Yesterday at the May 16-20 Holiday Rambler RV Club’s (HRRVC) 49th International Rally, which attracted about 300 member units to the Elkhart County Fairgrounds in Goshen, Ind., attendees enjoyed the spectacle of a spontaneous and unusual sacrifice in the name of charity.
The normal fare of rally events were ongoing, including RV sales displays, craft bazaars, tours to local attractions, informational seminars and a performance by the HRRVC band. And to help raise money for three charities of which the venerable independent owners’ club is a long-time supporter — HRRVC’s scholarship program, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Habitat for Humanity – Holiday Rambler dealer Brett Howard, vice president of Alliance Coach & RV in Wildwood, Fla., agreed to get a “haircut” of sorts.
“He had the idea that I would take his beard off this morning in our general session,” explained Ed Kinney, a former Monaco executive, now a semi-retired HRRVC board member. “And then when I took the beard off, everybody would put money in the pot that would go to the three charities. I’m actually a retired barber so I cut his beard off. Well, then it escalated to, ‘Hey, Brad, would you shave your hair off, too?’”
To the onlookers’ surprise, Howard agreed, but not for “less than a thousand dollars,” Kinney related. To everyone’s surprise, club member and cancer survivor Doris Williams of Green Cove Springs, Fla., stepped up. “So I had the clippers and set him up on stage with Doris, who is just regrowing her own hair,” noted Kinney.
Williams’ donation and Howard’s act of “barberism” spurred others to respond with generous donations of their own, resulting in proceeds of about $1,000 for each of the three charities. “It was a real special morning here,” said Kinney.
The owners of about 190 Holiday Rambler diesel pusher motorhomes manufactured by Monaco Coach Corp. — members of the Ramblin’ Pushers chapter of the national Holiday Rambler RV Club — are gathered this week at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds in Goshen, Ind.
“We don’t call it a rally,” said chapter President Dick Reidenbach of Indianapolis. “We call it a maintenance session and we will have almost 100 technical sessions over the course of the week.”
“The mission of our chapter is to help educate members on the operation and repair of Holiday Rambler diesel pushers,” Reidenbach said.
This evening (May 4) roundtable sessions will be conducted among owners of the various Holiday Rambler brands. “One of the greatest sources of information for resolving problems with a motorhome are people who own the same coaches that you do,” Reidenbach said.
All this as Monaco Coach Corp., Coburg, Ore., which filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in March, awaits finalization of a $52 million deal in bankruptcy court through which most of Monaco’s assets are to be sold to Chicago-area based Navistar International Corp.
Pat Carroll, Monaco Coach Corp. vice president of product development, was in attendance at the Elkhart County rally as was Veurink’s RV Center, Grand Rapid, Mich., the oldest Holiday Rambler dealership in the country.
“Pat Carroll told us that it’s been a long six months, but that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that Monaco is definitely on the uptick,” said Reidenbach, who three weeks ago bought a Holiday Rambler Navigator for cash from Lazydays RV SuperCenter in Seffner, Fla., was pleased with the turnout.
“I felt like Monaco is big enough and that the Navistar thing is down the road far enough so that something good is going to happen,” Reidenbach said.
Although turnout for the gathering is about 10% less than it was last year, Reidenbach said those attending are in good spirits. “Honestly, the mood here is pretty upbeat,” he said.
And he is equally pleased that the club was able to draw nearly 400 people to Elkhart County.
“We are absolutely delighted with the attendance, given the condition of the RV industry,” said the Eli Lilly Co. retiree. “We feel like it’s a big success.”