What began as an ordinary business outing turned out to be anything but. We were prepared for a day at a ranch in the desert with customers and colleagues. Mother Nature had other plans.

The cloudless Arizona sky turned to night. The dry creek bed that was our entry into the desert canyon was flooded and impassable. The 12 women who visited the ranch for big fun and good food were suddenly faced with the experience of a lifetime…and now some new questions: How do we get out? When? What about the injured (I’ll get to that later)? What critters are lurking in the bushes? Will the cowboys who were trying to fix the situation make it worse? How do we pass the time and get comfortable?

There was a certain amount of anxiety as the situation unfolded. It was really dark and we had no flashlights. Part of the group was around the campfire waiting (luckily, we had heat). The rest of the group was at the river’s edge considering options and trying to keep the cowboys out of the water. The separation was uncomfortable. When it became clear we were there for the night (at least) everyone calmed down and made the best of it. Some found what they could to make cushions for bedding in one of the shelters. Others wrapped in tablecloths and hung out by the fire all night.

There was an incredible amount of beauty in a bad situation. One person suffered a severe injury from a fall off of a horse. She was extremely brave and exhibited a great sense of humor throughout the ordeal. Others chipped in to make sure she was well taken care of (despite the limited provisions). The Arizona sky was filled with so many stars you couldn’t help but lay on the ground in amazement. And the memories etched in our minds are priceless.

The first glimpse of morning light over the eastern mountains brought a great sense of relief. At least we could see! We found that the water had receded enough to get a WWII vehicle across to get us out. We parted ways with the cowboys and headed back to the city. The energy and buzz in our van was electric as we recalled the details of our night under the stars. As we approached our cozy, untouched beds at the Arizona Biltmore, we became quiet. We looked at the golfers in the starched white shirts and freshly brushed teeth and were not at all envious. We were pumped, proud and ready for what was next.

Who: Women of Remarketing, cowboys, desert critters
What: The industry’s only educational and networking conference that recognizes the influence women have in the auto remarketing industry. And occasionally strands them in the Arizona desert
Where: A flooded desert canyon creek bed
Why: Top women executives exchange ideas, provide valuable feedback to ADESA, receive business and management training from nationally recognized speakers. May also cook by campfire, turn benches into beds and create unforgettable memories.
When: Every year since 2002

The cast of characters the next day










The rescue