The Teams … and the Vehicles… We’re Watching Compete In the 2022 Rebelle Rally Off Road Competition

A Girls Guide To Cars | The Teams … And The Vehicles… We’re Watching Compete In The 2022 Rebelle Rally Off Road Competition - Rebelle Rally Featured Image

Can we hope they all win?

They say that just to compete in the Rebelle Rally is to win. An 8 day, 1,500 mile off road rally with no paved roads, no phones, no GPS, and all the comforts of rustic camping mean that competing teams have two things to rely on: their own wits and those of their teammates. Every fall, hundreds of women (and some men as support) descend on the Nevada desert, duffels filled with essential gear, 4x4s prepped for extreme conditions, and they begin this all-female off road rally that ends in Southern California. 

Since the rally started in 2016 it’s gained quite a reputation as the place to compete and earn your off road credentials. Led by dynamo Emily Miller, women learn to off road at Rebelle U or bring their own worldly experience. Either way, they compete with paper maps and old-school navigation tools. 

Realizing the opportunity that Rebelle Rally has to showcase the ability of its off-road capable vehicles, auto manufacturers have gotten into the game too. Not only do Toyota, Jeep, Ford, Honda, Hyundai and Kia field teams, but Toyota has come on board as an official sponsor, hosting the daily live stream with Rebelle Rally news and updates. 

In looking through the field of competitors there are some familiar names and faces, including our own Team Brute Squad, Kristin Shaw and Jill Ciminillo, who are commanding a Hyundai Santa Cruz. 

One name that is missing from this year’s field (well, sort of) is Emme Hall. Emme and her off-road partner Rebecca Donaghe have won the rally several times, each time taking on a new challenge, such as driving the first electric truck. This year she’s not in the race, but will be hosting the livestream broadcast; you can follow along on YouTube, Facebook and on the Rebelle Rally site.

So who are we rooting for? Everyone, of course. But here are some of the teams that stand out. 


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Team Brute Squad

Auto writers Kristin Shaw and Jill Ciminillo got to completely dive into the Rebelle in a new way this year: as competitors. Both have covered the rally from the sidelines in the past, but in partnership with Hyundai they are competing in the Santa Cruz pickup. Both attended Rebelle U to learn what they will need to know to compete and both have shared pre-rally stories with us. We’re crossing our fingers— and toes and hands and feet— for a podium finish! 

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Team Wild Grace 

We’ve been rooting for Lyn Woodward and Sedona Blinson for years. Lyn is an automotive writer and video creator at Kelley Blue Book; Sedona is a social media manager and both are experienced Rebellers. Sedona has competed in every Rebelle Rally and this is Lyn’s 5th. The two are such good partners that they competed in Saudi Arabia’s Rally Jameel, the Kingdom’s first all female off road rally.  Sponsored by Nissan, Team Wild Grace will be competing in a Pathfinder Rock Creek edition. 

Team Forward Momentum

Team Forward Momentum. Photo: Rebelle Rally

Forward Momentum

Toyota has long been the brand of off-road muscle and reliability, anchored in its TRD brand. So it’s a natural that Toyota jumped in with both feet— sponsoring not just the rally, but two teams, too. Competing in a 2022 Toyota Tundra, Toyota employees Kara Yde and Crystal Mink met through a women’s leadership group. Kara, who works in product development, and Crystal, who is an engineer, are both new to Rebelle,


Team Wayfinders

Team Wayfinders. Photo: Rebelle Rally

Toyota Way-Finders

Toyota employees Samantha Barber and Becky Brophy are second-timers this year, having competed in the 2021 rally. Sam is a manager and Becky is an engineer, and together they hope to both achieve a podium finish and bring home more knowledge and insight to the trucks and SUVs that Toyota builds. 


Will the Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro give Caroline Koenig and Libby Perego an advantage on the rally? Its fully retooled mechanics and off-road capability give these full time engineers from Toyota’s Kentucky assembly plant an edge. However, both are new to Rebelle, though not to motorsports and competition. As Caroline and Libby tell it, they both heard about the Rally from colleagues and and were encouraged to compete by co-workers, so they dove in. Just in time to compete in Toyota’s most exciting new SUV. 


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The Co-Pilots

We LOVE that Honda has such faith in its family-staple SUV, the Honda Pilot, that the company jumped into the Rebelle Rally with gusto. The company enlisted top talent to compete — this is the ultimate proving ground for their vehicles, after all. So, Liz Long is back for her third Rebelle and Hillary Tate is here for her first. The two Honda employees — Liz is an engineer and Hillary is a designer— bring their passion to the rally in a Honda Pilot Trailsport, a newly outfitted Pilot designed for adventure.


Team Limestone Legends

Team Limestone Legends. Photo: Rebelle Rally

Limestone Legends

The factory team from Rivian, this is the electric truck maker’s third Rebelle Rally but the first for Lillian Macaruso and Alex Anderson. Both Lillian and Alex are engineers, and while Lillian is an experienced off roader, Alex is less so, but still very much an adventurer. And it will be an adventure, no doubt. In addition to navigating and driving, the two will also have to manage the R1T’s range and charging, something that other teams don’t have to think about. And with a nearly silent truck, they’ll also be able to sneak up on check points without the roar of the engine giving them away.

Team Yellow Yetis

Team Yellow Yetis. Photo: Rebelle Rally

Yellow Yetis

Rivian isn’t satisfied to have one team in the rally; they needed two! Nicole Johnson and Rosanna Nuch of Yellow Yetis are rallying in a yellow Rivian R1S SUV. Nicole, who runs the human-machine interface department (everything touch screen) at Rivian and Rosanna, who is is a service technician, served as mechanics for the 2021 Rebelle, and now have the privilege of driving the rally. 


Team Plot Twist

Team Plot Twist. Photo: Rebelle Rally

Team Plot Twist

An appropriate name simply for the Kia Sportage that they’ll be driving, Tana White and Verena Mei are both seasoned Rebellers, having competed in four prior rallies and winning a number of honors. Wanting to compete in 2021, they were matched for the race and return this year as teammates sponsored by Kia. They’ll be commanding a 2023 Sportage X-Pro, which was redesigned and reinforced with all the off-road necessities, from skid plates to a fortified suspension. Kia is not the top name you might think of when it comes to off roading — a perception that the company would like to reverse— and this year’s Rebelle may just do that, in a true plot twist.


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Team G.O.A.T.

As in, Goes over any type of terrain, the mantra and mission of the Ford Bronco. Shelby Hall, who is competing in her fourth Rebelle, is an accomplished off roader and ambassador for Ford, driving in and competing in the Bronco in competitions around the globe. For Penny Dale, this is the fifth Rebelle for this accomplished off-road and overlander. The two first competed in Rebelle together in 2020 where they placed 4th in the Ford Bronco.


Maybe the most awarded team on the Rally, Nena Barlow, a vaunted off road expert Teralin Petereit, a nurse, teamed up for the first time last year. This year, they compete as a Jeep factory team in a 2022 Rubicon 4xe plug in hybrid, which we are curious to know, will it be plugged in each day and will the electric powertrain help with their performance? For Nena and Teralin, Rebelle Rally is a part of life; Teralin has competed and won or placed every year; Nena won or placed three of the five years she competed. They are the team to beat.

Team Nor’Wester

While there are a lot of Jeeps entered into the Rebelle Rally — it’s the top 4×4 choice for competitors— there is only one factory team sponsored by Jeep, and its led by Mercedes Lilienthal and Emily Winslow. Also known as Team Jeep, these ladies bring unique experience to the rally. Mercedes rallies with her husband in various competitions around the world, including the Alcan 5000 which takes them to the Arctic Circle. And she’s both covered Rebelle as a journalist and competed in the rally. For Emily, this is the third rally and hopefully will add to her pile of awards — four so far from past rallies. Mercedes and Emily will be commanding a Wrangler Rubicon 4xe, Jeeps most powerful off roader and one of two plug-in hybrid vehicles in the competition; we’ll be interested to know if it gets plugged in each day and if the electric performance helps with the competition.


Team Hózhó Vibrations

Team Hózhó Vibrations. Photo: Rebelle Rally

Hózhó Vibrations

Racquel Black and Kaitlyn Mulkey are new to each other having just met during final preparations for the rally, but neither are new to off roading. Racquel, a member of the Navajo Nation, competed in the 2021 rally, and Kaitlyn runs tribal relations for the Jeep brand. The opportunity to compete came up and both jumped in, competing in a Jeep Rubicon 4xe. And the team name? Hózhó is Navajo for balance and beauty.


Hoehn Adventures

Hoehn Adventures. Photo: Rebelle Rally

Hoehn Adventures

We would not be here without Karen Hoehn and Dana Saxten. They were instrumental in getting the Rebelle Rally off the ground with their steadfast support and tenacity in the rally’s early days: they signed up as competitors and also, recruited other teams to compete. Karen’s family auto business came in with sponsorships and her daughters came in as competitors. Karen and Dana have competed in every Rebelle and they have no intention of stopping now. We’ll watch to see if their 2013 Land Rover LR4 is as tough as they are.

Isn’t Just Finishing the Rally a Win?

Despite the often grueling conditions and tension that a rally can create, at the end of each day competitors land at a basecamp where they ready for the next day, review upcoming navigation and unwind at the group dining hall served by a food truck. There’s a glamping vibe that is underscored by the world-class capability of these competitors, and it leaves everyone with a true sense of accomplishment, reward and camaraderie. 

Then, the next day, everyone gets up before sunrise and heads out to better the prior day’s performance. They win points for helping each other, for being smart navigators, for getting closest to the rally targets. And for being a great team; teamwork is the most important tool in the toolkit.

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Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss