All things considered, “The Rally,” Affinity Group Inc.’s 11th annual consumer gathering July 22-25 at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) in Louisville, couldn’t have gone better, reported Terry Thompson, vice president of sales for Affinity Media/RV and a key organizer of The Rally.
“All in all, we exceeded expectations,” said Thompson, who’s based in Seattle and handled the commercial exhibits. “These guys (exhibitors) came to Louisville hoping to have a good show. Not only did they have a good show, they had a great show.”
And from all appearances, an estimated 10,000 attendees — including those in 2,867 RVs plus 5,000 day pass visitors — also had a good time at the seminars, dog shows and talent competitions that took place at The Rally, hosted by the Good Sam Club, Coast to Coast Resorts, Camp Club USA, the Camping World President’s Club and Woodall’s, along with Trailer Life, MotorHome and Camping Life magazines.
While performances by comic actor Bob Newhart and legendary country music artist Tanya Tucker were well received, another key player in the whole sequence of events was the KEC’s air conditioning — because The Rally was held during a sweltering Midwest heat wave. The fact that everything was held inside, from seminars to exhibits and publication day events for readers of AGI’s Highways, Trailer Life, MotorHome and Camping Life magazines, tended to drive people inside and spur exhibitor sales at a wide array of supplier and exhibitor booths, said Thompson.
There was a total of 350 booths in the supplier area, while 42 manufacturers and dealers showed OEM product nearby in the KEC, the same facility in which RVIA’s annual National RV Trade Show is held.
One other positive indicator?
Progressive Insurance handed out more corn on the cob than at any event in which it has ever participated, said Thompson.
Meanwhile, the Good Sam Club honored the recipients of its 2010 Welcome Mat Awards, recognizing RV-friendly businesses for their customer service and commitment to the RV lifestyle, at Louisville. Club members chose businesses they see providing RVers with superior customer service and meeting their specific needs. The awards reflect the diverse interests of RV owners, including their favorite sandwich shop, ice cream parlor, fuel and gas station, RV tow vehicle, golf course and favorite sit-down restaurant.
Members voted for 23 categories through online ballots submitted on the GoodSamClub.com website. Among the repeat winners were Flying J, America’s Best Campground and Cracker Barrel, a casual family restaurant with locations throughout the U.S. that has won the sit-down restaurant category all eight years that the Welcome Mat awards have existed.
Among this year’s Welcome Mat Award winners honored at a special reception and on stage on the evening of Thursday, June 23:
- Fuel/Gas Station: Flying J.
- Propane Outlet: Flying J.
- Outlet Mall: Tanger.
- Casino: Hard Rock.
- Fast Food Restaurant: Wendy’s.
- Ice Cream Parlor: Dairy Queen.
- Sandwich Shop: Subway.
- Sit-Down Restaurant: Cracker Barrel.
- Shopping Center: Mall of America, Bloomington, Minn.
- Dinghy Vehicle: Saturn.
- Tourist Attractions/Amusement Parks/Museums: Disney World, Orlando, Fla.
- Golf Course: Pebble Beach, Carmel, Calif.
- NASCAR Event: Daytona 500.
- RV Show: Tampa RV Supershow.
- State/Province to Fish: Florida.
- Good Sam Park: America’s Best Campground, Branson, Mo.
- Motor Oil: Shell Rotella.
- Pet Supply Store: PetSmart.
- Craft Store: Michaels.
- RV Accessory Store: Camping World.
- State to Visit: Florida.
- Province to Visit: British Columbia.
- Tow Vehicle: Ford.
AGI is the parent company of RVBUSINESS.com.