RVers Will Follow if FMCA Tampa Rally Leaves
You might describe Rudy and Betty Roggenkamp as ultimate RVers.
As reported by the Tampa Bay Times, every winter they load up their 36-foot Bounder motorhome and head south from Vernon, Conn., to Florida. One of the couple’s prime stop-offs has been the annual Southeast Area rally of the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA), south of Brooksville.
During their weeklong stay, the Roggenkamps spend money. Lots of it. They shop in local grocery stores, buy fuel for their motorhome and try to make at least a couple of visits to their favorite local restaurant, the Masaryktown Cafe on U.S. 41.
“It’s a very comfortable place for us,” said Betty Roggenkamp, 81. “We love the area, and people here have always been friendly to us.”
As this year’s rally got under way Wednesday (Feb. 6), news that organizers are considering moving the event next year from its 15-year home at Brooksville-Tampa Regional Airport to the Volusia County Fairgrounds wasn’t greeted with enthusiasm by the Roggenkamps, who have been making the annual trek for the past eight years.
Nonetheless, the couple, like many others who spoke Wednesday to the Times, said they will likely go wherever the event goes.
“We’ll have to, if we want to see our friends,” said Bob Saunders, 79, of Port Charlotte, Fla., who along with his wife, Carol, has attended the event since 2004. “I like the area, but I’m not sure it makes much difference where they hold it. RV people go because of the event, not necessarily the location.”
The rally, which runs through Sunday, has always meant an economic boon to Hernando County. Up until a few years ago, the rally typically drew upward of 2,000 motor coaches from throughout the eastern United States. This year’s event is expected to attract about 800 coaches.
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