Strong Vehicle Manufacturer Participation for October’s Rebelle Rally

Vehicle Manufacturers Continue to Build Strong Participation in the 2019 Rebelle Rally

September 10, 2019 (Reno, NV) – The 4th annual Rebelle Rally kicks off October 10th in Olympic Valley, California with a strong lineup of vehicle manufacturer participation. The 10-day navigation rally is a unique test of woman and machine as teams of two drive and navigate across Nevada and California to the U.S.—Mexico border. Final events will take place along the water’s edge in San Diego.

The competition is not a race for speed, but a true test of traditional navigation skills in street legal, unmodified or minimally modified SUVs, trucks and CUVs.  The event has focused on providing a strong platform for manufacturer vehicles to shine. This year, programs and support have been fielded from Jeep, Honda, Nissan, Porsche, Rolls-Royce, and Mitsubishi, with more expected before the October date.

OEM involvement has taken multiple forms – from fielding teams and providing vehicles, to in-depth engineering programs from companies such as Honda. “We have been laser focused in our commitment to build a multi-pronged platform for companies,” noted rally founder and promoter Emily Miller. “While some mistakenly assume it is limited to a women’s marketing program, we have created the longest competitive rally in the lower 48, with an in-house developed real-time vehicle data visualization platform for manufacturers with our partner Mapbox, strong company leadership and teamwork development, to tremendous experiential and content opportunities.”

The Details

Jeep returns as a committed partner with sponsorship and presentation of the Awards Ceremony at San Diego’s Broadway Pier. Honda returns with four female engineers as they use the experience for product development purposes in the Honda Ridgeline and Honda Passport. Nissan will field three-time Rebelle Sedona Blinson with teammate and automotive journalist Lyn Woodward in the Nissan Armada. Porsche returns with 2018 CUV class winners. Rolls-Royce stunned many by entering the new Cullinan with 2018 Co-Champions Emme Hall and Rebecca Donaghe.  Mitsubishi has entered an impressive team of military women – three-time Rebelle and Team Spirit Award winner Rachael Ridenour and teammate Karah Behrend, a retired young woman who served in the Air Force, and is an inspirational adaptive athlete who competes in multiple sports in a wheelchair. Behrend will drive the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross with hand controls in the CUV Class.

While the course is confidential until the rally, friends and fans can follow the event via social, daily updates, live narrative mapping, live tracking, and webcast.  Log on to and mark the calendars for October 10-19th.

Media contact:
Kirsten Tiegen

Strong Vehicle Manufacturer Participation for October’s Rebelle Rally2019-09-11T12:12:21-07:00

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

Manufacturers Step Up to the 2017 Bone Stock Challenge

Ram Power Wagon takes home the Bone Stock Award.

The Rebelle Rally presented by Hoehn Adventures saw an influx of support from major manufacturers looking to showcase their vehicles’ abilities at the event. “The vehicle in your driveway is more capable than you think,” Rebelle founder Emily Miller explained. While the Rebelle Rally is not a race for speed, it is a durability test for the driver, navigator, and vehicle. The Bone Stock Designation was created for stock, unmodified vehicles to give them a platform to shine within the 4×4 and Crossover classes.

In order to qualify for the Bone Stock Designation, a vehicle must be stock, as delivered from the factory.  No modifications are allowed beyond aftermarket wheels and tires in the stock size. Given the number of Bone Stock entries equipped from the factory with performance suspension and drivetrain components, the manufacturers have risen to the challenge.

In only the second year of the Rebelle Rally, a total of 11 Bone Stock entries threw their hat in the ring to compete for the prestigious award. Five manufacturers sent teams to the grueling driving and navigation challenge, which spanned eight days and thousands of kilometers. Vehicles vying for the Bone Stock Award included the Ram Power WagonFord RaptorChevy Colorado ZR2Nissan NavaraNissan FrontierLand Rover LR4Honda RidgelineJaguar F-Pace, several Jeep Wrangler Rubicons, and one impeccably maintained 1995 Ford Bronco.

Manufacturer Entered Vehicles/Teams

Last year Nena Barlow and Kande Jacobsen won the Bone Stock award in a Ram Rebel.  Equally impressive, they took 3rd place overall, suggesting that Bone Stock vehicles are just as capable as their modified counterparts – and often more dependable. This year Barlow returned in a Ram Power Wagon with teammate Chris Mayne as Team 4 Corners (#129). Barlow took home the Bone Stock win for the second year in a row, as well as 2nd place overall. When the dust settled, the team was a mere two points away from winning the Rebelle Rally. Given the capabilities of the vehicles entered this year and the skills of the women piloting them, it is not outside the realm of possibility for a Bone Stock truck or SUV to take home the 1st place prize.

The big brother of the Rebel, the Power Wagon, sports an even larger Hemi engine, a solid front axle, locking differentials, a factory Warn winch, and an electronic disconnecting sway bar for additional wheel travel in uneven terrain. “I have had the Power Wagon out in the dunes and couldn’t get stuck even when I tried,” Barlow reported. The competition was especially tough this year due to increased driving challenges that included more technical climbs and rocky terrain, and not to mention a field of fierce, well-prepared competitors.

Driver Emme Hall and navigator Rebecca Donaghe competed in the inaugural Rebelle Rally in a modified Chevy Colorado, contending for the win right up to the last day of competition. Hall and Donaghe of Team Anemoiniacs (#140) came back this year piloting the new and coveted Chevy Colorado ZR2. The truck comes equipped with Multimatic shocks and locking differentials in both axles, in addition to a fuel-efficient diesel engine. “Ever since I first saw the ZR2, I knew this was the truck I wanted to drive in this year’s rally,” Hall noted. The vehicle impressed throughout the competition, but on the last day, the ZR2 had intermittent issues with the 4WD system, making it especially challenging in the steepest part of the Glamis dunes. However, the team stayed tough and focused, keeping their 3rd place podium position.

Sedona Blinson and Leah Heffelfinger of Team Wild Grace (#106) competed in a Nissan Frontier PRO4X in this year’s rally. “What brings me back for another year is the opportunity to do better, as well as partnering with a new teammate who is jumping in to challenge herself in new ways,” Original Rebelle Sedona shared. While the Frontier does not benefit from a front locking differential, the body-on-frame construction, locked Dana 44 rear axle, and powerful 261-horsepower V6 engine make it an incredibly capable machine. And although Leah was new to the Rebelle, she did an impressive job driving, especially in the toughest sections of the rally. The team finished 11th overall.

Fitting between the 3/4-ton Power Wagon and the midsize Colorado ZR2 and Frontier was the Ford Raptor. The second-generation Raptor boasts huge 3-inch internal bypass Fox shocks and a 10-speed automatic transmission to keep the twin-turbo V6 Ecoboost engine in the powerband at all times. The potent piece of machinery was piloted by Team NICE France’s Helene Becour and navigated by Armelle Medard Lang (#131), French competitors that were vying for the International Cup. Their long list of accomplishments include multiple wins and podiums in endurance navigation rallies. And while the truck performed flawlessly, losing their spare tire on Day 4 meant a loss of crucial points and a redefined strategy. The two took it easy in the rocky, difficult sections that followed, ensuring they made it to the finish line and earning them 16th place.

Nissan France didn’t just ship over a French-market Navara to compete against the slew of American-market pickups, but sent two of their employees as well! ”When Florence Pham and Karen Rayrolles presented their project to participate in the Rebelle Rally, the board of directors unanimously decided to support them in this fantastic adventure. The professional and personal development of its employees is very essential to Nissan,” commented Bernard Loire, Managing Director of Nissan West Europe. Like Team NICE France, Florence and Karen of Team Flowkey (#123) competed for both the Bone Stock Award and for the International Cup.

The Navara features a 2.3L twin turbo diesel engine, selectable rear locking differential, and unique multi-link rear suspension. While small displacement diesel engines are starting to gain popularity in the United States, they are a staple in the rest of the world due to the generous torque output and the fuel-efficient design. The Navara performed well, and despite less ground clearance than much of the competition, the duo finished in 6th place. This was the highest finish this year for any team comprised of newcomers to the Rebelle Rally.

Not to be outdone by the trucks, Lyn Woodward and Nicole Honstead of Team Rubicon Recon (#157) drove a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon. The name is a mouthful, but each word adds a layer of performance. Jeep is synonymous with off-road, and the Wrangler is the brand’s most iconic model with solid axles, a full ladder frame, and a removable top. The Rubicon designation adds selectable locking differentials to each axle, a 4:1 geared transfer case for added torque multiplication, an electronic disconnecting sway bar, and 32-inch tall BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain tires. The Recon is the best of the Rubicons, with a heavy-duty Dana 44 front axle and a ventilated hood that is beneficial in the harsh desert environment of the Rebelle Rally.

While the intention is to show respect for teams who choose completely stock vehicles, the manufacturer entries were exceptionally capable. “Performance shock absorbers allow teams to travel easier over rough terrain, and prevent fatigue,” Rebelle founder Emily Miller noted. “And locking differentials ensure that both tires have power applied in loose terrain such as sand and silt, reducing the impact on the terrain and increasing traction”. These features are a solid advantage in the Rebelle Rally, and it is impressive to see manufacturers offering these components as standard equipment and using the Rebelle as a platform to showcase their vehicles.

Bone Stock Results

4×4 Class

Rank      Team#   Driver / Co-Driver                                        Vehicle                               

2                129            Nena Barlow / Chris Mayne                              2017 RAM Power Wagon
3                140            Emme Hall / Rebecca Donaghe                       2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2
6                123            Florence Pham / Karen Rayrolles                    2017 Nissan Navara
11               106            Sedona Blinson / Leah Heffelfinger                2015 Nissan Frontier PRO4X
16              131             Helene Becour / Armelle Medard Lang          2017 Ford Raptor
18              116             Deborah Najm / Amy Martinez                        2012 Land Rover LR4
25              111              Heather Lewis / Jenn Zipp Richmond           2017 Jeep Wrangler
27              157             Nicole Honstead / Lyn Woodward                  2017 Jeep Wrangler
30             150             Susan McPartland / Viola Nungary                 1995 Ford Bronco

Crossover Class

Rank      Team #   Driver / Co-Driver                                         Vehicle                     

1            203        Jaimy Grigsby / Lori Arterburn                    2017 Jaguar F-Pace
2            204        Meli Barrett / Sabrina Howells                    2017 Honda Ridgeline

Manufacturers Step Up to the 2017 Bone Stock Challenge2018-04-09T19:55:44-07:00