This past Easter Jeep Safari in Moab some friends and I decided to grab dinner after wheeling at Fiesta in town. Parking can be a bit difficult in the days leading up to EJS, and we were lucky enough to find a row of spots open in the Walker’s parking lot. My friend and I parked side by side long ways taking up about 6 spaces between the two of us and our trailers…
Just as I’m putting it in park I see this lady in my mirror getting out of her truck and walking straight towards us. I immediately prepared myself for getting yelled at for parking like jackasses. As she knocks on my window I am pleasantly surprised to see that she has a smile on her face! She proceeded to tell me that she was hosting an all girls meet-n-greet in town on the following Tuesday and that my friend Tara (the friend that had parked next to me) and I should come check it out.
Tara and I threw the idea of an all girls meet-n-greet around for the next day or two. We couldn’t decide if that was something we were “in to”. Looking back now I’m embarrassed about how ridiculous my mind set was on “girls only” type of events. Tuesday came around and I decided that I wanted to go down to the meet-n-greet to see what it was all about! Plus, I knew there would be snacks so even if it was weird I could at least eat! I grabbed Tara and a few other friends and we went down to find out who this lady was and what she was all excited about.
After eating most of Charlene’s (the crazy lady that knocked on my window) snack table, we got the chance to chat with her about who she was and what she was up to. She is this badass lady who is working with BFG, doing media for tons of events, and holds the title “Queen of the Backdoor Challenge”! I may or may not have done some internet stalking when I got back to the house too….
She announced the opportunity of racing with her and the co-driver challenge at the meet-n-greet. I thought it was really cool that she would give people like me the opportunity to be her co-driver! I decided that I would go ahead and apply and see what happened.
Honestly, I didn’t think I could make it past phase one of the social media challenge. I rarely post things on Facebook and am fairly new to Instagram. It’s hard for me to ask things of people and I was hesitant to start asking for likes and comments, but figured it would be worth it! Much to my surprise I had overwhelming amounts of support. All of my friends and family voted and shared my post and were extremely exited for me to be doing the challenge!
After seeing all the crazy awesome girls that had applied to be Charlene’s co-driver I was once again incredibly flattered and thrilled that I had made it to phase two of the challenge! I was going to Arizona to do who knows what but I was sure excited about it! I was sure it was going to be awesome. Although, I won’t say that it didn’t cross my mind that camping out with a group of ten women for three nights could be great, or it could get ugly! These girls could be aggressive and competitive, or even conniving and catty etc. However, I should have known better. Most of my closest friends have come from wheeling. Charlene couldn’t have picked a more positive happy group of people.
I showed up in Arizona on Thursday May 12th not knowing what I was in for! Literally. Charlene told us nothing! Her most used phrase of the week was something like, “we’re going to do the things that we’re going to do, so that we can do the other things that we need to do. It’s going to be awesome!”…followed by lots of laughter. She was quite entertained by us not knowing what we were in for, but so were we, so it was all good.
Our whole weekend was posted on social media, including daily live facebook videos. I couldn’t believe how many of my friends were following along! Everyone was so excited to see what we were up to. I got countless messages of encouragement and congratulations on the things we were doing and everything we were learning.
I wish I knew how to make it sound less cheesy, but that weekend in Arizona was a game changer for me! Something in my mind shifted while I was there. I can’t really pin point it to one moment or one person, but something changed in me. The idea of a “girls” community is now so awesome to me! As Emily Miller said, “there is so much strength in community”, and I’m so stoked to see that community starting to grow. I love that more girls are getting involved and wanting to get into off-roading. I love that people like Charlene are providing these opportunities for girls to continue moving forward in the sport.
Charlene, Nena, Emily, and Allison all opened my eyes to so many new things. They are all so passionate about what they do, and each of them specializes in a different niche. The phrase, “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right”, comes to mind. If you ever come across the opportunity to spend some time with any of them…jump on it!!!
I came home from Arizona with a drive to learn more; more about racing, recovery, driving, and most definitely the navigation! Not only did I come home with new friends, I have new role models. And did I mention a lot of awesome swag!? Most surprisingly to me, I came home as a more positive, happy person with a new mindset. I’m proud to have been included in such a pivotal weekend, and excited for what’s to come.