Author: Deborah Najm
Thank you, Charlene, for asking me to write for your influential Ladies Offroad Network. As I begin with the posed question, “What is the difference in prepping for this year’s Rebelle Rally versus last year’s prepping?” My brain feels like exploding seeing as this year’s Rebelle Rally will be in a few short days! 2017 has proven to be the fastest year of my life. That being said, this year is definitely different.
For the majority of 2016, our team spent a lot of time building ourselves as a brand. Omada Adventure became active on social media as the Land Rover team to watch in the first Rebelle Rally. Both Julia Pickslay and I reached out to existing friends, family and businesses to join us and support our team in terms of sponsorship, social media outreach, and charitable donations. Our extensive work paid off, and we were able to align ourselves with: Jaguar Land Rover of Anaheim Hills (part of the Rusnak Auto Group, the leading chain of luxury auto dealers in Southern California) and Alloy + Grit a new North American Land Rover magazine came on early for support. While Alloy + Grit was gearing up for the launch of their first issue we were building and prepping for our first automotive rally. Editor Bryan Joslin assisted with our deck presentation. When Mr. Joslin informed us that we would be the cover of the second issue we were beyond excited. We also found mentors in Bond Gilmer, owner of Rebel Offroad and in Tim Sanchez, of Xplore Baja. Both of these off road experts coached from different perspectives and shared their own experiences and tremendous insight to the off road industry, the world of competition and sponsorship. We drew on my husband, Nizar Najm’s extensive experience with automotive commercial campaigns and delivered exceptional photography of our Land Rover LR4 to our social media followers.
By the end of last year’s first ever Rebelle Rally I had numerous takeaways. However the following two were ones that rose to the top as areas to focus on. One, I had no idea how hard it would be to compete for 7 days. A 15-18 hour work day is nothing new to me. COMPETING and having every second of your PERFORMANCE broadcasted to your family, friends and sponsors for that long is much different. Two, I had greatly underappreciated that we would need every minute of the 10-12 hour day we were given to complete all of the checkpoints. Knowing how and when to move on is a big part of Rebelle Rally strategy and something we will take into 2017’s rally.
This year has been a dramatically different prep year. With our support team in place, and the addition of Smarty Social Media and California Bliss as sponsors, we had more time to explore ourselves as competitors. My experience in the first Rebelle Rally allows us visualize the future. My teammate, Amy Martinez is new to the Rebelle, and we have spent a lot time training and sharing my real experiences. I have been able to share with her what we did well and what we need to work on. What proved to be difficult and where we found success. We also understand that there were be some inevitable curveballs! Undeniably I have had to put confidence in-check.
Living in close proximity to Amy has given us the advantage of more time behind the wheel and in the truck together. We have set aside Fridays as Rebelle Training days. We have spent a lot of time with map training and that has improved our driving abilities. Working closely together on our elementary school’s PTA, Amy serving as President and me serving as Vice President has given us great insight to each other’s personalities and insight as to how the 7 days together will be. As owner of Off the Grid Rentals, our adventures have taken us to many remote places where I have honed my off road driving skills and tested my recovery techniques!
Our 2012 Land Rover LR4 is completely built out with a new set of Falken WildPeak AT tires, Rhino Rack backbone system, Goose Gear and a new set of Tred Pro recovery boards. Outer Limit Supply has provided us with their dust proof, crush proof and waterproof first aid kit so we will be prepared in case of an emergency. With more hours and miles of off road experience some fears of my driving abilities have been reduced.
One thing that has remained the same between last year and this is that we have held true to Omada Adventure’s tenant, that adventure doesn’t come easily for everyone and there is need to recognize and support others less fortunate than ourselves. This year we have partnered with Global G.L.O.W. a charity that is dedicated to amplifying girls’ voices on a global stage. Amy has served as a leader within this charity teaching nutrition and fitness to young girls at the G.L.O.W. house which serves our neighboring city at risk girls in Santa Ana. We hope to help the HerStory Campaign for Global G.L.O.W.
These last few days will be spent packing, double checking lists, and finding a kick ass outfit for the Gala! Thank you for listening, and if you are a fellow 2017 Rebelle, we look forward to seeing you soon!
Author: Deborah Najm