The Rally’s Vendor, Consumer Registrations Rise
Both consumer and exhibitor signups are ahead of last year — by double digits — for The Rally July 22-25 at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) in Louisville, Ky.
This year’s Rally theme revolves around the 100th anniversary of RVing in the U.S, an initiate that was spearheaded by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) and recognized in proclamations in Congress and a number of state legislatures.
Through Friday, 1,970 consumers had registered their coaches — a number that is 10% higher at this point than in 2009 when The Rally, sponsored by Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), was in Albuquerque, N.M.
”We are at least 10% or more ahead of where we were with advance (consumer) registrations than last year,” said Terry Thompson, AGI vice president of sales. ”We are two months out, and traditionally during the last two month we get a huge rush of registrations.”
Thompson also expects a 20%-25% increase in display coaches for sale that will be brought to The Rally by RV manufacturers and a 10% hike in vendor booths.
The Rally’s displays and programs this year all will be located indoors in the South Wing of the KEC, annual site of RVIA’s National RV Trade Show.
”We got manufacturers who didn’t participate last year,” Thompson said. ”That’s a good thing. They are healthier, obviously, than they were a year ago. And our sense is the people are buying at RV shows and The Rally certainly has become a buying rally.”
Owners of a total of 3,112 motorhomes and towable RVs registered for the 10th version of The Rally last year in Albuquerque.
The Rally (formerly called the Great North American RV Rally) is hosted by the Good Sam Club, Camping World President’s Club, Coast to Coast Resorts, Woodall’s and Trailer Life and MotorHome magazines, all of which are owned by AGI with headquarters in Ventura, Calif. RVBUSINESS.com also is an AGI affiliate.
Prior to The Rally, Bob Livingston, publisher of MotorHome magazine, and his wife, Lynne, will host a special, four-day behind-the-scenes look for registered RVers at the RV industry in northern Indiana with factory tours and visits to the RV/MH Hall of Fame/Museum in Elkhart, Ind., and the Studebaker National Museum in nearby South Bend.
The Livingstons then will lead a caravan to The Rally site in Louisville, about six hours south of Elkhart.
Entertainment at The Rally includes comedy icon Bob Newhart, country music superstar Tanya Tucker and SuperDiamond, a tribute band to singer Neil Diamond.
With more than 150 seminars during the four-day rally on subjects that include campground safety, dinghy towing, motorhome chassis, engine performance, pet care on the road and RV insurance among others, there also will be youth programs from children ages 6-12 and teenagers 13-17. Other events include a talent show, Rally Dog Show and a special living display of vintage RVs, organized by Al Hesselbart, historian for the RV/MH Hall of Fame/Museum. In yet another twist, 100 hundred gallons of fuel will be given to the owners of the oldest RV attending The Rally.
On July 21, the day before The Rally officially begins, RVers can volunteer with Brightside, a Louisville organization that enhances the city by planting flowers and other greenery on vacant lots.