The Rebelle Rally is in a class all on its own as a driving and navigation challenge, so it shouldn’t be surprising that the companies they choose to partner with are just as unique as the event. Case in point: TOTAL CHAOS Fabrication (TC). Single-handedly responsible for the “midtravel” suspension segment with their introduction of the tubular Upper Control Arm (UCA) in 2002, these arms use race-quality components to increase wheel travel without the need for custom fabrication. And with TC’s commitment to quality, craftsmanship, customer service, and constant innovation, they have been named the Official Suspension Partner of the 2018 Rebelle Rally.
“We became involved with the Rebelle because this event is really different than other events. We enjoy being different,” TC co-founder Nicole Pitell-Vaughan explained. “I feel the Rebelle promotes self-confidence and encourages women to get out and explore. The competitors gain a tremendous amount of personal confidence, and their family and friends grow with the women throughout their journey. What I find unique is that it is not gender specific in regards to the Rebelle’s fan base.”
TOTAL CHAOS products have been used in events from the Baja 1000 to the Dakar Rally, and also extensively at the Rebelle Rally. Rebelle Event Director, Emily Miller, drove a TC-equipped Lexus GX470 during the 2017 edition, in addition to using the Lexus to set much of the course. The combination of the powerful V8 engine with TC suspension and King Shocks made it the perfect rally vehicle for the winding trails and big dunes. A whole contingent of TC staff was also at the Rebelle the last two years transporting media, sweeping the course, and showcasing the performance and durability of their products first hand. TOTAL CHAOS employee Rori Lewis competed in the Rebelle in 2017. Teamed with Tiffany Walker, the newcomers finished a very impressive 7th place in Tiffany’s TC-equipped FJ Cruiser.
By replacing the control arm ball joint with a high angle, race-quality uniball, TOTAL CHAOS UCA’s provide more suspension travel when installed with high performance shock absorbers. The tubular chromoly UCA’s also correct caster when lift is added – aiding in alignment. TOTAL CHAOS UCA’s are a perfect match for a set of oversized tires. This combination can transform a vehicle’s suspension, making it capable of withstanding the rigors of off-road driving with confidence and comfort day in and day out.
TOTAL CHAOS’s product line includes tubular upper control arms for most popular trucks and SUVs with independent front suspension, including Toyota, Nissan, Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge. Toyota owners looking for even more performance can benefit from TC’s long travel kits that are capable of maximizing the front wheel travel of your vehicle.
During the Rebelle, competitors drive street legal vehicles in one of two classes – 4×4 or Crossover. Within the 4×4 class, the designation of Bone Stock means a vehicle has not been modified. While Bone Stock is definitely a way to give credit to those who choose OEM, those who drive modified vehicles benefit most from upgraded, aftermarket suspension and quality off-road tires. “In any endurance off-road adventure or competition, performance, durability and reliability are critical. We can only stand behind the best products, which is why TOTAL CHAOS Fabrication wears the Official Partner badge of the rally. Plus, we drive what we promote and have had long-term success with TOTAL CHAOS parts and kits,” noted Miller.
“We don’t like to make compromises in product quality around here,” Pitell-Vaughan confesses. “We make all of our products in house right here in Southern California from the best materials available.” TC has a reputation for customer service that is just as exacting as their products; run by enthusiasts who walk the walk.
Gotta love it when things just fall into place. Since our inaugural event last October, we’ve seen countless teams come together for the Rebelle, and it’s something we love to watch unfold. Today is no exception. With nothing more than perfect timing, Rori Lewis and Tiffany Walker were connected through a mutual contact just for the Rebelle, and from there a team was born. Please welcome Team Roads Less Traveled (RLT) on today’s Team Tuesday!
Rori Lewis was raised in Hesperia, CA (“good old High Desert and tumbleweeds!”) where she currently lives today with her husband and dog. Having been in the off-road world with dirt bikes and trucks for a long time, Rori’s position working as Administrative Assistant at TOTAL CHAOS fits in perfectly with her lifestyle in the dirt! And when she’s not out having fun out in the great outdoors, she has an artistic side – loving to paint, draw, and style hair (Rori happens to also be a licensed cosmetologist!)
Looking for a new and next level challenge, Rori has known for awhile an upcoming big adventure was calling….and the Rebelle Rally answered. She’s always been good at physical sports and this is the opposite end of the spectrum for her – which is exactly what she wants. With a life motto of “Live life for you. In the end it is you and only you who decides your happiness,” Rori’s Rebelle journey this October couldn’t have happened without a little help from her circle – as we all know, support can go a long way when taking on something you’ve never done.
“I have the most amazing husband and family. Nothing short of the best cheerleading/motivating/encouraging/supportive group of people I’ve ever known. And I can’t wait to find out what I’m actually capable of handling in different situations during the Rebelle, and meeting so many amazing women taking the same journey I am.”
Tiffany Walker is originally from Topeka, Kansas, and now lives in Colorado Springs, CO where she works for Compassion International in Colorado Springs – advocating for children in poverty around 25 countries. And when she’s not working to make a difference in the world, you’ll find her off-roading, hiking, reading and playing volleyball. Her idea of a perfect day? On a hike next to a stream in the mountains with her husband and dogs…or a great novel on a rainy day!
With travels over the globe under her belt (best trip ever – London + Paris with her sisters!), Tiffany is looking forward to some time spent in the American West during the Rebelle. Seeing the iconic landscapes and testing her skills and endurance along the way are incredibly appealing to Tiffany, who loves the opportunity to unplug during the rally, listen to her head and heart, and come out stronger and more focused on the other side.
“I want to challenge myself and write an exciting new chapter for my story. I believe the skill and perseverance the Rebelle requires will help me to reach a better understanding of who I am and who I want to become. I also want to show other women they can do anything they put their minds to. Don’t wait ‘until’…(time, money, energy or otherwise). Just Do It!”
With a name like TOTAL CHAOS, it has to be good. Nicole Pitell-Vaughan, co-founder of TOTAL CHAOS Fabrication, is someone who prides herself on quality products, hard-work, and that perfect, enviable balance of taking time to enjoy the view (from the driver’s seat). As manufacturer of the highest quality bolt-on suspension systems and accessories, 100% made in the U.S.A., TOTAL CHAOS is a household name in the industry with headquarters in Southern California – shipping worldwide. With a heavy and respected presence and role in the off-road and adventure vehicle world, we were thrilled to catch up with Nicole in between racing, work, and well-deserved off-pavement enjoyment, to discuss what’s been on our minds this whole time – how does she do it all.
We’ve got to know – does the company live up to the name?
That all depends on who you ask. It is totally organized under the roof in regards to our day to day operations. The entire team suffers from OCD. But when a few of us get together in the dirt it is game on – 100% TOTAL CHAOS!
What makes your management style and philosophy unique behind the scenes?
I am not really sure why people think our philosophy is unique. We work really hard and play hard. We kind of run it like renegades. It’s a super healthy work environment that is built around the people.
TOTAL CHAOS is the brain child of you and your husband, Matt – what was that defining moment like where you looked at your husband and said let’s go for it?
It was all his leap of faith and willingness to risk nothing. Because we really had nothing to lose! We were in our early 20’s. I was getting ready to graduate college with a business degree and was headed in a totally different direction. Matt always wanted to do his own thing. He was desert racing at the time. I just cleaned the toilets. I am serious, you do anything to see your boyfriend during the middle of the day in your 20’s right (laugh). We were never going to work together. Fast forward 20 years. It is really awesome to work with my husband and our best friends that share the same passion that we have for TC.
TOTAL CHAOS has witnessed exponential growth over the past few years. How have you maintained to not only stick to your roots, but stay true to yourself?
We just do our own thing. Team TC has no egos. The entire staff works really hard and is dedicated to quality, craftsmanship, and supporting the brand. It is easy to stay grounded when you are surrounded by a group of people like that. It helps that we love to talk smack to one another daily too. Just like a healthy family should.
There are a ton of off-road events out there – why did you become involved with the Rebelle?
Because this event is really different than the other events. We like to be different. I feel the Rebelle promotes self-confidence. And what I find unique is that it is not gender specific with how is spreads. The competitors gain a tremendous amount of personal confidence, and their family and friends grow with them throughout the journey. I watched it last year and I am stoked to watch it happen again this year. I think supporting a program like this is really rad. Seven long days in a vehicle, fatigue, unpredictable weather, and a brain game. This event is awesome! The route Emily and Jimmy and the staff plot has epic scenery. A lot of it was our stomping ground for product testing for so many years. Lots of great memories on a lot of these trails.
What’s it like riding shotgun in one of the TOTAL CHAOS trucks…with Nicole “CHAOS” Pitell at the wheel?
Generally its spur of the moment, flying by the seat of your pants, & preferably on a road less traveled. CHAOS crop circles are common. And if we are in Baja, we never deviate from our Team Locos Mocos roots, “WE FIX STUFF FOR FREE”. Help the stranded guy and sip on some Code Reds.
You’re packing for a trip down to Mexico with the Locos Mocos crew – three items you can’t leave home without?
SPOT tracker, Baja Almanac, Canon 7D, and of course a stocked Yeti cooler.
Lastly, any words of wisdom?
This has been my go to quote this summer. I saw in on a billboard while on the road, “As a student he was no Einstein.” CONFIDENCE! Pass it along. It kind of represents my head space right now. See you in the DIRT!