April 13th, 2023
Ever wondered if you could get into the car with a complete stranger and still have the time of your life? Well it just might happen on the Rebelle Rally, or at least it did for the team of Kendra Miller and Eliza Coleman who will be coming together in 2023 to compete for a fourth time. They may not have started out as friends but after they met for the first time on the starting line of the 2019 Rally, they never looked back.
Eliza Coleman is originally from Berlin, New York and now splits her time between Park City, Utah and Santa Rosa Valley, California. Eliza is a stuntwoman/stunt coordinator and happens to race stage rally in her 2WD 2010 Scion xD.
“Coming in as a rookie in 2019, I had no idea what to expect; therefore, I packed way too much!” said Eliza about her rookie year in the Rebelle Rally. “I never expected to be so comfortable while being so uncomfortable!”
She also quickly learned what it meant to be a teammate in the Rally with their long days and remote locations. “As a driver, I became very aware of how important it was for me to manage my energy and keep my navigator hydrated and fed so that she could mentally stay in the game during all of our 10-hour days. Getting good sleep is paramount.” Which leads to Eliza’s plea not just to rookies but all competitors of the Rebelle. “If you know you have an early start, then prepare the night before so that you can load out within the allotted amount of time. This way you aren’t disturbing others around you while you’re zipping zippers and packing before Emily’s infamous cow bell. It’s called time management!”
Kendra is from Hemet, CA and lives in Snoqualmie, Washington where she works in marketing. Kendra, an OG Rebelle, competed in the first Rally in 2016. She has also competed in almost every Rally since missing only one year. While this will be the fourth time competing with Eliza, that first phone call years ago was important to lay the groundwork for their successful partnership. “We had a meet and greet phone call where we discussed all the things that were important to us as competitors. What’s your rally goal? Do you want to drive or navigate? What are you like when you’re grumpy? Do you get hangry? What kind of snacks do you want to keep in the car? Do you snore? Do you promise to roll down the window if you fart in the vehicle?” Kendra reminisces about the first call with Eliza. “The call went from 15 minutes to three hours pretty quickly so we figured it was safe to commit.”
Now she has this to say about her four-time partner, “I’ve found if you survive one Rebelle together and still enjoy each other’s company, then you’ll always be friends.” And for those competitors who may be meeting a new partner for the first time in 2023. “Ask all the questions upfront, no matter how awkward or uncomfortable they may be in that initial meeting. They could totally ruin your Rally when you’re on Day 2, Hour 7, and something tough happens. You owe it to both of you to find out those red flags and deal breakers before you get to the start line.”
The team will pilot Eliza’s Bone Stock 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon nicknamed “Roxie.” Eliza is excited for not only the remote destinations that the rally offers but the transformative experience it can bring, “The scenery and the wild landscape that I get to experience only through the Rebelle is majestic and life-changing. Each day is not only a geographical and personal exploration, but we learn how to pace ourselves as a team, how to laugh in the face of our challenges and to share the workload. I believe the lasting value of this competition is not where you stand among the other competitors but where you stand with yourself, your teammate and your vehicle. Kendra had to learn to trust me back in 2019 and we now have a unique bond that is the product of our shared endeavor and will stay with us forever.”
As for words of wisdom to pass on to the 2023 Rookie Class, Kendra had the following to say, “You don’t need all that stuff, really, you don’t need it. Always be hydrating and drink all the water. Bring a journal and write in it every night.”
Most importantly from Kendra were her final thoughts, “Be kind. To yourself, to your teammate, to the staff, and to your fellow competitors.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.