Marbella Spata’s Ladies Offroad Challenge Experience
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Marbella Spata’s Ladies Offroad Challenge Experience

Author: Marbella Spata

What is Winning in the Ladies Offroad Challenge Top 10 group?
Well, it has a lot of different meanings to everyone who was involved on this weekend and it all depends on who you talk to.  My personal winning experience with the Ladies Offroad Challenge Top 10 Training Weekend was AWESOME! I learned so much about myself.  Some challenges were easy for me and others were more difficult. All in all, I learned a lot, made long lasting friendships with all of the ladies, and made great memories this weekend, which will never be forgotten!

Before I get into our challenges, I want to thank Charlene's mom for being our mom, cook and great listener; Lori for her camera and taking great shots of us in action and her awesome personality; Brian O'Day for his house and for agreeing to all our shenanigans we had on our live videos; Matt Hinitt for being a great cook on our final dinner, his great help on our garage night (recovery training) and answering personal questions about Charlene, haha. To all of the people involved with our challenges, thank you for your information, tours, and dealing with 12 ladies.  To Charlene Bower, for being a voice for Ladies all over the USA for offroading. You are an inspiration to all women.  Thank you for creating Ladies Offroad Network and Ladies Offroad Challenge, with these companies you have connected us with local ladies as well as ladies in other states, who all love the same thing - offroading.

Day 1
We all arrived Thursday via plane or car by 1:00 PM at the latest, which only gave us time to get to our new home for the weekend. Then, we had a meeting with Charlene, changed clothes, and got to our first surprise destination that Charlene had planned for us. We used the van ride to get to know each other better. While we were learning names and places we called home, Charlene handed us two packages of Febreze air freshners.  Why, you ask, she does this? Because the first Top 10 group from 2016 warned us about the stinky van smell (Charlene totally agreed that it smelled bad) so for her sanity and the rest of us, we listened. FYI, we all packed our deodorant with our day bag with us, it was only 103 degrees everyday. I personally wasn't complaining, because I love HOT weather, I was in heaven. 

Our first challenge was difficult for me as we had to do our first live Facebook video, which meant open up to others and leave my comfort zone of being quiet.  We had to introduce ourselves and talk a little bit about our group.  For those that know me, they will find this difficult to believe because I am a quiet person when I am with people I don't know.  Once I get comfortable with you, watch out then you can't shut me up, haha.

We finally made it to our first surprise destination, CREATE at the Arizona Science Center.  Before we went into the museum, Lori took pictures of us at different locations around the area. Once inside the museum, Charlene challenged us to moving a small golf sized whiffle ball 6" inches without the ball touching the table. Challenged accomplished by using Lego parts, cardboard, string, tape, popsicle stick and a motorized part to help pull our ball up our self made rock wall. The ladies I worked with were Jenny from NY and Kristin from San Diego, we rocked it and worked very well as a group. 

Day 2
We were up by 5:45 AM. to be out the door by 7:00 AM for a full day of Challenges, Charlene style.... no answers to our questions until we arrived to our surprise destination. Our Challenge was to interview the racing shops we visited. As for me, that meant to open up and ask interesting questions live on Facebook. Guess what? I accomplished that challenge. It was hard for me as I had to step out of my box. It wasn't perfect, but that's ok. I am taking baby steps on this challenge. The shops we visited were Jagged X, Geiser Brothers, UTV Inc., and SDHQ. All four shops were different and all of the men,who worked there, were very knowledgeable about their shops and patient with our questions.

Last Challenge of the night was Recovery Training. Awesome training on winching correctly from how the winch works, hand signals and using a pulley around a tree when you need to do a 3-way recovery.  Next, we learned how to plug an inner wall of a tire, changing a tire and taking beadlocks off.

Did you know that a HI-Lift has more uses then just jacking up your rig? A HI-Lift is a must purchase for your rig, you can lift your rig with it, when used correctly you can actually do squats with it, haha.  Check out our live video of the HI-Lift training and you will then see what I am talking about with the squats. Another use for the HI-Lift is to take beadlocks off the tire when you need to change your tire out from the wheel. This training was very informative. I didn't know I was using my HI-Lift wrong but now, I am very comfortable using it and can help others.

And more photos - Lori is everywhere. You better be ready to smile!

Day 3
Wheeling in Sedona, AZ! Need I say more? We met Nena Barlow, who owns Barlow Adventures. She rents out Rubicon Jeeps to travelers that want to check out the red dirt trails in Sedona. On the trails, we did another live Facebook video.  Do you see the pattern now? Live videos on Facebook after every challenge. I was getting more comfortable with the live videos as the challenges went on. All the girls did well on the trails. Some had never rock crawled before, it was fun being a co-driver for those girls. I used my rock crawling experience to help co-drive them on what lines to take and letting them know when to expect the jeep to drop or wheel base would be dropping off of the rock.

I got to chat with Charlene in the Jeep while she showed the other ladies how to bump.  Bumping is exactly how it sounds. Bump against a rock to jump up it or basically help you get your front tire or tires up on the rock to start crawling it. Loved the trail ride challenge challenge, who wouldn't. Sedona is beautiful. We, as a group, decided to enjoy the beauty on the trails longer, by denying Charlene on taking us out to a nice dinner. The outcome of staying on the trails longer, going through a drive-thru and chowing down on our food in about ten minutes for the last surprise challenge of the day. Check out our live video of the Drive-thru - very funny and probably the first for that restaurant. Always good to be the first to try it out.

Shooter’s World here we come. This challenge was fun, Not my first time shooting a gun. Saw lots of girls do very well, and I was very impressed with them.

Day 4
Had to be up by 4:45 AM to be in the van by 6:00 AM. The surprise challenge of the day was to kayak 14 miles down the Salt River. Charlene never told us it was 14 miles until after we finished. Wow, what a great challenge for me. I learned that my upper body strength is more than I thought and that my memory and sense of direction is one of my strong points, which helped lead the group to the finish line. 

This was certainly a difficult group challenge for us. We had to learn how to stick together, challenge each other, work together in guiding through the shallow water areas, and be positive for everyone. After our second stop, it was an eye opener to all about working as a team and you know what, we did pull it all together and finished with smiles. We had a quick lunch after our live kayaking video. We piled into the van ready for a nap to hear Charlene say we have a final challenge. Our minds were trying to focus and think of what could be our final challenge. All I came up with was, "Bring it on, I am ready!"  

The final challenge was a surprise party for us Top 10 ladies. Charlene surprised us with special guests, including some of last year's Top 10 finalists. Not all of the ladies could attend, but it was great getting to know those who did and hear their stories from last year.

To top off our last night of the challenge weekend, we did our last live video on Facebook: the best mannequin video on social media. We all came up with something fun about our 4-day weekend. A MUST SEE VIDEO

My suggestion to all ladies enjoy life with all of it's ups and downs. Life is too short to focus on the negatives, focus on the positives in your life, and try everything at least once. To all Offroad Ladies, You Rock! Literally. If you haven't joined Ladies Offroad Network, do so today at If you haven't competed in the Ladies Offroad Challenge, do so as soon as Charlene posts one. To be in the TOP 10 is the WIN! We all WIN!  

P.S. The back seat in the van is best. Shenanigans happened when Kristin and I sat back there . . . just saying.

Click here to read more about Marbella.

Photo Credit:  Lori Palmer, The Adventure Portal

See all the action from the training weekend:
Day 1 - Welcome to the Van:
Day 1 - AZ Science Center:
Day 1 - Photos:
Day 2 - Jagged X Shop Tour:
Day 2 - Geiser Bros Shop Tour:
Day 2 - UTV Inc Tour:
Day 2 - SDHQ Shop Tour:
Day 2 - Recovery Training:
Day 2 - Photos:
Day 3 - Wheeling in Sedona:
Day 3 - Drive-thru:
Day 3 - Shooter's World:
Day 3 - Photos:
Day 4 - Kayaking:
Day 4 - Pool Party 1:
Day 4 - Pool Party 2:
Day 4 - Pool Party 3:
Day 4 - Mannequin Challenge:
Wrap-Up -

Author: Marbella Spata