It is no surprise that the story of Selena “Mason” Converse” and Erin Mason of Mitsubishi Team 207 RTJ at the 2021 Rebelle Rally strikes a chord. It might be the reminder that we as humans are resilient and can do very hard things and still thrive. Or, maybe it’s the affirmation of the strength and fragility built into the human condition, but then again, it might be the fact that with the right support, we can do and overcome great things.
That being said, there are dozens of reasons why someone would choose to embark on a grueling, multi-day off-road course, but Team 207’s reason is to bring awareness to the work of Record the Journey, PTSD and maybe prove to the rest of us that we can do good things too, despite the challenges we face on a daily basis.
About Rebelle Rally
Traditionally geared to men, Rebelle Rally is unique in that it is a world-class navigational rally raid ran by women. Once excluded from competing in rally events, this event is a multi-day, female-led 2500km course through some of the harshest terrain in America. Drawing support and involvement from global automakers and other vested parties, this event serves as an excellent opportunity to shine a light on causes that touch the lives of women around the globe.
Partners in Awareness: Mitsubishi + Team RTJ
Team 207 Converse is the direct result of a three-year partnership between Mitsubishi Motor Company and Record the Journey, a Texas-based nonprofit dedicated to helping service members successfully navigate and acclimate to the transition to civilian life through a variety of programming including adventuring and photography. As result of this collaboration, Team 207 Converse was delivered directly into what has been described by past RTJ teams as a “mini-deployment.”
No Tech Support. No GPS. No Cell Phones. The navigational course stretches across the deserts of Nevada and California, and drivers must challenge themselves, the elements and the limits of the chosen vehicle to complete a path designed to break the inexperienced and empower the ready.
Team 207: Entering the Field and Making History
This year’s team is comprised of sisters-in-law, moms, friends, entrepreneurs and combat veterans Selena “Mason” Converse and Erin Mason. They would bring the first ever service dog Sammy to compete as they returned to desert settings and conditions that defined moments their military service in a lightly-modified 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander. The vehicle was dressed to pay homage to Mitsubishi’s world -famous Dakar Rally win with Jutta Kleinschmidt twenty years ago. When she drove a Pajero to victory and thus becoming the only woman ever to win the illustrious Dakar Rally.
Selena, a retired U.S. Air Force emergency medical services technician, and Erin, a retired U.S. Navy aviation structural mechanic, brought a new element of strength, courage and resilience to the event. And they note that they are grateful for the experience.
Mason Converse notes that “the Rebelle is a navigational rally – a test of skill, not speed – but for us, it was a test of so much more. On the first day, my mind and body reacted to walking into the basecamp tent as if I was walking back into a military hospital tent in Afghanistan. I was immediately hit with a flashback, massive anxiety and a wave of powerful emotions. I thought I was going to have to quit almost before we got started, but with Sammy on duty by my side, Erin’s hard work and constant support, not to mention the amazing community of our fellow Rebelles, what was traumatic and triggering also became therapeutic. It was a struggle, filled with sandstorms with 60-mph winds and a ton of tears, but we made it through and are stronger for it.”
“We are so thankful for this platform to educate people about PTSD and how crucial service dogs and other support can be for coping and recovery. We’re honored to represent Record the Journey and the important work they do for military veterans, and none of this would have been possible without Mitsubishi Motors providing a brand new, comfortable, capable and rock-solid Outlander to power us through this experience.”Team 207
“Before the 2021 Rebelle Rally even started, the crew of Team 207 were already winners,” said Mark Chaffin, Mitsubishi Motors Chief Operating Officer. “Mitsubishi Motors’ participation in the event is first and foremost about our partnership with Record the Journey and supporting those who honorably served in the U.S. military. In addition, this year, we are raising awareness of PTSD and the potentially life-saving work of trained service dogs. We were all proud to see Mason, Erin and Sammy cross the finish line in their 2022 Outlander.”
With Support to Make the Journey Possible
Alongside Mitsubishi Motors, Ally Financial, Inc., BFGoodrich Tires, Nextbase Dash Cams and Vision Wheel partnered with Team RTJ this year, and Skout’s Honor Pet Supply Co. provided special support to Sammy.
Where to Learn More
To learn more about the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander, visit here.
To learn more about Record the Journey, visit here