The RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind., recently announced that RV industry pioneer Kirwan Elmers will be inducted as a member of the class of 2013 during an induction dinner on Aug. 5.
In a press release, the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) noted that Elmers has been a long-time family and commercial member of the Cincinnati, Ohio-based organization, currently marking its 50th anniversary.
He attended the July 1963 FMCA meeting of “house car” owners where the decision was made to form the organization for those who enjoyed traveling by motorized recreation vehicles, now known as motorhomes. Elmers also served as a member of FMCA’s Commercial Council for many years, including as president from 1990 to 1999.
“Kirwan’s induction into the RV/MH Hall of Fame is long overdue,” commented FMCA national president Charlie Schrenkel. “He has been a true pioneer in the RV industry whose contributions merited recognition by his peers. We are proud that Kirwan has been associated with FMCA for so many years, and we congratulate him on this honor.”
Two other motorhome industry leaders and FMCA supporters also will be inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2013 – the late C.M. Fore, founder of Foretravel Motorhomes, and the late Mat Perlot, founder of Safari Motorhomes.
In 1955, Elmers and his father, Miles, founded Custom Coach Corp., based in Columbus, Ohio. Custom Coach became a division of Columbus-based Farber Specialty Vehicles in 2002, but Elmers continued to be involved in the operation of the company until his retirement in 2012.
He and his father developed the first commercially converted motor coaches designed for private use. The company’s custom conversions provide celebrities, traveling executives and RV families with permanent or temporary residences.
The company’s many well-known clients brought recognition to the motorhome lifestyle. For instance, the company provided 22 “Big Mac” coaches for Ray Kroc, founder of McDonalds, as well as coaches for the late Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s, among myriad other corporate clients. Custom Coach conversions have even been used as “anchors” for the Goodyear blimps.
Custom Coach’s celebrity clients have included Lee Greenwood, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Conway Twitty, Ray Charles, Clint Eastwood and sportscaster John Madden.
The clientele list also includes true royalty, as the royal family of Saudi Arabia has purchased a number of the company’s conversions over the years. The last of the family’s 21 45-foot Custom Coach conversions were delivered by air to Dubai, the capital.
The Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA), an international organization for families who own and enjoy the recreational use of motorhomes, is finalizing plans and registering families and exhibitors for the group’s June 19-22, 2013, motorhome showcase in Gillette, Wyo.
More than 2,000 motorhomes and some 8,000 people are expected to gather for this grand event, which has been dubbed “Celebrate In Gillette.” CAM-PLEX Multi-Events Facilities will be the hub of activity for the motorhome showcase, with families arriving and staying in their RVs and forming a small city on wheels, KTWO Radio, Casper, reported.
The association hosts conventions in varying locations across the United States with the purpose of celebrating the motorhome lifestyle and is making its first visit to Gillette for a Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase. The association’s Rocky Mountain Area hosted a smaller, regional rally at the facility this past September. FMCA also hosted a convention at the University of Wyoming in Laramie back in 1992.
Since the motorhome owners group is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2013, the event in Gillette will serve as the organization’s official birthday bash. A number of special activities are planned to commemorate the occasion, including a display of Flxible motorhomes, the classic coach that appears in the association’s logo. A nostalgia room will be set up with memorabilia depicting 50 years of motorhome fun and friendships. A Black Tie & Blue Jeans Dance is on tap for one evening, and The Buckinghams, one of the top pop groups of the 1960s, will enhance the trip down memory lane the following night. Five-time Grammy winner and country music star Marty Stuart will perform on the final evening.
Regular convention activities include a motorhome exhibition that brings together major motorhome manufacturers and dealers from throughout the United States and Canada, as well as manufacturers and distributors of a multitude of RV accessories and components, and suppliers of various services related to RVs.
In addition to the motorhome show, highlights include seminars on a variety of topics related to motorhomes and RV travel, tours involving local sites and scenes, entertainment, and numerous social activities.
For more information visit www.FMCA.com or call the FMCA national office at (800) 543-3622 or (513) 474-3622.
The Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) announced the April 1 release its North American Road Atlas & Travel Guide. According to a press release, FMCA is currently accepting preorders for the seventh edition of the spiral-bound atlas which incorporates the most up-to-date map information available at publication time.
Highlighted on the full-color maps are Walmart and Walmart Supercenter locations, Sam’s Club stores, Pilot Flying J travel centers, Cracker Barrel restaurants and big-rig-friendly campgrounds. FMCA commercial member campgrounds and other campgrounds that provide club discounts are also identified, said Kay.
For on-the-road convenience, the FMCA atlas contains a chart listing Walmart and Sam’s Club stores that are located within one mile of interstate exits.
Additional features include an alphabetical index of campgrounds by state, accompanied by phone numbers; an index of cities and towns; tourism information; a mileage chart; and a distance and driving time map.
The 11-inch-by-15-inch atlas is protected by a laminated cover that adds to its durability, and the spiral binding enables it to lay flat for easy reading, states Kay.
FMCA’s newest atlas is available for $16 plus shipping from the FMCA Store or by calling (800) 543.3622.
Officials said they are taking steps to ensure the organizers of an annual RV rally renew their lease and stay on for many more years at the regional airport in Florida’s Hernando County.
Hernando Today reported that County Commission Chairman Dave Russell met with the board of directors of the Southeast Area Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) Rally and has instructed staff to put together a report for the commission to discuss at an upcoming meeting.
Russell told Hernando Today some ideas have already been floated and, if they work out, would help convince the FMCA that Hernando County is the place to be.
Russell said the county will discuss extending the association’s lease through September, an extra six months.
“(That will) give us some breathing room to see what we can accomplish to accommodate our good friends,” Russell said.
If past rallies are any indication, these road warriors could pump in $10 million or more into the local economy.
Russell said the board will discuss the following remedies:
• Constructing a multipurpose building on airport property that allows the FMCA to save money on tents and provide a more expansive gathering place for meetings and other activities. The association used to lease a hangar from the now-defunct Brooksville Air Center to house their events. The county could explore ways for other groups, such as the Hernando County Cattlemen’s Association, to also use the building. Conrad Kleinpeter, an FMCA regional vice president, said it costs the association some $80,000 to erect tents for the annual rally.
• Moving the rally to the southwestern portion of the airport, which would not interfere with the planned expansion of aviation-related development at the current site. The FMCA would benefit because it would provide easier access for RV-goers.
• Discussing with airport tenants the possibility of leasing one of their hangars during the five days the rally is in town.
“We’re looking at every option that may be available to us in order to help them make a decision to stay here,” Russell said.
Russell stressed that the airport has limited flexibility on its lease charge, which is some $12,000 annually.
Sue Marino, an FMCA representative, called it premature to say there is anything in the works to move the rally to another site.
“Nothing has been determined yet,” she said.
Marino said the board of directors is talking with airport officials about the situation, including moving to Volusia County.
Hernando County Aviation Chairman Gary Schraut said the FMCA is a “major priority” and all involved are willing to work with the board to keep them here.
“They’ve been great tenants,” Schraut said. “They’re a great group of people. They can bring thousands of people here at one time.”
Schraut said if the FMCA directors are willing to commit to staying here, then the county can more seriously explore having a multipurpose building available to them.
“There are many opportunities,” Schraut said.
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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Motorhomers will celebrate the association’s 50th anniversary at the Family Motor Coach Association’s FMCA 88th Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase, June 19-22 at CAM-PLEX Multi-Events Facilities in Gillette, Wyo.
According to a press release, a “nostalgia room” will display FMCA artifacts and vintage bus conversions, such as the Flxible brand bus that graces the association’s membership emblem, will be on hand for inspection. Many special events are in the planning stages as well.
While observing its rich history, the FMCA said it is also looking ahead in “a continuing quest to supply FMCA members with benefits to enhance the motorhome lifestyle, including the information they need to make their travels more enjoyable.”
“FMCA has a great deal to celebrate this year,” said FMCA national president Charlie Schrenkel. “I’m grateful to the early leaders, who had the vision to lay such a solid groundwork for our organization, plus all the members who have labored throughout the past five decades to nurture it and watch it grow. Today, I’m proud to say that I belong to FMCA — the world’s finest organization for motorhome owners.”
FMCA, founded in 1963, has grown to serve more than 80,000 member families. Among them are second-generation motorhome owners who have taken a parent’s or grandparent’s membership number.
For the past 15 years, the Brooksville-Tampa Regional Airport has served as a roost for the Family Motor Coach Association’s (FMCA) annual Southeast Area rally.
The Tampa Bay Times reported that the wintertime event, which attracts upward of 1,000 well-to-do recreational vehicle owners from all over the South, has been a welcome boon to Hernando County’s economy, with visitors packing restaurants, grocery stores and local attractions during their weeklong stay.
But the good times may well be over once the parade of RVs heads out of town after next week’s rally. Some members of the organization’s current regional board have decided it might be time to move the event to another location.
Southeast chapter president Ralph Marino said that although a final decision has not yet been made, the question of staying in Brooksville comes down to economics.
“Our attendance is decreasing and our costs keep going up. It’s as simple as that,” Marino said. “Right now, nothing has been decided, but we’re looking at other options.”
Word of the possible pullout — and that the county might favor the rally’s departure — filtered out to local government officials in recent days, and a meeting was scheduled with FMCA Southeast committee members Tuesday. Airport manager Don Silvernell said that he and County Commission Chairman Dave Russell wanted to know what could be done to keep the group in Hernando County.
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The Family Motor Coach Association’s (FMCA) motorhome events in 2013 will provide the “perfect opportunity for motorhome manufacturers and RV suppliers to come face-to-face with an enthusiastic group of motorhome owners,” according to a press release.
During FMCA area rallies and family reunions, motorhome owners socialize and enjoy seminars, entertainment and other scheduled events. Motorhome manufacturers and RV display product, giving attendees the chance to shop for a variety of motorhomes and RV-related merchandise all in one location.
Family reunion & motorhome showcase events are coordinated by the FMCA national office, and each area rally is organized by FMCA members in the respective area.
FMCA’s 2013 Area Rally dates and locations include:
• Western Area Rally, Jan. 9-13, Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival grounds in Indio, Calif.
• Southeast Area Rally, Feb. 6-10, Hernando County Airport, Brooksville, Fla.
• INTO Area Rally (International Area), March 20-23, Lazydays, Tucson, Ariz.
• Midwest Area Rally, July 24-27, Delaware County Fairgrounds, Manchester, Iowa.
• Northwest Area Rally, Aug. 8-11, Linn County Fair & Expo Center, Albany, Ore.
• South Central Area Rally (Six-State Rally), Sept. 11-15, Missouri State Fairgrounds, Sedalia, Mo.
• Great Lakes Area Rally, Sept. 18-22, 2013, Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds, Goshen, Ind.
• Eastern Area Rally, Oct. 9-13, York Expo Center, York, Pa.
In addition to the area rallies, FMCA’s 88th Family Reunion & Motorhome Showcase will take place June 19-22, at CAM-PLEX Multi-Events Facilities in Gillette, Wyo. This will be FMCA’s first visit to Gillette for an international event and it is especially significant, as it will mark the culmination of FMCA’s 50th anniversary celebration. The association was founded in July 1963 by 26 “house car”-owning families.
All Family Reunions offer seminars, entertainment, and socializing, but special commemorative activities in Gillette will make it a gathering that members will not soon forget. CAM-PLEX is a 1,100-acre convention, exhibition and performing arts center with six separate RV park venues encompassing 1,730 sites with electrical hookups. The association is expecting approximately 2,500 motorhome families to take part in the golden anniversary festivities at Gillette.
“We’re looking forward to FMCA’s 50th anniversary celebration this June in Gillette, Wyoming. Not only that, but with FMCA events taking place at varying times and locations, motorhome owners should find that they don’t have to travel very far to participate,” FMCA President Charlie Schrenkel said. “We invite them to join us at one or more of these exciting locations and to experience the fun, seminars, entertainment, and the motorhome and related product displays among people who share their love of the motorhome lifestyle.”
In 2014, specifically March 17-20, FMCA returns for an eighth time to Perry, Ga., for a Family Reunion & Motorhome Showcase. The 1,100-plus-acre Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter has become a popular place for RV rallies, with its spacious parking facilities; expansive meeting, exhibition, and entertainment venues; and convenient location just off Interstate 75. Dates and location for the summer 2014 Family Reunion have not yet been announced.
For information about how to attend an FMCA event as a private individual or an exhibitor, contact the FMCA Events Department at (800) 543-3622 or (513) 474-3622.
While the federal government and relief organizations were mobilizing to help victims of Hurriane Sandy, so were many members of the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA), according to a press release.
“Calls from our members all over the country inundated FMCA’s Cincinnati headquarters,” says Jerry Yeatts, executive director of FMCA. “They wanted to assist members who were affected by the severe storm. They also asked how they could help the millions of Americans who never stepped into an RV.”
While many FMCA members are helping individually, FMCA’s board and staff decided the best way to help the most people in the most efficient way was to encourage its 90,000 members to contact established relief agencies directly.
To this end, FMCA issued a letter to all its members encouraging them to work with agencies like the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army, as these organizations have established protocols to organize volunteers and collect donations. The letter even provided direct links to these organizations.
“We are proud that so many members immediately stepped up to help those who need it in the aftermath of such an awful event,” adds Yeatts.
If anyone is interested in lending a hand or making a donation, log onto www.FMCA.com for links to national relief organizations that are helping Americans cope with the effects of Hurricane Sandy.
Fleetwood RV Inc. will unveil a chic new restyled exterior for its top-of-the-line 2013 American Heritage diesel pusher Class A motorhome featuring 20 LED lights in a redesigned front cap at the Family Motor Coach Association’s (FMCA) 87th Family Reunion & Motorhome Showcase next week at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.
The Decatur, Ind., company also will introduce a 36-foot, gas-powered Fleetwood Bounder Classic model that includes a full wall, street-side slideout at FMCA’s once-a-year national consumer gathering slated for Aug. 27-30 at the 250-acre fairgrounds on the city’s accessible north side.
In addition, 40 of Navistar Inc.’s Monaco and Holiday Rambler-brand motorhomes will be among the approximately 260 coaches on display at Indy – the first FMCA consumer convention to be held in the Hoosier State since Cincinnati-based FMCA staged a 1991 confab at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend.
”That will be more coaches than we’ve had at recent conventions,” said FMCA President Jerry Yeatts, adding that some 2,500 towable and motorized family coaches with about 8,000 people are expected to show at the late August event.
Attendees, meanwhile, will also see a $1.7 million motorcoach at the Newell Coach Corp. display as well as Newmar Corp.’s 2013 Dutch Star diesel pusher that’s been significantly upgraded. ”The Dutch Star has a completely new look inside and out,” Newmar’s John Sammut, vice president of sales and marketing for the Nappanee, Ind., manufacturer, tells RVBUSINESS.com.
Vendors offering RV accessories, components, supplies and campground information will display their wares inside Champions Hall.
While move-in days are Saturday and Sunday, a special preview of the motorhome exhibits will be held from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday. Regular hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through the balance of the convention.
Gate price for non-members is $240 per RV, while members pay $190. Daily admission for exhibits is $7.00 per person with children admitted free with an accompanying adult. Individuals with an active military ID are also admitted free.
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