The numbers weren’t as strong as hoped for, but things apparently went well for the Good Sam Rally that concluded Sunday (June 24) in Louisville, Ky.
The four-day event hosted by Good Sam Enterprises LLC and staged at the Kentucky Exposition Center – site of the industry’s National RV Trade Show – drew 2,033 guest rigs, according to Sue Bray, rally director.
Bray reported to RVBUSINESS.com that the numbers were down slightly from the last rally held in Louisville two years ago and were off appreciably from this year’s spring rally at the Phoenix International Speedway, which attracted 3,370 units comprising about 7,500 people.
She added that non-RVer attendance went “exceptionally well” in Louisville as the public gate topped 5,000, thanks again to some hefty promotions in area media prior to the event.
Bray blamed the overall decrease in attendance to high gas prices and the fact that, for the first time, Good Sam is staging three rallies in one year instead of one – turning each event into something akin to a regional rally. “We may go back to one; we may go to more than three; we don’t know yet,” she noted, concerning Good Sam’s future plans.
As usual, the weather was warm in Louisville, but not as bad as in 2010 when crowds wilted under the oppressive heat. The inside venue for the more than 350 vendors and 400 RVs on display proved “very appealing and tended to negate the heat factor,” Bray said. OEMs, such as Newmar Corp. and Tiffin Motorhomes Inc., reported good sales at the event, as did Camping World, Bray noted.
On-site activities included hundreds of informative expert seminars, a veteran’s parade, guided tours to area sites and performances by Sheryl Crow, Burt Bacharach, the Gatlin Brothers and an Elvis impersonator.
The Louisville Rally also featured some new twists with Food Network Chef Bob Blumer conducting several cooking demonstrations during the “Good Sam Culinary Experience.” “It worked out well. They had really good attendance and participation,” Bray said. “People were really into it. Camping World ended up selling a lot of cooking equipment tailored for RVers.”
The Rally also staged a first-ever “Bark Park” for RVers who travel with their dogs. The fenced-in facility allowed owners to exercise or run around with their dogs. And, for the first time, RVers were allowed to bring their dogs inside the Kentucky Exposition Center. The rally also featured a dog show and pet adoptions through the Louisville Humane Society.
The final Rally for 2012 will be held in November at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida.