Team Week 2018: Lindsey & Sarah

We love our Texas teams! Coming all the way from Houston for the Rebelle Rally is Team 176 – Escape The Paved. Meet Lindsey Hunter and Sarah Homer – two women whose homes were devastated by Hurricane Harvey last year. After spending the last year rebuilding their homes, they are more than ready to escape post-flood world of construction and head for dustier roads!

As neighbors in Houston, Lindsey and Sarah had an incredibly bonding experience after Hurricane Harvey flooded both of their homes. As the waters around them rose, they had no choice but to float their children to safety on pool floats. “Though flooding is an absolutely awful experience, I feel really blessed to have made such incredible bonds with my neighbors. Sarah heard about the Rebelle on a Baja trip. And the minute she started telling me about the Rebelle, I was hoping she’d ask me to do it with her. So my response was an instant yes!” explained Lindsey.

The oil and gas industry brought Lindsey and her husband to Texas, where she works as an engineer. She spent her youth outdoors in the only state bigger than Texas: Alaska. When asked what she anticipated as the biggest challenge of the Rebelle she confessed that it was, “Not obsessing over finding black checkpoints… I tend to be a perfectionist so I need remember to keep us on track to hit all the greens and blues!”

Sarah is a Nurse Practitioner who loves sewing, cooking, baking, and gardening. “Except laundry… I hate laundry,” she confessed. “I’ve been known to buy more socks to avoid sorting them.” While she is relatively new to the navigation aspect of the rally, Sarah said, “We can do anything if we set our minds to it. We survived Hurricane Harvey!’

The two will be piloting Sarah’s Ford Raptor, which is fresh out of being put through its paces at the Texas Raptor Run. Though it is her daily driver, the 450-horsepower twin turbo Raptor should definitely hold its own in the Bone Stock classification.

“For us the Rebelle Rally is a celebration of making it through the storm and learning to dance in the rain. We have had the trial of our lives and we are up for a new challenge, one of our choosing, and one that will be a helluva lot more FUN!”

Team Week 2018: Lindsey & Sarah2018-10-11T21:27:57-07:00

Team Week 2018: Sandy And Lisa

Few brands conjure up the image of performance and power like Porsche, so we are so excited to see the return of Team #202- Hoehn Porsche to the Rebelle Rally! Sandy Conner and Lisa Wolford placed second in the Crossover Class back in the inaugural rally in 2016, and they are looking to best that this year.

Sandy and Lisa met at Hoehn Motors. Lisa is the Finance Director at Hoehn Porsche and Sandy used to work at the dealership. She met her husband Sean there over 20 years ago, he is currently the General Manager at Hoehn Porsche.

“The Rebelle is a life changer for sure!” Sandy exclaims. “It gave me the gift of empowerment. I’ve always been strong willed and independent but being in the middle of nowhere with not a soul in sight, with two blown tires and only yourself, your teammate, a map and a compass to rely on. Yet finishing the day back at base camp nine hours later safe and sound knowing you made it happen is the definition of empowering.”

“I’m so incredibly grateful to be back at the Rebelle for a second time!” Lisa shared. “I’ve lobbied hard for the past two years to make this happen and I’m overwhelmed with joy and appreciation to have another turn in the driver’s seat for Team Hoehn Porsche!” Lisa just took up sailing, so those navigation skills she is honing at the Rebelle Rally will come in handy in the near future.

The team will be piloting a brand new V6-powered Porsche Cayenne in the Crossover Class. “The world really needs to know that this vehicle is meant for so much more than carpools and grocery store runs!” Sandy emphasized. “The Porsche Cayenne is an amazing machine and our most important teammate!”

Team Week 2018: Sandy And Lisa2018-10-11T04:58:30-07:00

Team Week 2018: Emme & Rebecca

Don’t let the laughter and smiles of Team 140 fool you. While Emme Hall and Rebecca Donaghe enjoy a good laugh, they are serious competitors who finished on the podium third last year and have their sights set on victory in 2018.

Emme is an automotive journalist fueled by Diet Dr. Pepper who appreciates the street cred she gets from her male colleagues when she tells them she competes in the Rebelle Rally. While she is competitive, Emme is also Zen about the rally. “I don’t like to know where we are in the standings, otherwise I’ll start second-guessing my choices, and wondering what the other teams are doing. In the Rebelle, as in life, basing your decisions on what you think other people are doing is not the best way to win.”

Rebecca is a television producer who’s resume includes introducing Jay Leno to navigation and other aspects of the Rebelle Rally. She says “I’m better at throwing away mistakes, better at moving forward with incomplete information, better at correcting course with new information and not holding onto decisions that no longer serve the best way forward,” as a result of competing in the Rebelle Rally. “I’m actually terrified of heights, the ocean and being lost. It’s why I learned to rock climb, surf and sail, and rally with no tech. My best bucket list items are based on some of my biggest fears.”

After piloting a pickup truck in 2017, this year the pair will be driving a brand-new Jeep Wrangler JL. As an automotive journalist we expect Emme to thoroughly put the Jeep through its paces, all in the name of product testing. “I have been on countless press trips that have had an off-road element to them, so that the journalists could write about how the vehicle performed in the dirt. The problem is that the off-road course is always set up by the manufacturer for guaranteed success,” Emme explained. “It’s not real-world testing. By putting a vehicle in the Rebelle, manufacturers get invaluable feedback as to how their vehicles perform off-road.”

Team Week 2018: Emme & Rebecca2018-10-10T16:42:42-07:00

Team Tuesday 2018: Christine & Isabelle

Les Blondes du Désert sont dans la place! Team #172, Christine Aiach and Isabelle Lopez, have traveled all the way from France to join the Rebelle. From handling overseas logistics to language barriers and taking efficient packing next level, they’ve started their own rally just to get here. And now that they’re here, we can’t wait to tell you about them. Bienvenue, Les Blondes du Désert!

Christine lives near Paris, about 35 km southwest in a small city in Seine et Marne. She loves living near Paris, and usually goes once a week to shop, dine, meet friends, go to the theater, and bicycle around the city of lights. She’s a retired university professor, and when she’s home, she loves to do any type of sport (swimming, walking, jogging) as well as read and be with her family – she has a son and a daughter with her husband, who is a real estate director. Together, they travel the world, and as often as possible in US. Christine first went to the US when she was 17, and since then she’s been in love with this country and it’s “beautiful nature.”

She considers her and Isabelle the “queens of shoveling,” and are now able to do it very quickly. Christine mentioned they know even in the worst moment, they find something funny to laugh with… making their team always strong.

“We are a very friendly team, we enjoy to drink a glass of wine or champagne after a hard day of shovel sand or changing a wheel or losing ourselves in the desert or what ever could happen during a day of rally, and we will be always happy to share our experience with the other Rebelles. We are a competitor team but we will help every team that we will meet on our road!”

Isabelle lives in the south of France near Beziers. She is married with two boys and previously worked in tourism. She now enjoys traveling often to Mauritius Island because her family has is both French and Mauritian, and they live in Mauritius few months in the year.

She met Christine on a beach in Mauritius Island 15 years ago, and the rest is history! Competing in two rallies together has bonded them with a strong understanding of one another, benevolence, and cohesion of the two into one solid adventure-loving duo.

“I want to share this new adventure on Rebelle Rally, always navigator and Christine, pilot. With her, I feel, she can pilot me around the world. We want discover and compete to new horizons to share more of joy and new experiences in your great country!”

Team Tuesday 2018: Christine & Isabelle2018-10-10T05:23:13-07:00

Team Tuesday 2018: Michelle & Maria

Honda’s “Challenging Spirit” definitely comes across in today’s Team Tuesday profile: two Honda R&D Americas associates who are fueling their love of adventure through the very vehicle they’re behind – the Honda Ridgeline. The Ridgeline Rebels, #209, Michelle Klein and Maria Guitar, worked with other associates at Honda R&D Americas, including their husbands, to specifically prep their Rebelle competition vehicle. Talk about teamwork and team building! In a short amount of time, they went through a great learning experience and built incredible camaraderie and friendship…and the rally hasn’t even begun yet.

Originally from Alsip, Illinois and currently living in Dublin, Ohio, Michelle Klein holds the title of Safety/Crash Test Engineer at Honda R&D Americas. Her adventures have taken her across the world, including one impactful trip visiting her relatives in Palau by herself at age 24. There, she learned about her strength of independence, passion for exploring the unknown, and desire to keep stepping out of her comfort zone. She also learned a ton about the culture and how Palauans on the island live life to the fullest, stating the focus is on caring for people, goodwill, and being together. And the best thing about her teammate Maria? “Her awesome optimism and lively spirit to conquer anything! She is up for the challenge and pushes through the tough moments with enthusiasm, a smile, and lots of laughs!”

Maria is from the Turkana desert in Kenya, and also now lives in Ostrander, Ohio. She is an Engine Test Engineer for Honda R&D Americas where she works with Michelle. Excited to be teaming up with her for the Rebelle? Absolutely!

“The Rebelle combines everything I love in life! Beautiful outdoor places, maps, off-road driving, adventure, good camaraderie, you can’t beat this combination of fun! And our company, Honda R&D Americas, has been very gracious to sponsor us and provide the opportunity to compete in the Rebelle this year. We chose the Honda Ridgeline because we are excited to experience the off-road abilities of this vehicle, and hope to gain more insight into how we can help with future developments of the Ridgeline.”

Team Tuesday 2018: Michelle & Maria2018-10-09T19:07:30-07:00

Team Week 2018: Kyouka & Ashley

It definitely takes a certain kind of person to do the Rebelle, let alone go with someone you don’t really know. Add in the element of speaking a different language, and you’ve got an even more challenging adventure. But international competitor Kyouka from Japan and Original Rebelle Ashley Lee are more than ready to step up to the challenge to form Team #162, Team Sexy Jeep!

Born and currently living in Tokyo, Japan, Kyouka is a Jeep tripper, sunrise hunter, and sex therapist! Her love of Jeeps started when she was just three years old when she saw a cool car on her way home from nursery school – a Jeep. It was love at first sight, and it was then that she decided that she would drive a Jeep when she grew up. And once she achieved that goal, she felt strongly that she got everything she needed for her life:

“I never knew that there was such a car full of excitement and vivid life sense. My life changed 180 degrees with my Jeep and off-roading.”

Her first road trip was Sedona to Las Vegas – just 14 days after getting her license. A year later, she was jeeping Moab and the Rubicon Trial, and she now drives 600 to 1,000 km (~370–620 miles) almost daily.

As for why she’s doing the Rebelle, Kyouka said, “My heart sparked joy when I saw a picture of Rebelle. It seemed very fun. And I thought the desert was beautiful. I wanted to see it and experience it. I usually take my road trips alone, so this is a fresh experience for me. I had been looking for a teammate for a long time and I was fortunate to find Ashley to do it with. I am all looking forward to all the experience the Rebelle has to offer!”

Ashley is originally from Stockton, CA, and currently lives in Las Vegas, NV as an Outdoor Programs and Outreach Market Coordinator for REI. As an Original Rebelle, this will be her second time competing in the rally “I want to go out there and have fun. Explore some beautiful desert landscapes with this beautiful tribe of women,” she explained to us. “Sense of adventure and desolation is what I crave. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and so much reward afterward that I can prove to myself that I can do anything!”

And while she’s excited to be back for Round 2, she still has her concerns:
“I’m terrified, scared, excited, honored, and blessed. It’s a lot of emotion going through my head. I really just check myself that we are going to do a great job no matter what.”

Despite never having met in person and having only FaceTimed once, Ashley isn’t too worried about teaming up with someone new. “I don’t speak Japanese and her English is limited but that hasn’t stopped us yet. We had an instant connection and I am confident there is going to be a lot of fun with her. I’m so lucky I have Kyouka to share this experience with. Even if we come in last I want to laugh the whole time and just say, ‘Damn that was a good time!’”

Team Week 2018: Kyouka & Ashley2018-10-09T02:06:58-07:00

Team Week 2018: Amy & Kendra

The Pacific Northwest. Home to incredible trails, a richness of rain, and novel-worthy locations. It’s also home to two Original Rebelles who, although competing for the third time this year, are entering into their first time competition as a duo behind the wheel. And not just any wheel – a third time Toyota Land Cruiser Rebelle vehicle aptly named “Stormy.” Please welcome Team Sass-Quatch #184, Amy Hopkins and Kendra Miller!

Amy is originally from Colorado Springs, Colorado, and currently lives in Seattle where she is the VP of Marketing. She’s also the biggest Fleetwood Mac fan you’ll ever meet, and can’t live without really good shoes, coffee, and her teammate Kendra on the Rebelle – Amy loves that Kendra is unruffled by chaos, absolutely calm, and laughs all the time.

She’s coming back for her third Rebelle because it “is achievable and yet life-changing, and so amazingly well organized! It has totally changed my perspective on what I can do and given me a focus for how to pursue what I really love.”

Kendra’s hometown is Hemet, CA and she now resides in Snoqualmie, Washington where she’s a CEO. She loves her teammate, whom she describes as relaxed, driven, and fun. And she’s not leaving home without her, along with Duct tape, peanut butter, and M&Ms. And if you’re up for a debate, she also believes Red Vines are superior to Twizzlers, and are best when left out for a few days to get nice and chewy.

One of her most favorite adventures? She went with her husband on an international trip where he was to be interviewed all day. She was without cell access, and by herself. Apprehensive at first, she ventured out on her own anyways and just explored the city. She fell in love with travel and adventure…eventually leading to her third Rebelle next week.

“It’s very much a tempering event. Whatever you thought you were going in, you are different on the other side. You become more confident, humble and empowered while simultaneously joining an amazing sisterhood.”



Team Week 2018: Amy & Kendra2018-10-09T02:09:27-07:00

Team Week 2018: Julie & Shawn

Think you have to be a hardcore off-roader to enjoy the Rebelle Rally? Think again! Team Never Quit Challenge, #165 is new to the Rebelle Rally, but their experience with navigation and reckoning goes back to their time competing in offshore endurance races. Meet Julie Hart and Shawn Alladio: two old friends whose inspiration is to serve others and to inspire people!

Originally from Norco, California and currently residing in Anaheim Hills, Julie is a manager at a Fortune 100 corporation who loves to travel – a passion sparked from an 18-day trek through Thailand, Cambodia, and South Korea. Exploring the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia was one of the most moving experiences in Julie’s life. With its spiritual significance and sheer beauty, it was emotionally moving for her and a place where she could quietly reflect on life: past, present, and future. She believes this visit helped ground her, as well as provide a reset to tackle some of the worst life challenges she has faced since that time.

Shawn says, “Julie’s skills are layered regarding all aspects of the Rebelle; there really isn’t anything she cannot do. I don’t think she really needs a partner, because she is self-reliant, but I’m lucky to be along with the adventure!”  Julie is not one to shy away from a challenge, which was a big motivator in competing in the 2018 Rebelle Rally.

Shawn is a boating safety instructor in California who first heard about the Rebelle Rally from her teammate Julie. “I like the spirit of the Rebelle immensely,” Shawn explained. “I like partnership and teams, that’s where I see great things happen. Adventure is meaningful in life, it readies us to facilitate actions, strive to overcome hardships, and certainly for me the Rebelle is this and is a perfect match for our charity, Rescue Water Craft Association.”

“Shawn has a fire in her soul that drives her in everything she does; integrity, determination and ability to manage fierce storms that come her way,” Julie shared.  Those qualities will certainly come in handy during eight days of competition in the most remote corners of the Southwest with no phones or electronics to rely on.

Team #165- Never Quit Challenge will be piloting Julie’s 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon., affectionately named the Unrulicon, because what else would “Unruly” Julie drive. 😉

Team Week 2018: Julie & Shawn2018-10-09T02:09:36-07:00

Team Tuesday 2018: Sedona & Leah

We pride ourselves in the course we’ve built for the Rebelle Rally – something we like to call the ultimate proving ground for vehicles and designed for OEM, not race cars. The Nissan Armada is one such vehicle, and Nissan is up for the challenge with their 2018 second-generation Armada. Supporting Team Wild Grace #106, a team competing together for the second year in a row, Nissan is excited to showcase the Armada’s “authentic capability as a partner in any adventure.” And so are the two women behind Wild Grace – Sedona Blinson and Leah Heffelfinger! Please welcome them in today’s (official) Team Tuesday!

Although this is the second time Sedona is competing with Leah in the Rebelle, this is actually her third straight Rebelle, making her only one of 72 women with that title. Sedona is a preschool teacher in Sierra Vista, Arizona and counts Apache Junction in Arizona as her hometown.

Sedona’s coming back for her third year for the people, the challenge, and the experience. Even with two years under her belt, she knows this year will bring new challenges – and that’s half the fun for her. She always thought if she could just do it once, she’d be happy – but being able to go for a third year is just incredible for her.

“The Rebelle has had a surprising effect on me. I intended to walk away from doing the Rebelle just feeling accomplished but I walked away with much more. I came home a problem solver. More decisive. Less afraid to face a challenge. Most importantly I found the joy in being me again because of the confidence the Rebelle evoked.”

Leah is from Flagstaff, Arizona where she’s the Social Media Manager for Canyon Coolers. She can’t live without snacks, super hot showers, and her vacuum in her “normal life,” and on the Rebelle those items are replaced with snacks, her Big Agnes sleep system (“heaven!”) and her third teammate the Nissan Armada! And she’s stoked to be back for round two, especially with Sedona.

“Sedona works well under pressure and always remains calm. Which is great – since we are entering into the 2018 Rebelle late, we have a lot of work to do in a short period of time, and also simply for getting to checkpoints – Sedona is amazingly focused and calm.”

After competing in her first Rebelle in 2017, Leah found herself more confident in wanting to try new things – whether it’s hiking or riding her mountain bike and mentioning she’s less fearful in so many aspects post-Rebelle.

We love hearing confidence coming from Rebelle challenges, and were curious what in particular Leah found so challenging about the Rebelle?

“The most challenging part of the Rebelle to me, is driving and navigating in the dunes. This isn’t somewhere I particularly enjoy going, so I have limited experience here. It’s fun to learn something new, however, the rest of the terrain on the course is more applicable to my life, and thus more fun!”

For Nissan’s official press release on Team Wild Grace and their third teammate the Armada, click here.

Team Tuesday 2018: Sedona & Leah2018-10-03T02:23:03-07:00

Team Week 2018: Sarah & Shelby

Best way to kick your week off right? Team Week here at the Rebelle starting now! The countdown to Rebelle Rally 2018 is officially on (ten days!), and this is the place to get to know your 2018 competitors all week long. With diverse stories from all walks of life, we can’t wait for you to meet the rest of the Rebelles! And we’re launching our favorite month with none other than Team #163, Cinnamon and Gunpowder – Sarah Bonvallet and Shelby Wagner. Two business owners whose many talents and joy of the challenge has brought them together to Rebelle this year.

Sarah grew up in Algonquin Illinois, lived in Missoula, Montana for six years, and now call Minneapolis her home. She’s the co-owner and Creative Director of Dangerous Man Brewing Co, and before brewing, she was a longtime Girl Scout. Starting in first grade, Sarah unknowingly began training for the Rebelle – from learning how to start 1-match fires, camping in the pouring rain, and connecting with and strongly supporting other women, her experience as a Girl Scout lasted through high school.

Another anecdote of preparation? An impactful trip to the Colorado mountains when she was nine. Camping outside amongst the pines, stars, dry hot days, and mountains made Sarah appreciate the elements – and led her to become a self-described mountain girl! She’s narrowed her must-haves on our outdoor adventure to three things – her Leatherman, current book of choice, and coffee with cream (Cafe Moto looking at you!)

Teaming up with Shelby was a no-brainer for Sarah. “Shelby is one of the wisest, strongest and most even-keeled humans I know. Shelby’s talents are so cross-sectional but the one I will rely on during the Rally will be her calm, zen-like approach to challenges. She also has the greatest smile and laugh, something I will look forward to when we lost in the dunes!”

At least they’ll be “lost in the dunes” in style thanks to the team’s 2005 LJ from Zeus Off Road!

Shelby is originally from Minneapolis and currently lives in Bloomington, Minnesota where she’s the co-owner of Zeus Off Road and an agile coach. She’s not leaving home without homemade food prepared with love, clean underwear, and a journal + pen.

Shelby loves food (Shelby, you’ll be in good hands at the Rebelle) and truly enjoys the history, love, and care that goes into growing food, as well as bringing a recipe to life. Some say she’s a bit obsessed, but conversation over food with friends and family are some of her happiest moments.

Another happy moment – her European backpacking adventure with a friend after college – before Google maps! Shelby explored new cities by taking different modes of transportation, and waking up seeing where the day would take her. She came back with a greater sense of independence and feeling empowered – if she could navigate her way through foreign countries, she could make her way through anything. And next week, she’ll be making her way through the Rebelle.

“When I first saw the Rebelle Rally featured on Facebook 2 years ago I honestly knew in that moment I would do it someday. I am a risk taker and the steeper the challenge the better, especially when skill and intellect are involved. I figure if I’m comfortable and feel like I know everything, then I must be standing still. Also, I’m tech-averse, so I’m excited to learn a new skill many would see as a lost art.”

Team Week 2018: Sarah & Shelby2018-10-09T02:10:19-07:00