The RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind., had some special visitors Saturday (July 17).
Approximately 100 RVers — 50 couples — descended on the museum and conference center as part of the “Centennial Caraventure,” a four-day RV caravan in honor of the RV industry’s 100th anniversary leading up to The Rally 2010 in Louisville, Ky. The rally is the largest RV rally in the country, and is expected to draw 12,000 RVers this year, the Goshen News reported.
“Centennial Caraventure” participants toured the Newmar factory in Nappanee Friday before attending a lunch and tour at the Hall of Fame Saturday. The luncheon was followed by a presentation on the industry’s history and a technology and lifestyle seminar with Bob Livingston, senior vice president of Affinity Group Inc., and leader of the Caraventure.
“What it is, is really an enthusiast’s rally where people become immersed in the history all the way up to present time RVs,” Livingston said. “We talk about the lifestyle, we talk about technical aspects of RVs, we’ll talk about any topic at all. Basically, we’re talking about RVs until we don’t want to talk about RVs anymore.”
Livingston said participants have been extremely receptive to the format and have been thoroughly enjoying themselves.
Among those participants were Stan and Cathy Nicholson of Santa Barbara, Calif. The couple actually purchased an Airstream RV from Livingston years ago when he was still working for a dealer.
“We just had a college graduate (in the family), so we took the opportunity to drive our RV out for that and for this, then we’re driving around the country,” Stan said.
He said the couple has been seriously RVing for about 10 years. They make the most of each year, with a long stretch still ahead of them this summer.
“We don’t plan on going home for another three months,” Stan said.
Ray Cupples Jr. and his wife, Bonnie, were also enjoying the experience. The pair, who live in Clarion, Pa., started with tent camping and folding camping trailers before moving on to the full-fledged RV lifestyle after their children moved out.
“We’re enjoying the area. We wish we had a little time to do more,” Ray said.
He said they particularly liked the factory tour, being interested in the technical end of things.
“We’re always looking to upgrade or add to our units,” Ray said.
According to Livingston, participation in the event was limited to 50 couples to ensure enough one-on-one time between event staff and the RVers. He said they will probably hire more staff and increase the size of the event next year.
Today, Caraventure participants head to Louisville. The Rally 2010 will take place Thursday through July 25.
The owners of 50 towable and motorized RVs assembled today (July 16) at the Elkhart (Ind.) Campground as a prelude to The Rally, a four-day gathering of RVers July 22-25 at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) in Louisville, Ky.
With the RV industry celebrating 100 years of RV manufacturing, the pre-rally event in Elkhart is dubbed the ”Centennial Caraventure,” and is being hosted by Bob Livingston, senior vice president and group publisher of Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), and his wife, Lynne.
”It’s an RV immersion tour to show people the history of the RV industry,” Livingston said this morning as motorized and towable RVs were pulling into the private campground north of the city that calls itself the ”RV Capital of the World.”
Mostly, Livingston said, the Centennial Caraventure is designed to be educational on several levels.
”We are going to talk about the state of the RV industry, trends, the RV lifestyle and technical matters,” Livingston said. ”We will show the history of the RV industry and how they work and how to fix them.”
Livingston anticipates that he and other industry representatives presenting seminars will answer a lot of questions. ”I learned a long time ago that you can give speeches all day long, but what RVers really want is to have their questions answered,” said Livingston, who will lead an informal caravan to Louisville on Monday in a Dynamax Grand Sport GT motorhome.
Centennial Caraventure participants through the weekend will tour Amish Acres, in Nappanee, the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Studebaker National Museum in South Bend and Newmar Corp.’s manufacturing facility in Nappanee.
More than 5,000 Rvers in 2,400 rigs — plus a few hundred walk-in day vistors are expected to take part in The Rally, which will include displays of new RVs along with family-friendly activities, entertainment from comedian Bob Newhart and country singer Tanya Tucker, RV seminars, talent contests, youth and teen programs and volunteers taking part in a ”Keep America Beautiful” effort in Louisville.
More than 150 seminars during the Rally will include such topics as healthy cooking on the road, chassis systems, RV troubleshooting techniques and RV caravan travel.
The Rally Dog Show will return for the seventh year, giving pet owners the opportunity to participate in Doggie Musical Chairs and the Double Vision look-alike contest.
As part of the centennial celebration, Affinity’s Good Sam Club affiliate asked those registering for The Rally to submit stories about their first RVing experience with the winner scheduled to receive 100 gallons of fuel.
AGI is the parent company of RVBUSINESS.com.
Thousands of recreational vehicle enthusiasts will celebrate the RV industry’s centennial at The Rally, a four-day extravaganza at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) , July 22-25.
The Rally, now in its 11th year, will bring more than 10,000 RVers to the Bluegrass State to take part in countless fun and family-friendly activities, and includes high-profile entertainers, RV seminars, talent contests, a youth and teen program and a volunteer effort, according to a news release.
Attendees will see the latest and greatest in RVs and motorhomes and can test-drive and purchase from top manufacturers and dealers across the nation with more than 1,000 RV models to choose from. In addition, hundreds of booths will display the newest RV products, gadgets and services. A special living exhibit of 20 vintage RVs will be on display, organized by the RV historian from the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind.
RV industry gurus will present more than 150 seminars at The Rally 2010, giving guests the opportunity to meet experts who can answer questions about the RV lifestyle. More than 30 daily seminars will cover such topics as healthy cooking on the road, chassis systems, RV troubleshooting techniques and RV caravan travel — just to name a few.
The Rally 2010 will also bring the best in stage and screen to entertain attendees. Stand-up comic and actor Bob Newhart will be on hand to keep the audience amused with his hilarious stories on Thursday, July 22; while on Friday, July 23, legendary country music artist Tanya Tucker will perform her greatest hits. Bands will play throughout the event, while “The Rally’s Got Talent” contest will feature a wide variety of acts and interesting talents on Sunday evening, July 25.
RVers love their pets, and the popular Rally Dog Show, “Kentucky K-9s!” is returning for the seventh year, giving dog owners and their pets a chance to compete in categories such as Doggie Musical Chairs and the Double Vision look-a-like contest on July 23. The Rally is also offering two pet adoption days for dogs and cats in need of homes through Louisville Metro Animal Services on Friday, July 23, and Saturday, July 24.
While The Rally focuses mainly on fun and exploring the RV lifestyle, attendees will also have the opportunity to give back to the local community. A pre-rally volunteer service day with Brightside, Louisville’s “Keep America Beautiful” affiliate, will take place on Wednesday, July 21. Volunteers will participate in beautification projects throughout the city. In exchange for a guest’s participation, The Rally will provide one night of free dry camping on Tuesday, July 20, as well as transportation and a sack lunch on the project day.
“The Rally is more than just an exposition — it’s an experience that celebrates the RV lifestyle,” said Mike Schneider, CEO of Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), parent company of The Rally’s hosts. “With this year’s 100th anniversary, we’re delighted to offer a great lineup of attractions that the whole family will enjoy. If you’re in the market for an RV, this is also a unique opportunity to compare nearly every make and model in one central location while enjoying entertainment, exhibits, seminars and more. We look forward to welcoming guests from across the country in Louisville this summer.”
As part of the centennial festivities, the Good Sam Club, the world’s largest RV owners’ organization with nearly 1 million member families, announces an RV centennial promotion. Members may submit a story about their first RVing experience, and the writer of the winning entry receives 100 gallons of gasoline or diesel fuel. To enter, Good Sam Club members can visit the RV.net blog.
In addition, a pre-event Centennial Caraventure hosted by Bob Livingston, senior vice president and group publisher of Affinity Media, will take RVers on a caravan into RVs’ past and present. The adventure, designed for enthusiasts who want an in-depth look at the history and lifestyle of RVing, begins in Elkhart, the heart of the RV industry, on July 16. Participants will tour Amish Acres, the RV/MH Hall of Fame, Studebaker National Museum and the Newmar recreational vehicle factory. The event also includes tech and lifestyle seminars. The Caraventure ends July 19 at The Rally.
For more than a decade, the annual Rally event has been hosted by the Good Sam Club, Trailer Life and MotorHome magazines, Trailer Life and Woodall’s Campground directories, Camp Club USA, Coast to Coast Resorts and Camping World President’s Club. All the organizations are either owned by or affiliated with AGI, the nation’s largest provider of outdoor recreation clubs, services, media and events, headquartered in Ventura, Calif.
Daily admission to The Rally is $10 for adults; children ages 12 and under are free. RV sites start at $189 for two people, and all-activity Rally Passports (without RV parking) are priced at $69 per attendee. Visit www.therally.com for information and registration. Fans can also join The Rally Facebook group at www.facebook.com/therally, track The Rally on Twitter at www.twitter.com/therally, and get updates at Eons by clicking on www.eons.com/groups/group/the-rally.