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FMCA Rally Draws More RV Events To Oregon

July 19, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Oregon’s Coos Bay area is starting to reap the rewards of the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) rally that took place in 2012.

The Coos Bay World reported that the Oregon Coast RV Jamboree, a new event at The Mill Casino-Hotel sponsored by Guaranty RV Super Centers is set to conclude today (July 19). The event saw dozens of vehicles visiting, and included a Menasha forest tour and traditional tribal salmon bake.

Ray Doering, communications manager for the Mill, says the Bay Area can expect more of these rallies in the future coming off the success of last year’s FMCA Northwest Rally.

“There has been so much interest created from last year, it kind of built on itself,” Doering said Wednesday. “It’s nice that we made a good impression.”

Over 1,200 people attended the Northwest Rally, which was that event’s first venture to the coast. The rally’s success spawned five smaller events at the Mill, one of which was this week’s Jamboree. FMCA is planning to return its Northwest Rally here in 2015.

Increased RV traffic in and out of the Mill has given a shot in the arm to the local economy. Doering says the vehicles may pull into the casino’s property, but attendees travel out into the community regularly.

“We thought that since we have an RV Park, let’s get a rally together. Let’s do something really special for folks. And it really caught on,” Doering said.

There are two more events scheduled this year that can trace their origin back to the FMCA rally. One is similar in size to the Jamboree and takes place in August. The second event will be a joint GMC Cascaders, GMC 49ers and GMC Western States Fall 2013 Rally. That event takes place in October and over 100 vehicles are anticipated.

To read the entire article click here.

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FMCA Announces Date for ’14 Family Reunion

June 26, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

FMCA members visit the vendor booths at this year's 50th Anniversary Rally in Gillette

The Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) announced that the group will host its 90th Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center in Redmond, Ore., set to run Aug. 13-16, 2014.

According to a press release, the association hosts conventions twice a year in varying locations with the purpose of celebrating the motorhome lifestyle. The 2014 rally will mark FMCA’s fifth visit to Redmond, having met in the city in 2001, 2004, 2007, and 2010.

Set on 320 acres in the heart of Central Oregon, the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center offers a total of 100 acres of parking space and views of seven snow-capped mountain peaks. Clean, attractive facilities accommodate the various convention activities, and beautifully landscaped grounds make for pleasant strolling between venues and events. In addition, average summer temperatures range in the mid-80s for highs to the mid-40s for lows. And with an average annual rainfall of only 8 to 12 inches, Central Oregon averages 250 days of sunshine each year.

“The folks in Central Oregon always seem to welcome FMCA with open arms,” said FMCA Executive Director Jerry Yeatts. “The Deschutes County Fair and Expo provides a great venue for the FMCA Family Reunion behind the backdrop of the beautiful Cascades. FMCA’s Tour Connection, powered by Fantasy RV Tours, has put together some outstanding caravans that lead right up to this grand event in Redmond. We look forward to experiencing all the excitement and adventure of meeting in the great Northwest.”

“We are eager to welcome back FMCA for their 90th Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase next August,” said Roxia Thornton Todoroff, director of sales at the Deschutes Fair & Expo and the 2013 Redmond Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitor’s Bureau board president. “On behalf of Deschutes Fair and Expo and the Redmond Chamber of Commerce, Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, we are ready to roll out our red carpet welcome to all attendees. We invite FMCA members to come early and stay longer to enjoy all of the fun activities, great food and drink, entertainment, recreation and adventure found here in Redmond, Central Oregon, and the entire great state of Oregon.”

Also in 2014, FMCA will return for an eighth time to Perry, Ga., for a Family Reunion & Motorhome Showcase, March 17-20. 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.

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 of local sites and scenes, daytime and evening entertainment, and numerous social activities.

For more information, visit FMCA.com or call the FMCA national office at (800) 543-3622 or (513) 474-3622.

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FMCA Wraps Up Successful 50th Birthday Rally

June 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

FMCA members shop vendors at 50th Anniversary Rally

Things couldn’t have gone much better for the independent Family Motor Coach Association’s (FMCA) Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase, held last week (June 19-22) on the association’s 50th anniversary at an elaborate and relatively remote 1,100-acre venue called CAM-PLEX in the northeast Wyoming community of Gillette.

“It was a great event,” FMCA Executive Director Jerry Yeatts told RVBUSINESS.com as he made his way home on Monday (June 24). “We had nearly 2,300 family members in attendance and we had the best number of display coaches that we’ve had in a long time, and I think we had some record sales as far as our indoor exhibitors are concerned. So, all in all, it was a fantastic event with plenty of celebration involving our 50th anniversary.”

Recognizing the association’s Golden Anniversary in Gillette was a “nostalgia room” full of FMCA paraphernalia as well as the showing in an on-site theater of old video clips from previous events and a 1973 film called “Peaceful Invasion” about FMCA members converging en masse on Du Quoin, Ill.

Also drawing plenty of attention in Gillette was a prominent display of privately owned Flxble coaches — iconic, aerodynamic units dating back to the 1950’s that were converted from over-the-road buses. The Flxible has been featured in FMCA’s logo since its inception.

Although Yeatts said he hadn’t had a chance yet to touch bases with several outdoor exhibitors, including a good representation of North America’s major motorhome builders, the word from interior vendors pitching everything from campgrounds to food processors and RV parts and accessories at the CAM-PLEX’s Wyoming Center was consistently upbeat.

Traffic was steady at FMCA's rally in Gillette

“It was one of the busiest events that we’ve had as far as traffic in the indoor exhibits,” said Yeatts on behalf of the Cincinnati-based owners group. “And in speaking to many of them, they were quite pleased with the outcome of sales. As for the outdoor exhibits, there were a few that said they were pleased and one that I had a chance to touch bases with who described their experience here as ‘awesome,’ whatever that means in terms of sales.”

At the same time, Yeatts agrees, the general picture in Gillette seemed to be an affirmation in many ways of the vitality of today’s consumer marketplace with so many coaches in such a remote location – a city of about 30,000 that’s been growing by leaps and bounds in recent years due to vast area reserves of coal, oil and coal bed methane gas. The Wyoming Center, a 9,000 seat arena, was completed in 2008 at the sprawling CAM-PLEX, which hosts events ranging from concerts and balls to the National High School Finals Rodeo.

Yeatts, for his part, was highly complimentary of the CAM-PLEX staff, especially in its supportive response after a fairly strong hail storm that swept across the area on Saturday, the last day of the convention.

“Well, it definitely wasn’t an easy-to-get-to location for us,” said Yeatts, “but I think the family members who came just had a great experience, a great time – even with some storms that came through on Friday and Saturday. We did experience some damage from about an inch and a half of pea-sized hail that fell on Saturday afternoon, which dampened the ending of our indoor and outdoor exhibits. The water actually came through the doors of the Wyoming Center. So, it was quite a storm. But, thankfully, the damage was minimal, no one was injured and we all kind of took it in stride.”

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Fla. County Officials Strive to Keep FMCA Rally

February 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

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RVers Will Follow if FMCA Tampa Rally Leaves

February 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

To view the entire article click here.

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FMCA Chapter Looks at Relocating Annual Rally

January 31, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

To read the entire article click here.

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’12 Country Coach Friendship Rally Draws 170

August 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The 2012 Second Annual Country Coach Friendship Rally drew 170 highline motorcoach owners to the Junction City, Ore., community for the July 24-28 event. According to a press release, the rally was presented by Country Coach Friends Inc. (CCFI), an international chapter of Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA).

During the rally, the group donated $9,600 dollars to Junction City Local Aid and God’s Storehouse in Harrisburg. Money was raised through raffle ticket sales and a live auction. Last year, the rally attendees donated over $8,000 two these organizations which provide emergency assistance to families in need. The presentation of the $9,600 in total monies raised to the two food banks will take place later this week at the Junction City Local Aid.

Many of the 170 motorcoachers have extended their stay in the Junction City community, enjoying the south Willamette Valley. The annual CCFI Club Rally event returns to Oregon each year for the Friendship Rally, which is in close proximity to the former manufacturing headquarters for  Country Coach Inc.

Due to the growth rate of the club, other venues in Eugene and Albany area are being explored for 2013’s rally site.

 

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Good Sam Announces Schedule for ’13 Rallies

July 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The Good Sam Club today (July) announced the dates for the organization’s two scheduled rallies in 2013.

According to a press release, the first event will be held April 11-14 in Albuquerque, N.M., at the Balloon Fiesta Field, followed by a June 13-16 rally in Syracuse, N.Y., at the New York State Fair.

“Many club members and RV industry personnel have been asking about our 2013 Rally schedule,” said Marcus Lemonis, chairman and CEO of the Good Sam Club and Camping World Inc. “In 2012, we expanded our rally schedule to make the events accessible to more members. After the terrific response we got from both members and exhibitors at our 2012 Louisville Rally last month and at our Phoenix rally earlier this year, we determined that we would schedule two Rallies in 2013.”

Good Sam is still accepting reservations for the last of the three 2012 Rallies presented by DISH, to be held in Daytona, Fla., at the Daytona International Speedway, Nov. 2-4. Entertainment at the Daytona Rally will feature country superstar Reba McEntire and American Idol’s Katharine McPhee.

“With an exciting location like the Daytona International Speedway, the outstanding entertainment, not to mention all of the great rally activities, we are expecting a big turnout and a great time for all of our guests,” said Lemonis.

 

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Fleetwood Owners Converge on Elkhart County

June 29, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Fleetwood owners enjoy this week's rally in Elkhart County

Despite the oppressive heat, Fleetwood RV Inc.’s national “Back Home in Indiana” rally got off to a good start last night (June 28) with a large assemblage of 335 coaches at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds in Goshen, Ind. This is the Decatur, Ind.-based company’s fourth national rally and is actually the second largest since Fleetwood, established in 2009 when American Industrial Partners Capital Fund IV LP of New York acquired the Decatur operations of Fleetwood Enterprises Inc., set up shop some 70 miles southeast of Goshen. Along with displays of 2013 product lines, Fleetwood’s owners are being treated to a busy schedule of supplier seminars and family-oriented activities and entertainment, according to Director of Marketing Steve Hileman. “It’s going very well,” said Hileman, seated Friday in a new longer 35-foot version of the compact Excursion Class A that debuted at last winter’s Louisville Show. “In addition to those 335 owner coaches, we’ve got more than 40 display units on hand. We’re close enough to our plant in Decatur that we’re doing daily buses back to the plant for plant tours, and they’re sold out. It’s incredibly popular. We’ve got a waiting list 50-people long just to get on the bus every day. It’s been a breath of fresh air, honestly, to have this sort of a homecoming rally, bringing everybody to Indiana and getting them here to see the plant. It’s close enough that we can show them a lot of new product. And there’s no one more appreciative of that than our Fleetwood owners.”

 

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Heartland Connects With Owners at June Rally

June 28, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Heartland owners gather for opening day dinner at rally

Heartland Recreational Vehicles welcomed around 280 RVers towing 133 rigs June 14-17 at the Cam-Plex in picturesque Gillette, Wyo., marking the seventh running of the Annual North American Heartland Owners Rally.

According to a press release, the national rally, hosted by the Elkhart, Ind.-based builder, has evolved into a major event for owners as attendees in Gillette represented 34 states and three Canadian provinces. Jim Beletti, director of owners interests for Heartland, reported that a majority of the club members arrived a week early for an informal pre-rally, held at the Box Elder Campground situated on the Cam-Plex grounds.

“Attendees had a great time catching up with friends and making new ones, along with enjoying potlucks, open houses and visiting local restaurants,” Beletti said. “Our goal is to offer something for everybody.”

Founded in March 2008 under the direction of Beletti, the Heartland Owners Club has continued to refine and expand its rally program. The Gillette gathering offered a full range of activities, including nine lifestyle and 13 technical seminars. In addition, local dealer Stalkups RV Superstore provided owners with a first-hand tour of the company’s latest travel trailer and fifth-wheel models.

During the official opening of the rally on Thursday, Heartland Vice President of Sales Coley Brady visited the Cam-Plex, spending the day with club members and delivering an address that evening. “Heartland RV takes great pride in hosting this special event as the rally is a wonderful experience for participants,” Brady said.

Chris Hermon, who recently succeeded Brian Brady as Heartland president, said that the interaction with Heartland’s customer base is not only key to building relationships, but also provides valuable feedback on product.

“Customers drive our decisions every day as we develop and enhance our product lines,” Hermon said. “These kinds of events give us the opportunity to learn more about our products by hearing directly from the people that use them. It’s just one more factor that separates Heartland from the competition.”

During the event, attendees toured some of the landmarks in Gillette, including a trip to the Alpha Butte Mine and the Rock Pile Museum, while also providing a boost to the local business community.

“When the club holds rallies in communities around North America, we have an economic impact on these communities with campground fees paid, diesel fuel bought, and money spent at restaurants and local businesses,” Beletti said.

He also stressed that one of the staples during each rally sponsored by the Heartland Owners Club is to include a “charitable component.”

“This year in Gillette, we selected ‘Blessings in a Backpack’ for our ‘Heartland Gives Back’ initiative,” Beletti said. “I set a goal of $2,000 – enough to fund 25 backpacks of food to feed 25 children for an entire weekend during the school year. I am pleased to report that on the final day of the rally, we presented 94 giving envelopes containing a total of $4,224 – enough to fully fund 53 backpacks.”

 

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