Hall Induction Ceremony Set to Kick Off Aug. 5

July 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

RV/MH Hall of Fame

The industry is gearing for the RV/MH Hall of Fame induction ceremony, set to run Aug. 5 at the Hall’s facility on the north side of Elkhart, Ind.

According to a press release, the day begins with the Annual Golf Classic at Bent Oak Golf Club in Elkhart. The golf outing starts at 7 a.m. with a full breakfast at Bent Oak. At 8:30 a.m. the golf begins with a shotgun start, followed immediately after the golf round with an awards luncheon.

That evening, the events surrounding the induction dinner for the Class of 2013 begin at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception in the Grand Hall at the RV/MH Hall of Fame, followed by the dinner and induction ceremonies. This year’s class will include the following RV/MH industries’ pioneers and leaders:

• Kirwan Elmers, Custom Coach

• C.M. Fore (deceased), Foretravel Inc.

• Lawrence C. Lippert, Lippert Components Inc.

• Matthew Perlot (deceased), Safari Motorhomes

• Thomas Walworth, Statistical Surveys, Inc.

• Craig M. Bollman, Mobile Home Communities

• Theresa Desfosses, State Manufactured Homes

• Thomas P. Meyers, Guerdon Industries

• Claude N. Palmer (deceased), Palmer Homes

Dick Jennison, president and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), a national trade association located in Arlington, Va., will deliver the keynote address.

Barry Cole, president of MH Insurance and the Hall’s chairman, noted, “We are honored to have Dick as our induction dinner keynote speaker as he will be able to give attendees new insight into the state of the manufactured housing industry.”

Darryl Searer, Hall president, said he expects about 400 guests from across the country for this year’s induction ceremonies and urges those planning to attend who have not already made their reservations to make their reservations now. “Seating locations at the dinner are on a first-come, first-served basis, so the earlier someone signs up, the better location they’ll receive.”

Regarding the golf fundraiser, Searer said reservations are below what was expected and he hopes more will sign up in the next two weeks. “The golf outing has historically been great fun for those participating – a chance to interact with clients and potential customers in a relaxed forum, a chance to really get to know them and build lifelong friendships and business relationships,” he said. “The golf event is also an important fundraiser for the Hall. Once the cost of the golf outing itself is deducted, all of the remainder of the funds is used to reduce debt and pay operating expenses. So those who participate in the golf event not only get to enjoy a day of golf with friends and colleagues, they are helping the Hall meet its goal of financial stability.”

Cole added, “I hope all RV/MH industry members will set aside Aug. 5 as not only a day to celebrate the induction of the Class of 2013 into the RV/MH Hall of Fame, but also, celebrate and support the RV/MH Hall of Fame and Museum itself.”

For more information on and to make reservations for the induction dinner and the golf outing, visit

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MHI President Keynoting Hall Induction Dinner

July 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Dick Jennison

The RV/MH Hall of Fame announced today (July 9) that Dick Jennison, president and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), will deliver the keynote address at the 2013 Hall of Fame Induction Dinner.

Jennison, who joined the Arlington, Va.-based trade organization in February 2012, oversees the government relations and advocacy efforts on behalf of all segments of the manufactured housing industry. He also served in senior management roles with Omni Solutions Group, Brick Industry Association, Point-of-Purchase Advertising International, Citizens Bancorp, MCI and AMTRAK.

Darryl Searer, Hall president, said, “We are delighted to have Dick as our Induction Dinner keynote speaker as he will be able to give attendees new insight into the state of the manufactured housing industry.”

The 2013 RV/MH Hall of Fame Induction Dinner will be held on Aug. 5 in Elkhart, Ind.

Searer reports that dinner reservations for this year’s induction ceremonies are running substantially ahead of last year’s event and urges those planning to attend to get the reservations in early to insure preferred seating. “Seating locations at the dinner are on a first-come-first-served basis, so the earlier someone signs up, the better location they’ll receive,” he said.

While dinner reservations are ahead of the 2012 event, Searer said reservations for the 2013 Hall of Fame Golf Classic, a fundraiser for the Hall, is lagging behind.

“We have made some changes in the golf venue that evens the playing field,” Searer said. “For example, at past golf outings teams could buy as many ‘Mulligan Packages’ as they wanted, which meant that teams that invested in the most ‘Mulligan Packages’ regardless of their skill level, could almost buy a victory for their team. Under the new guidelines, each team will be limited to only one ‘Mulligan Package’ and, therefore, the golf outing winners will be earned through their team’s golfing skills rather than the amount of money they are willing to spend on the packages.”

The 2013 Golf Classic will also be held on Aug. 5, at the Bent Oak Golf Club in Elkhart. The event begins at 7 a.m. with a full breakfast. At 8:30 a.m., the golf begins with a shotgun start, followed immediately after the golf round with an awards luncheon.

“Monday, Aug. 5, is an important day for the Hall,” Searer said, “and I urge everyone to set aside the day to celebrate the induction into the RV/MH Hall of Fame the Class of 2013, hear our keynote speaker Dick Jennison, and participate in our Annual Golf Classic fundraiser.”

For more information on the Induction Dinner and the golf outing, visit


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RV Hall to Host Two ‘Lincoln Highway’ Events

June 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The RV/MH Hall of Fame will play a part in the Lincoln Highway centennial celebration by hosting two events.

A caravan of 25 vintage RVs will travel along Lincoln Highway and make a stop at the Hall of Fame to spend the night with the hall’s museum display of vintage RVs on June 24, according to a press release from the Hall. The campers, called the Tin Can Tourists, will be available for public viewing from 6 to 8 p.m. that night.

The Hall will also be visited by up to 100 antique automobiles traveling the Lincoln Highway. The automobiles are expected to arrive at 4 p.m. on June 26.

The RV/MH Hall of Fame is located at 21565 Executive Parkway in Elkhart, Ind.

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Hall of Fame Seeking Class of ’14 Nominations

May 28, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

"Wall of Fame'" displays past inductees

The RV/MH Hall of Fame Selection Committee has issued a call for nominations for the Class of 2014.

“The Hall welcomes nominations from all RV and manufactured housing sectors — manufacturers, dealers, campgrounds, housing communities, suppliers, user groups, trade media and associations — for the class of 2014 and beyond,” Darryl Searer, Hall president, said in a press release.

The RV/MH Heritage Foundation board recently approved an improved process for nominating and has made the nomination guidelines and forms available online at

According to the new guidelines, anyone can nominate a person to the Hall of Fame that meets the eligibility requirements. The only people who may not be considered are those who currently serve on the Hall Selection Committee. To be eligible the nominee must be, or have been, an active participant in any segment of the recreation vehicle or manufactured housing industries for a minimum of 25 years.

Also, the nomination form must be filled out in its entirety and must be accompanied by three supporting letters (no more, no less) that meet the Hall’s guidelines. Incomplete nominations cannot be considered. If the nominee is not selected within three years, he or she remains eligible only if the nomination is resubmitted and refreshed with additional information.

When evaluating a potential nominee, the selection committee will consider the nominee’s overall contributions to the good of the industry, to include both his or her positions, accomplishments and innovations on the job as well as volunteer work both inside and outside the industry, with special emphasis on volunteer work done on behalf of state and national associations and owner groups, the Hall of Fame itself and other industry-related organizations and causes. Favorable responses to these two basic questions are good starting points for Hall consideration.

If a completed nomination form and three properly prepared seconding letters are received by Oct. 31 of any year, the nominee will be in the pool of candidates considered for the following year’s class and for two years beyond that if not selected that year

The Hall’s Selection Committee will announce its selections in January and those chosen will be inducted at the Hall’s Annual Induction dinner in August. The Hall’s bylaws allow for up to 10 inductees per year.

Searer said, “The Selection Committee is made up of an equal number of members of the RV and manufactured housing industries, and members will only vote on nominees from their respective industries.”

Once the nomination form and supporting letters have been completed, the nominations may be submitted by mail, in person at the Hall, or by fax at (574) 293-3466.


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Searer Burns Note During RV Power Breakfast

May 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

RV/MH Hall President Darryl Searer 'Burns the Note'

Over 400 RV industry leaders attending the 1st Annual RV Industry Power Breakfast on May 9 witnessed Darryl Searer, president of the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind., ceremoniously burning the organization’s bank note to 1st Source Bank.

“I am proud to announce that on April 30, thanks to the support of many of you in this room and many more individuals and companies in both the RV and MH industries across the USA and Canada, we met a challenge goal set by the Ingram family,” Searer said in press release.

The ceremony marked the successful conclusion to the Hall’s “Burn the Bank Note” fundraiser campaign where the Hall raised $150,000 in contributions and earned an additional $50,000 from a challenge grant offered by the Boots Ingram family.

In early 2012, the Hall was suffering the results of the recession and teetering on defaulting on the bank note that would have forced the Hall to close its doors.  At that time the bank note was $840,000.  However, through some management changes and belt tightening along with several fundraising campaigns, the Hall was able to pay off the debt in record time.

Searer said, “This marks a significant milestone in our efforts to make the Hall debt free and ensure the long-term viability of this important community attraction. Indeed, our future looks very promising. This goal could not have been achieved without the generous support of members of the RV and manufactured housing industries and especially the Boots Ingram family.”

Searer pointed out while this achievement is a major hurdle overcome, it does not make the Hall debt free. “We have two more loans to go — $600,000 to pay off the David Woodworth antique RV collection and the final note of $3 million is to the Ingram family, He said. “The Ingram family has been extremely gracious and supportive of the Hall of Fame in honor of the late Boots Ingram. As long as we meet our monthly obligations, this note will pay off with $2 million as the Ingram’s are matching the principle payment by 50%.”

Searer recognizes that the Hall still has some challenges ahead, but he remains optimistic.  His goal is for the Hall to be completely debt free by 2020.


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Hall of Fame Beats ‘Challenge Grant’ Deadline

May 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

RV/MH Hall of Fame

Editor’s Note: To view a related video from FOX 28, Elkhart, Ind., click here.

With less than 12 hours to go before the RV/MH Hall of Fame’s April 30 deadline and $20,000 shy of meeting the Ingram Family’s $50,000 challenge grant, two “angels” stepped forward.

According to a press release, donations of $15,000 and $5,000 raised the total to $150,000, reaching the desired goal set forth in the Hall’s “Burn the Bank Note” fundraising campaign.

“The Ingram’s offered a $50,000 challenge grant if supporters of the Hall could raise contributions totaling $150,000 by April 30 – and we did, said Darryl Searer, president of the RV/MH Hall of Fame. “On behalf of the Hall’s board, I would like to thank all of those who contributed and helped us achieve this success. I continue to be amazed by the generosity of those who believe in the Hall’s mission and continue to open their hearts and pocketbooks. We cannot thank them enough.”

Searer said that the Hall’s bank loan to 1st Source Bank had been reduced from $840,000 in early 2012 to $50,000.   He said, “I spoke with Tony Ingram last night with the good news and was assured that the $50,000 check is in the mail and we’ll be able to pay off the bank loan soon. As soon as the Ingram’s check arrives, the bank loan will be retired with a blazing “Burn the Bank Note” ceremony.”

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Spring Hall of Fame Show Sees Strong Traffic

April 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

By Sunday morning, Elkhart-based Total Value RV of Indiana reported five sales and “great traffic.”

An early morning rain shower may have dampened the grounds Sunday (April 28) at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind., but it apparently did little to stymie enthusiasm and turnout for the final day of the first-ever Spring Hall of Fame RV Show, hosted by the Indiana Manufactured Housing Association-Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council Inc. (IMHA-RVIC).

“The show’s been going very well,” noted Matt Rose, director of recreation vehicles for Indianapolis-based IMHA-RVIC. “Friday was a little slow, but Saturday’s traffic was wonderful. And even with the rain today, there’s been a steady stream of people coming in all day. The cloudy skies have not deterred the crowd at all. I don’t have anything to compare it to because it’s the first year, but the traffic has been surprisingly good.”

According to Rose, the spring event grew out of a request from dealers familiar with other RVIC events.

“Four of the seven dealers showing here were with us in South Bend, and two of them were at our show in Fort Wayne,” Rose pointed out. “They did so well in those locations that they asked the association to do a spring show to help kick off the summer selling season.

“The dealers are quite happy with the show,” he added. “They are doing very, very well. One dealer reported selling two units just in the morning on Friday.”

With an open, well-equipped display that ranged from Flagstaff SuperLite travel trailers by Forest River Inc. to Thor Industries Inc.’s Palazzo and Tuscany motorhomes, Elkhart-based Total Value RV of Indiana Inc. had what salesman Scott Moody termed a “fantastic” show.

“We’ve already sold five units – three motorhomes and two trailers,” Moody told on Sunday morning. “It’s been a real good show. Today we got a little rain, but the first two days the weather was perfect and we had great traffic.”

The first-ever Spring Hall of Fame RV Show featured motorized and towable units from seven regional dealers.

Gary Miller, with Wana RV Center, also was pleasantly surprised by the amount of traffic.

“It’s going good,” Miller said. “There were quite a few people out yesterday; today, it’s been slower, but there’s still a lot of people out here — quite a few more people than I was expecting, actually.”

According to Miller, Wana RV Center doesn’t necessarily participate in RV shows to generate on-site sales, but to promote increased traffic through its Shipshewana, Ind., showroom.

“We don’t really come to the shows to necessarily sell units – we’re here mainly to display, and encourage interested people to visit our lot where we have a lot more units, different floorplans. This is mainly to introduce them what we have.”

Based on dealer feedback and local turnout, Rose anticipates that the Spring Hall of Fame RV Show will become a regular event.

“We’re planning to make it an annual event,” Rose said. “And as well as the dealers are doing, I am confident that they will want to do it again next spring.”

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Hall of Fame Show Opens With Healthy Traffic

April 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

What’s not to like? These days in the recreational vehicle business, that pretty much sums up everything.

As reported by the South Bend Tribune, even in the opening hours of the spring RV show at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Ind., Friday (April 26), Dave Titus liked what he was seeing.

“I am already pleased with the traffic out here this morning,” said Titus, owner/manager of International RV in Elkhart. The show, which continues Saturday and Sunday, was only 90 minutes old, and Titus already had sold one RV.

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association announced Friday that March shipments of 28,923 units were up 2.8% over March of last year, and 10.7% better than February this year.

It’s no surprise to Titus.

“I think this year is going to be a record breaker for us and for the industry as a whole,” he said.

His own dealership had record-breaking months in January and February, he said. And he sees it continuing. “You look at the (demographic) spread out here,” he said, surveying the large open grounds with RVs adjacent to the Hall of Fame. “I’ve seen people out here with little bitty kids to people up to 75 to 80 years old,” Titus said. “Everybody is doing it.”

To read the entire article click here.

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Rogers Staying at KOA after ‘Power Breakfast’

April 23, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

KOA CEO Jim Rogers

When Jim Rogers comes to Indiana’s Elkhart County next month for the RV Power Breakfast, the Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) chairman plans to stick around through Mother’s Day weekend and stay at the local KOA, according to a press release and a report by the Elkhart Truth.

The weekend, according to current plans, will give local campers two chances to get to know Rogers: They’ll get to screen Rogers’ “Undercover Boss” episode and hear about his experience taping the show, and they’ll also get to help out the KOA charity effort to help children with cancer.

Rogers will speak May 9 at the inaugural RV Industry Power Breakfast at the RV/MH Hall of Fame east of Elkhart, a first-ever event for which some 300 industry-related diners are already signed up. Rogers will bring his camping industry experience to the RV manufacturers and dealer groups in attendance at the breakfast for which tickets are still available at and at the RV/MH Hall of Fame.

Then, he’ll stick around to help promote the major fund-raising weekend for KOA Care Camps, a network of 52 specialized summer camps across North America for children with cancer. The 10th-annual event raises money to give the children a free week of summer camp.

“KOA Care Camps are very dear to my heart, and I’m so proud that my campers are able to help out these special children at a time when they really need the relief that at Care Camp brings,” said Elkhart County/Middlebury KOA owner Hope Perkins in a written announcement about the event. “For thousands of children each summer, KOA Care Camps are an important part of their cure.”

Rogers said, “I can’t wait to come to the Elkhart County/Middlebury KOA to help our campers get a great start on their summer camping season. We’re going to have a ton of fun, and I know owner Hope Perkins has a full weekend of great activities planned that will certainly make it a weekend to remember.”

Rogers went undercover for an episode of the CBS series “Undercover Boss” in January, and after an ice cream social May 10, campers at the Elkhart County KOA will get to watch the episode and hear Rogers’ insider perspective.

Campers who pay to stay Friday night get the next night free, and get to enjoy a vendor and craft fair from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., including children’s crafts and a fishing tournament. There’s also a haystack supper followed by a silent auction and a live auction benefitting the charity along with the vendor booth fees.

Sunday morning will feature church services, followed by a pancake breakfast.

Campers can make reservations by phone at (800) 562-5892 or online at at

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RVIC Hall of Fame Show Slated for April 26-28

April 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The first-ever Spring Hall of Fame RV Show will be held at the RV/MH Hall of Fame & Museum in Elkhart, Ind., April 26-28.

Hosted by the Recreation Vehicle Indiana Council (RVIC), the event will feature six of the area’s top dealers kicking off their summer selling season with special show pricing. Dealers will display the best of their inventory and the selection will include RVs to fit every budget.

“The show offers a tremendous opportunity for buyers to see and compare different models from many different manufacturers,” said Show Director Matt Rose who also serves as director of Recreation Vehicle for RVIC. “And the nice thing is they can see it all here instead of driving around town.”

The show kicks off Friday at 10 a.m. and will run through the weekend.

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