“Most of the men I know want to be able to compete in the Rebelle Rally,” said a competitor on Saturday morning after completing the 1,600-mile, all-women’s navigational rally across the Nevada and California desert. “Even my husband wants to do it,” she added.
As the competitors of the 2022 Rebelle Rally neared the event’s conclusion, they unwound, showered and let the tension in their shoulders fall away — finally.
Saturday morning of the last official day of the rally, kicked off with a handful of former Rebelles teaching rally staff and media members to plot checkpoints and navigate using the same tools that competitors use: a map, compass, and an assortment of specialized rulers.
Many were surprised by how difficult it is, especially after the organizers sent them out on the dunes to try and locate checkpoints they’d just plotted. Some Rebelles took part in the “Woo Challenge,” set up by Technical Director Chris Woo to test their driving skills.
The remaining bit of day allowed for games and aimless drives over the dunes; it’s perfect for reconnecting with family and friends after being off-grid the entire event.
Afternoon temperatures had climbed into the mid-80s, and in spite of severe thunderstorm warnings — and potential flash floods in the valleys nearby — the evening attraction, the gala in the desert, was still on. By the time the sun set, many guests had arrived, and a downpour threatened to shut the party out.
The rain only cooled things down, and the gala moved inside the shelter of the tent. In previous years, the gala had been held in San Diego, but COVID-19 protocols from the past three years have forced the rally’s organizers to move the gala out to stage finale — the desert.
While the winners of the Rebelle Rally were announced, their relatives and friends enjoyed a gourmet dinner and danced under the big top tent. Winners received both awards and rewards: checks from sponsors like Pirelli, Scrubblade and MaxTrax ranging from $5,000 to be used towards the cost of entry into next year’s rally, or up to a $5,000 donation to their charity of choice.
Team 129 took first place overall, making Nena Barlow and Teralin Petereit back-to-back winners at Rebelle. Team 188, with Laura Wanlass and Maria Guitar, came in second place. And Team 152 came in third, with Becky Brophy and Samantha Barber.
The Rookies of the Year award went to Lily Macaruso and Alex Anderson for being top finishers at the Rebelle Rally, and for placing fourth in the highly- competitive 4X4 class. The Rivian-backed team will have $5,000 donated (in their name) to their chosen charity. And the Team Spirit Award, which is voted on by Rebelle staff and competitors, went to Team 133 with Suzi McBride and Heidi Dillard. They won $5,000 towards their charity of choice, Girls Who Code.
As the gala wrapped and people danced under the tent, the washes at Glamis Dunes danced, too — beginning to run with rainwater. Emily Miller, founder of the Rebelle Rally, left the competitors with wise words as they returned to their lives outside the rally, “The world is more distracted these days, relationships are more separated. You have to make an effort to be present,” she said. “Take what you’ve learned from the Rebelle: put the phone down and look up. Enjoy every sunrise, and enjoy every sunset.”
The 2022 Rebelle Rally is done. Registration for the 2023 Rebelle Rally is now open.