Two fifty year old women, a badass 2006 Red LJ Rubicon, a passion for off-road, and an ode to Saturday Night Live will introduce today’s Team Tuesday. Bringing a century’s worth of life experience to the Rebelle, plus eight Rebelles on their resumé, please welcome Melissa Fischer and Amy Hopkins Team 50/50 # 123. In the words of Sally O’Malley from SNL – “They’re 50! 50 years old!” Welcome back Melissa and Amy!
Melissa: I was born in Noblesville, Indiana and spent much of my life there until moving to Draper, Utah in 2005. I’ve moved around a bit but am now splitting my time between Moab, UT and Fruita, CO which give me ample time to practice both my driving and navigating.
Amy: I was born in Tucson, Arizona but moved to Colorado as a baby, where I grew up. I moved to Seattle, Washington in 1995 and it was in Washington state that I first discovered a passion for trucks and wilderness. About a year ago I moved 100 miles east of Seattle where I live in a small mountain community near Ellensburg, WA.
Melissa: I am an operating room nurse by trade and work for a global company called IQVIA where I lead a team of clinical specialists that support medical devices used in surgery. Nine of us cover the U.S. and we provide sales support and clinical education to nurses and surgeons.
Amy: I am the VP of Operations for a wholesale trading company. I manage our company’s marketing, logistics and technology.
What made you compete in the Rebelle Rally this year?
Melissa: It’s year 5 and I’m an original 100% Rebelle so I felt that this year would be an important milestone for this event and one I couldn’t miss. Also, I just missed winning last year, grabbing 2nd place on the final day. I certainly respect this field of competitive ladies but I want to try for the podium again.
Amy: I competed in the first three years and loved it. Year four I decided to join the Rebelle staff and gained a whole new perspective on the event. Doing that made me miss competing a whole lot, so as soon as it was over, I set my sights to finding a great partner to compete with this year.
How did you and your teammate meet?
Melissa: I’ve known Amy from past Rebelles and enjoyed her friendly, helpful manner during competition. She was looking for a partner and so was I. We had a couple of phone calls and decided that we’d make good partners.
Amy: Each year I’ve always been so happy to see Melissa again, figured if I enjoyed her fun and easygoing personality we would surely be able to occupy a vehicle together for 10 days!
Tell us about your competition vehicle:
Melissa: This year, we will be competing in a 2006 Red LJ Rubicon. I have heard the LJ described as the unicorn of Jeeps because there weren’t that many to begin with and the longer wheelbase compared to the TJ made it a very desirable off-road vehicle. I competed the first two Rebelles with Cora on Team 104 in an LJ and it served us well in both the rocks and the sand. Special thanks to Brian Clark for sponsoring us this vehicle.
Amy: We’ve named our vehicle “Sally O’Malley”, a tribute to the Saturday Night Live character who loudly celebrates the fact that SHE’S FIFTY!!!
Why did you choose it to compete in?
Melissa: I have a special place in my heart for the TJ models of Jeeps (1997-2006) and have owned 3 during my life. They have all been manual (I like to call it womanal transmission when I’m driving) and all been the 4.0 inline 6 engine which has been a great engine over the years, very reliable. After competing 2 years in an LJ and 2 years in a JK, I felt continuing with a Jeep would be one less thing to worry about. Both my partner and I have had ample seat time in this rig and knowing your vehicle well allows time to focus more on the competition instead of trying to learn how a new model works in different terrains.
Amy: My first overlanding vehicle was a 2001 womanal TJ named Barbie. I actually cried the day I sold that Jeep….
Any other fun facts you’d like to add in?
Our team name is Team 50/50 and we came up with that name because Amy and I both are 50 years old. We are bringing a century’s worth of life experience to this event and I’m so looking forward to seeing how we do as past Rebelles in a new team. Team 50/50 is also our mindset and work ethic, that we will each contribute and listen to each other.