Author: Brittany Martin
I remember voting in the Ladies Co-Driver Challenge last year. I remember reading several of the ladies’ bios intently and wishing I could be involved in something so groundbreaking. An offroad contest for women?! How freaking cool!
Fast forward a year… there it was again! This time renamed the Ladies Offroad Challenge. I contemplated entering. Was I good enough to be a part of something like that? Would I make a complete fool of myself? I watched all of Charlene's live coverage on entering and learned about the events. In the end, 3 women would be given the chance to do one amazing event with Charlene. The 50th Anniversary of the Score Baja 1000, Achieve Tahoe's Rubicon Trail, and Fury Rode all sounded like something I would be interested in doing.
When I discussed the upcoming challenge with my husband, he was 100% on board. I remember hyping myself up. "This is a challenge. Just overcome your negative thoughts and go for it! Just fill out the application, Brittany. What's the worst that could happen anyway?" The application asked for 3 photos, including a headshot. Now, I don't typically prefer any pictures of myself. I am definitely my own worst critic. Selfies just aren't my thing. Challenge 2 accepted. I took a half day to gather up some pictures that I felt would be "acceptable." I sent it all in. It was done. There was no going back. I never really told anyone other than my husband that I was entering. I almost felt silly. There was no way I would get in, was there?
The next part of the challenge was all on social media. Finally, it was out there for everyone to see. All the contestants’ bios and photos were put up on the ladies off-road network. Charlene instructed us on how to ask for votes of confidence from our peers and the best ways to use social media to our advantage. I spent much of that week online - it may have been the cause of my tendinitis flare up. Ha! I read and reread every lady's bio. These were some amazing girls! As the votes of confidence started pouring in, I was floored. I couldn't believe the words of affirmation I received from so many people that believed in me. They all believed in me so much more than I believed in myself. I started feeling a little guilty. What if I let all these people down? As soon as the self-doubt came creeping in, I pushed it out. I was all in. I knew I could do it. This was my challenge. Those votes of confidence changed me.
The night Charlene announced the top 10 that were coming to Arizona for the training weekend, I was a nervous wreck. She called out name after name until I heard, "Brittany Martin!" What?! She called my name! I'm in! What in the world do I do now? After the live broadcast, we received an email explaining that we needed to complete the included questionnaire and schedule a conference call to discuss a very small amount of details so that we could pack. Charlene informed us we simply wouldn't know what was coming during our visit to Arizona. She told us to just let it go, to breathe and not stress. I'll admit my inner control freak freaked out for a moment. How could I be prepared when I didn't know what to prepare for? In a way, losing control kind of felt good. I was so used to holding the reigns all the time. Handing them over to Charlene was somehow okay with me. It was a relief and I trusted her.
After the top 10 announcement, my anxiety skyrocketed. I realized that I would be traveling across the U.S. in an airplane… alone. I think I was initially more nervous about the plane ride than I was about the weekend, but I packed and sucked it up. I wanted this chance even if it meant I might be strip-searched.
I arrived in Arizona, all in one piece, and immediately began my search for the other girls arriving within the hour. I was optimistic and ready to meet all the awesome ladies that also made the top 10. We had all spoken some beforehand and everyone had been easy to talk to. We all had a common interest and goal. I immediately "clicked" with several of the girls. That weekend we bonded over jalapeño jelly, “speg” sauce, Forrest Gump quotes, scorpion hunting, and of course, our love of off-roading.
The moment my feet entered our weekend home, I was running. Upon arrival, we had about 30 minutes to eat, say hello, make our "home," and put on our pretty clothes and face. Little did I know, this lack of time would become a common occurrence. This is also when the live videos started... Going live was 100% out of my comfort zone. I panicked while I was trying to figure out what to say and how to say it. We all stumbled through the first introduction video. Charlene was the saving grace that kept that video alive. She was a seasoned pro.
Our first evening at the Arizona Science Center was fun. We were tasked with using circuits to create a machine of sorts that would move a ping pong ball 6 inches. My team, The Kart Winches, mastered that task.
Day 2 was all about the 50th Score Baja 1000. My 2017 goal is to learn the mechanical side of off-roading and the shop tours were perfect for that. Those tours were what dreams are made of. We met some of the leaders in our industry. We talked about the importance of a sound suspension at Jagged X Racing. We learned about and touched some of the fastest, most impressive, Geiser Brothers trophy trucks. We saw enough custom parts to build an entire UTV at UTV Inc., and then a showroom full of any and every off-road ready item you might need at SDHQ. And guess what? We went live at EVERY stop. I stumbled through the first two because I worried that the live videos showed my lack of knowledge.
It wasn't until we were at UTV Inc. that I finally felt comfortable-ish with my live interviews. I was tasked with interviewing Johnny, UTV Inc.'s founder and owner. Johnny was hilarious to talk to in person but he did not want to go live. I totally sympathized with him. I did my best to keep him from disappearing before the interview and to prepare him for it. It was almost like when I was telling him that the live feeds were no big deal, I was actually convincing myself. Something changed within me after that interview. The live videos were becoming fun for me. People were enjoying our learning experience with us. They were learning, too.
The evening of day 2 completely catered to my goals. It was garage night! I learned so much that night. We pulled winch line, learned how to properly strap a tree, used 2 pulleys to create more winching power, learned the name and function of most recovery items, pulled apart beadlocks, put a set of BFGoodrich tires on a jeep called Craigslisticon, learned how to use a high-jack lift, and learned how to plug a tire. By the time we were done it was already the morning of day 3. I was tired and only running on about 4 hours of sleep, but I could have stayed out there all night.
We were up again at 5 am. Day 3 was wheeling day! Knowing how to wheel properly was key to both the Achieve Tahoe Rubicon Trail and Fury Rode. We drove out to gorgeous Sedona, AZ to Barlow Adventures. Yes, Nena Barlow was there to greet us! We took 4 of her jeeps out on the trails. I freaked out a little when it was my turn to drive in the jeep with Charlene. I didn't want to mess up in front of such an iconic lady driver. The best part of the day was the unanimous vote to forgo our fancy dinner so that we could continue wheeling. What an awesome group of ladies, right?
The evening of day 3 only got better. We headed over to Shooter's World for some range time. I like to shoot. I wish I had time to go shoot more often at home. I had the pleasure of teaming up with Angela that evening. It had been a decade since Angela was able to shoot. That night I learned that I love to teach. Although Angela knew the safety side of handling a gun, she was uncomfortable with shooting it. That evening we discussed how to chamber a bullet. She learned how to load and unload, and we discussed hand position and why it’s important. My biggest tip for her was to take her time while aiming. Seeing others succeed after you have helped them is a reward in itself and Angela totally destroyed her target that night.
Day 4, Sunday, was easily the day I learned the most about myself. We were surprised with a 14-mile kayak. I had never been kayaking before and I was incredibly nervous about it. As we kayaked the gorgeous Salt River, I took it all in. The views were incredible, but at the same time I was digging hard to kayak into a strong headwind. The last 2 miles were magical. It was by far the hardest part of the kayaking trip. I was tired from the lack of sleep and the crazy, amazing weekend. I started to feel like it would take me forever to finish. What if I couldn't finish? Charlene would be so disappointed in me. Something inside of me clicked. What in the world was I thinking? I could do this. I would finish this and finish stronger than I started. Pulling up to the finish line was such a symbol for me. I did it! I had made the top 10. I had completed the weekend. I conquered my fear of the live videos. I completed a 14-mile kayak. I wheeled with Charlene Bower. I made 10 life-long girlfriends. I had already won so much. The emotions came flooding in.
Smelly, tired, and proud, we pulled into our house that Sunday to a party! Girls from last year’s Challenge, girls from this year’s Challenge, girls I had only talked to briefly online were there for us. They came to celebrate us. Matt and Mom put together an amazing spread of food. It was the perfect end to a perfect weekend.
We don't know who technically won yet. I don't know who will be joining Charlene on one of the 3 great events. What I do know is that I learned so much about myself. I grew leaps and bounds as a person and that's a win in my book.
Click here to read more about Brittany.
Photo Credit: Lori Palmer, The Adventure Portal
See all the action from the training weekend:
Day 1 - Welcome to the Van: http://bit.ly/2te8RRE
Day 1 - AZ Science Center: http://bit.ly/2suLkPU
Day 1 - Photos: http://bit.ly/2rT25CV
Day 2 - Jagged X Shop Tour: http://bit.ly/2suvJ2L
Day 2 - Geiser Bros Shop Tour: http://bit.ly/2sgia6z
Day 2 - UTV Inc Tour: http://bit.ly/2suAKbF
Day 2 - SDHQ Shop Tour: http://bit.ly/2rj5cpi
Day 2 - Recovery Training: http://bit.ly/2rT9HW9
Day 2 - Photos: http://bit.ly/2suFRs5
Day 3 - Wheeling in Sedona: http://bit.ly/2sleFMO
Day 3 - Drive-thru: http://bit.ly/2sl0Yxr
Day 3 - Shooter's World: http://bit.ly/2rjvXcY
Day 3 - Photos: http://bit.ly/2rod83J
Day 4 - Kayaking: http://bit.ly/2ro4qmd
Day 4 - Pool Party 1: http://bit.ly/2sUN2at
Day 4 - Pool Party 2: http://bit.ly/2ro6KcD
Day 4 - Pool Party 3: http://bit.ly/2rnCtea
Day 4 - Mannequin Challenge: http://bit.ly/2slpXkb
Wrap-Up - http://bit.ly/2rcmSP6
Author: Brittany Martin