle Rally. “My vision was to create an event that rewards intelligence, proper planning, and attention to detail,” Rebelle Founder Emily Miller explained. Over eight days, teams comprised of two women (one driver, one navigator) use maps, compasses, and roadbooks to navigate to multiple checkpoints (CPs) and RECs in a prescribed amount of time. Some CPs are visibly marked by a flag and course worker (Green CPs), while others are marked by a small flag or PVC pipe (Blue CPs). Black CPs offer the greatest challenge, with no visible reference on the ground. Teams check in at each CP with their tracker, and the closer they are to the exact Black CP location the more points they receive.
To learn more, visit rebellerally.com