My name is Tara Reitz and I was born and raised in Palmyra, Pennsylvania! I am the mother of four teenagers ranging from 13-18 years old. I have been married for 15 years to my best friend who is also my spotter when we go off roading. I am an Army veteran and my hobbies include backpacking, bouldering, and weightlifting.
I never imagined I would be a female off-roader, especially at the age of 37! I drive on a different kind of track i never knew existed in motor sports and compete against a competitor I never competed against and it’s not against man or woman but the terrain. See going fast and racing is in my blood. It’s part of my families heritage, the Slade’s. My uncle Ron is currently featured in a racing museum in Delaware, which is very cool and we have always been proud of our heritage. I literally grew up on the track with my dad, uncles, and cousins on dirt bikes, quads, mini sprints, and stock cars. Some of the best years of my life were with my dad serving on his pit crew, riding, and countless hours in the garage. I love the adrenaline rush you get with speed and I never imagined I could get that same feeling off-roading in a stock Jeep! I was very much mistaken and underestimated the off-roading life and the skills needed to cross the different terrains.
Let me tell you about the moment I fell In love with this Motorsport. My first time out was May 23rd 2020 and I quickly seen that there’s a lot of skill in this sport. Mechanics, tire placement, and choosing good lines are crucial even on a green trail, at least at Rausch Creek. While on this trail we turned hard left into a deep and narrow ridge and I did not have the needed flex. We were so close to rolling over. So my instinct kicked in and I pressed the throttle hard and we made it out. At this moment I realized two things: 1) I was not afraid, and 2) I could do it again and I wanted to! This sparked a passion, determination, and love for off-roading and rock crawling.
A Little about my Rig
Virago is her name and she’s a 2016 JKU Jeep Wrangler, 75th Anniversary Edition. She has some Skid-plates underneath, a Teraflex rear differential heavy duty cover, and not much else. She’s pretty much stock right now but a 3.5 inch MetalCloak lift kit is on its way with new off-roading tires, 35’s! We got big plans for her but will take time. Like all motor sports it’s not cheap.
I’m sure got you wondering why on earth I chose Virago as a name. Let me share with you why. It’s a historical noun that was given to very rare kind of woman. A Virago was a female warrior who displayed great battle skills with courage and extreme heroism that was equal to or greater then that of a man. I truly believe as ladies we are underestimated in motor sports and people can be very stereotypical. I aim to be a Virago on the trail and I want my Jeep and her name to encourage all types of girls and women of all ages to be Virago’s out on the tracks of their choosing.
I hope to add to this over time but since I have only been off-roading for two months I have not been to many places and aim to complete more trails.
- [ ] Blues trails that have been completed at Rausch Creek Off-Roading Park are as follows: Tip top, K2, 31, 37, and 18b.
- [ ] Completed a Jeep Badge of Honor Trail (trail 11)
- [ ] Successfully crosses Pit Jr, which is a deeper water bowel
- [ ] I’ve also learned a lot about the maintenance and mechanics of my rig because I do all the work on it under the observation and teaching of my husband.
I have Jeep goals and personal goals.
- [ ] My Jeep goal is to off-road on more blue trails so I can continue to grow my skills. This will require me to build her up so I can be successful and eventually I aim to take her down black trails. I would love to try it and see if I can do it. They look pretty extreme and skills and grit are needed. So I am looking forward to growing my skills and modifying my Jeep.
- [ ] Earn as many badges of honor as I can
- [ ] Being wise with my build. Jeeps for off-roading are built and there’s a lot to consider while your building.
- [ ] I also want to travel to different states and try different terrains. The top of my list is California, Colorado, and Utah.
- [ ] Another goal is to continue to trust my rig, my spotter, and myself. That can be scratchy at times but its important when on the trail. Got to keep that focus.
- [ ] Lastly I want to encourage other woman in motor sports to lift each other up and stand strong against the stereotypes. To remind them we got nothing to prove to anyone except to ourselves, through reaching our personal goals, and cheering each other on.
“When in doubt, throttle out!”