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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The Family Motor Coach Association’s (FMCA) 87th Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase is expected to draw approximately 2,500 families and some 8,000 people to the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.
According to a press release, the Aug. 27-30 convention will include seminars on topics relative to RVing, evening entertainment and various social events. In addition, major motorhome manufacturers and dealers will be bringing new motorhomes to Indianapolis for convention attendees to tour. Other companies will display their wares inside Champions Pavilion, making available RV accessories, components, supplies and campground information.
Convention attendees will be able to check out the latest features and innovations that are available in motorhomes. Some of the displays will include production-line units, and others will demo custom-built coaches for uses ranging from family camping to transporting high-tech business equipment, or for use as conference coaches.
On opening day from 5-8:30 p.m. a special preview of only the motorhome exhibits will take place. Regular hours for the motorhome displays will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on August 28-30. Hours for the displays of RV accessories, supplies and components will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on August 28-30.
Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) announced today (July 24) that it has hired TPR to plan and execute a coordinated public relations program.
According to a press release, hiring a public relations agency is a first for FMCA, the world’s largest motorhome owners association. The move comes after FMCA’s executive board and staff examined all aspects of FMCA to chart the future direction and goals of the organization. Implementing an aggressive PR plan was the cornerstone for maintaining FMCA’s legacy as a leader in the RV ownership experience and ensuring continued growth.
Formed in 1963 by a group of motorhome owners at a time when the lifestyle was beginning to gain popularity, FMCA today has members throughout North America and around the globe. For nearly 50 years now, the association has been helping motorhome owners to enjoy the freedom, flexibility, comfort and control afforded by RV travel.
“We are excited to have TPR implement our PR program,” says Jerry Yeatts, FMCA executive director. “TPR’s proven track record in developing successful PR campaigns that resonate with the media and public is a major reason why our board selected the firm.”
“It is an honor to be chosen by FMCA’s board to help plan and carry out the association’s communications strategy,” says Jon Tancredi, TPR president. “We are looking forward to jumping in and accomplishing FMCA’s marketing goals.”
FMCA is an international organization for families who own and enjoy the recreational use of motorhomes. With approximately 85,000 active member families, FMCA is the world’s largest motorhome owners group. TPR is a public relations agency dedicated to communicating its clients’ messages via traditional and social media outlets. TPR’s president, Jon Tancredi, is a 25-year public relations professional and has specialized in the RVing and outdoor lifestyle sectors for two decades.
Hundreds of motorhomes are filling the empty lot next to the Mill Casino and Hotel Thursday (June 21) in Coos Bay, Ore., as the Family Motor Coach Association’s (FMCA) Northwest Area Rally gets under way. The show runs through Sunday.
As reported by the Coos Bay World, its members refer to trips out of their vehicles as “shore excursions” and to the car they tow behind as a “dinghy.” So it’s surprising that FMCA has never yet held its Northwest Area Rally here on the shores of Coos Bay.
But that’s happening this weekend, bringing 1,000 RV enthusiasts to the area.
They’ll have opportunities to tour local attractions, see a movie in the Marshfield High School auditorium, see the bay with Betty Kay Charters, golf at Bandon Crossings, roar around the dunes with Spinreel Dune Buggy and ATV and feast at a Coquille Indian salmon bake.
Although those activities are available only to the association’s members, the public is welcome to visit the RV show. To learn more about the Family Motor Coach Association, visit www.fmcanw.org/.