Two Navajo Nation women are breaking down barriers this week.
The women are preparing for a grueling off-road competition that puts their driving and navigational skills to the ultimate test.
Over eight days, 50 teams of women from across the nation will cover 1,400 miles through three states.
The teams made up of a driver and a navigator will hand calculated longitude and latitude coordinates to find checkpoints in hopes of coming out on top in the sixth year of the Rebelle Rally.
“I’m happy to represent Native women, I have to put on a brave face and be like, 'ya I’m not that nervous, I’m excited, I can do this,'” said driver Shandiina Peters.
Peters and her navigator Racquel Black are the first all-Native team to compete. Neither have professional training for the competition but certainly the bravery to go all in.
“They just told us to be prepared for anything, to be prepared to drive over rocks, sand, sand dunes,” said Black.
The all-women endurance challenge puts their vehicle and old school wits to the test. Modern GPS technology is against the rules and maps and a compass are their only tools.
“I don’t want to get us lost on a live webcast, people are going to be watching from all over the world,” said Black with a chuckle.
Green checkpoints have visual markers like flags, while blue checkpoints may or may not have markers. Black checkpoints are unmarked and are the most challenging to find.
Points are awarded based on how close teams get to the center of each geolocated spot.
“Depending on how close we get to the center point of each checkpoint, they allocate so many points depending on our accuracy,” said Black.
Neither is concerned with coming in first but rather putting Native women at the forefront. They are hoping to make their communities proud no matter the outcome.
“I think it’s really important that Indigenous women are involved with, especially sporting events that involve the land, and it’s been really exciting for Shandiina and I to experience this type of competition,” said Black.
The ladies begin their journey at the Hoover Dam as the action kicks off October 7 with live coverage on ESPN.