FMCA a Success; Towable Plan Moves Forward

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July 17, 2017 by   Leave a Comment

Motorhomes fill the Indiana State Fairgrounds during FMCA’s Convention & Expo (Photo by Shawn Spence)

After sketchy weather early gave way to a glorious weekend, the Family Motor Coach Association’s (FMCA) 96th International Convention & RV Expo, held July 12-15 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and Event Center in Indianapolis, saw robust crowds, brisk business and a historic decision by the motorized-only group’s governing board to allow a referendum on whether to open up membership to towable RV owners.

Dubbed “Crossroads To Fun,” the four-day event focused on the RV lifestyle with a key element being the motorhome showcase, as several major manufacturers and dealers displayed a variety of coaches with test drives available to attendees. In addition, booths offered a wide range of RV accessories, components, supplies, and services were set up inside Champions Pavilion. 

Doug Uhlenbrock, FMCA’s event director, said that despite the excessive rain early in the week, which forced them to close some lots used for motorhome campgrounds, the overall feeling from attendees and FMCA officials was that the event rated as a “pretty successful show.”

“I know the folks had a great time,” he said. “We had good entertainment. We had over 100 seminars. People were pretty happy. People were out, riding around, participating in activities and the exhibit hall was filled with people. Everyone I talked to had nothing but good things to say.

“But we’re not satisfied though. We want more, we want better, we want to change things up in the future,” he added, noting the association wants to return to the days when the show attracted 5,000 people. “We’re looking to get back to those days. With some changes to the program this will be an exciting event that people will go home and tell their friends about.”

While final attendance figures won’t be known until walk-in attendees are tabulated later this week, Uhlenbrock reported there were 1,477 “family registrations,” which is the number of coaches whose owners had an event-long pass. In addition, there were about 175 vendors and 164 coaches on display by manufacturers.

Aside from the event activities, perhaps the most noteworthy item was FMCA’s governing board approval to send the proposal that would open membership to towable RV owners — only motorized owners have been allowed to join FMCA in its nearly 55-year history — to its membership for a referendum. A ballot will be published in the September, October and November issues of its monthly magazine, Family Motor Coaching, with the results announced shortly thereafter.

If the referendum were to pass, which requires a simple majority, towable RV owners who join FMCA would be full-fledged members with equal status as current members, and would be afforded the same benefits. FMCA, which had more than 140,000 members prior to the Great Recession of 2008-09, now reports about 72,000 active member families, and officials said that the benefits of FMCA membership should be “about the people, not the units.”

FMCA Executive Director Chris Smith offered, “Nothing negative was said by anyone who stepped up to the mic” during a half-day workshop to answer questions about the proposal. The workshop was moderated by outgoing FMCA President Charlie Adcock, who was replaced by Jon Walker during the convention.

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