Blog by Ariella Spence
Photos Provided by Rebelle Rally
Anyone who has interacted with members of the outdoor community knows that women are tough, courageous and tremendously capable. And yet, despite their frequent accomplishments in the realm, women are still hugely underrepresented in the outdoors. Enter The Rebelle Rally, the first woman-only, off-road navigation competition, crossing approximately 2,000 kilometers of dirt roads, sand dunes and open desert, and designed for only the toughest chicks out there. Think it sounds like a breeze? Try no cell phones, no GPS, no electricity, and only one refuel each day. Nights are the only break from the road, and they’re spent in tents and sleeping bags. The competition lasts eight days. Sound challenging yet? At DMOS, a company founded by a strong, independent and outdoorsy woman, we think that Rebelle Rally is super rad.
The competition was created by Emily Miller, whose interest in automobiles started at a young age. Raised by a father with a passion for motor vehicles, Emily spent a lot of time around them as a child, reading about them in magazines and learning about them in museums. Unsurprisingly, her childhood interest developed into a passion, and after randomly meeting Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee Rod Hall, she learned how to race off-road and became the car fanatic she is today.
However, as Emily began to race off-road more and more, she quickly realized that she was one of very few women actually participating in the sport. With desires to be a coach, a mentor and an influence to other women, Emily started Rebelle Rally and saw immediate success. In December of 2015, Emily opened registration for the inaugural competition, and, in just two hours, 18 teams had registered. Ten months later, in October of 2016, 36 teams gathered at the starting line in Lake Tahoe, California, commencing the first ever Rebelle Rally.
This week Rebelle Rally begins its third annual competition, with 50 teams and 100 participants taking part, including the founder of DMOS, Susan Pieper, and her friend, Heather Berman. The two have been preparing for months, practicing tire changes, studying their engine layout and decaling their car. The pair even held a poll on Instagram to help them formulate a team name, finally settling on Teton Drift: The Fast and The Luxurious, mirrored after the iconic Tokyo Drift. Most importantly, however, the duo has invested innumerable hours prepping emergency kits with tape, car jacks, camping gear, jumper cables and, of course, DMOS shovels. Susan explains, “Rebelles are all about being self-sufficient and keeping their vehicle going, no matter what. Rebelles also know that the first and most essential recovery tool is a shovel”. And, with their shovels collapsed compactly in their vehicle, these badass women are more than ready to ride.
Founder Emily Miller also knows that team Teton Drift means serious business, posting the following to the official Rebelle Rally Instagram page: “As adventurous women off-road, we don’t take our shovel selection lightly. That is why we are excited to announce @dmos_collective as an official 2018 Rebelle Rally sponsor! Woman-owned, made in Oregon, headquartered in Jackson Hole, and with fierce tough-times tackling ability, DMOS’ innovative designs began a pro-quality tool revolution back in 2015 when they reimagined the shovel. And they haven’t slowed down since. The built-to-last collection not only meets the demands of the outdoors, they make even the most challenging adventures more conquerable”.
Susan and Heather will be driving a car named Helga, a Mercedes-Benz G550 4X4 with souped-up tires and a car rack sporting a Safety Red Stealth Shovel. Yet, despite Helga’s attractive exterior and remarkable capabilities, the competition requires a lot more than good looks and a need for speed. In fact, the Rebelle Rally website says, “It is not a race for speed, but a unique and demanding event based on the elements of headings, hidden checkpoints, time, and distance using maps, compass, and roadbook”. The contest will require participants to use their smarts, take their time and do everything better, not faster.
Representing DMOS, a company whose mission is to empower big adventures in extreme conditions, Susan and Heather are ready for anything that might be thrown their way, full well knowing that the contest will be both mentally and physically challenging, and even taxing at times. But, according to Berman, persevering in the face of fear is the only way to live. She says, “Doing things that scare you, keep you in the moment. It’s about gratitude – doing scary things help you grow.” Berman loves the quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do”.
The Rebelle Rally begins on Friday, October 12th, and wraps up the following week, on the 19th. If you are interested in viewing scores or live tracking, both are available on the Rebelle Rally website. Good luck to all of the competing females and kick some ass, Team Drift!