Forget the 16-degree Sunday temperature and sharp wind — Delmer and Janet Berry of Bertrand, Neb., were visualizing the summer waves of Harlan Reservoir lapping just outside their brand new 35-foot travel trailer.
“There’s a picture window in the back,” Delmer said. “I can just back it up to the lake and look out.”
“There’s so much room,” Janet said as she relaxed on an upholstered love seat that makes out into a double bed.
The Berrys bought the nearly $30,000 Outback Utra-Lite trailer at the 34th Annual Mid-Nebraska RV and Boat Show this past weekend. They discovered the trailer on Saturday (Jan. 29) and bought it Sunday.
“I just peek in,” Janet said of how she looks for travel trailers. “I don’t even go in if I don’t think it will work. It’s got to have the back living room.”
When she peeked into the Outback Ultra-Lite, she immediately noticed the coveted back living room that the Berrys feel is a must have to accommodate their grandchildren, who often attend camping outings.
She walked past the paneled refrigerator and freezer, past the dual sink, stove and microwave and stood in amazement at the back living room.
“It’s got two slides, so it’s bigger back here,” Delmer said.
The slides extend the width of the trailer on both sides — so inside the living room, two recliners and the love seat were separated by enough floor space for a Twister game or multiple grandkids sprawled out in sleeping bags.
Even the ceiling height was higher than most, featuring a curve to add head room as well as architectural appeal.
But the two slides in the living room weren’t the only ones. The master bedroom featured the trailer’s third slide. The slide contained a clothes closet that when slid out gives walking room all the way around the trailer’s queen size bed.
Tony Staab, owner of Rich and Sons RV of Grand Island that sold the Berrys the trailer, said multiple slides are extremely popular. They give extra space and added features, he said.
“There’s always new technology that saves weight and gives more square footage,” Staab said.
That new technology makes a lot of the new trailers pullable by a regular pickup or sport utility vehicle, he said.
The Berrys weren’t the only ones in their family to upgrade their camping digs at the weekend show. Delmer’s cousin, Mike Shroeder of Holdrege, also bought a new trailer.
“We’re upgrading from one slide to three —and it has a king-size bed,” Schroeder said as he visited the Berrys’ new investment.
Delmer Berry said a niece also purchased a new trailer. Berry’s three sisters, three brothers and their families often gather throughout the summer at Harlan, Johnson Lake or Hall County Park. They had more than 90 family members in attendance at a recent family reunion — and 10 sleeping in their old camper last year.
“We camped 87 nights last year from April until the snow flew,” he said.
Staab said contrary to what some may think, a hike in gas prices does not typically deter camping outings. “This is recreation; they don’t go too far,” Staab said.
Camping is good family time and friend time too, Janet Berry said. “You meet the nicest people camping,” she said.
Camping is such a relaxing, fun way to spend time, that Janet Berry said she had no problem saying “yes” Sunday to what is now the couple’s third camper purchased from Rich and Sons RV.
“I had a choice of a new kitchen or a new camper and I wanted the camper,” she laughed.
The new camper has a built-in entertainment center that rises and lowers from living room cabinetry and will have satellite once the couple converts it over from their present camper. It also features central heating and air conditioning.
The three-day Mid-Nebraska RV and Boat Show that ended Sunday was sponsored by Rich and Sons RV, Dykeman’s Camper Place of Hastings, Eagle Crest RV of Grand Island, SeaLand Marine of Norfolk and Brad’s Marine of Hastings.
It was held in the Nebraska State Fair Exhibition Building at Fonner Park.
The 34th Annual Mid-Nebraska RV and Boat Show has a new home this year in Grand Island, Neb.
While the event will still be at Fonner Park, this year it will be in the Nebraska State Fair Exhibition Building, the Grand Island Independent reported.
Tony Staab, owner of Rich and Sons RV of Grand Island, said the new location will allow exhibitors more floor space to show the public this year’s latest RV and boat offerings.
Rich and Sons RV, along with Dykeman’s Camper Place of Hastings, Eagle Crest RV of Grand Island, SeaLand Marine of Norfork and Brad’s Marine of Hastings, are this year’s sponsors of the Mid-Nebraska RV and Boat Show. The show will run from noon to 8 p.m. today (Jan. 28) and Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
With the increase in space offered by the Exhibition Building, Staab said, his company will increase the number of RVs it will show to 44, with a total of 85 to 100 RVs on exhibit. He said the number of boats will be between 25 and 30.
For many years, the RV and boat show was in the Fonner Park concourse. Then it expanded to include the Heartland Events Center.
“This is the first year in the exhibition center, and it is all under one roof,” Staab said. “It will be a lot easier for people coming to see the RVs and boats.”
As with every year of the show for the last 34, it will feature the latest in RVs and boats.
“We always try to have something new and different,” Staab said. “We have new models and a lot of new and exciting things.”
For example, Staab said there will be a “patented” outdoor patio on one of the fifth-wheels, which will be located at the entrance of their display.
“There are some neat things that the RV industry has been doing this year,” he said. “Our manufacturers are staying on top of things. We’ve got some new things to show people.”
Staab said the market for RVs has been doing “very well.”
“We are getting ready for another good year,” he said. “What it all boils down to is our economy has been pretty steady and solid, mainly because of our agricultural base.”
The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) said its year-end shipment total for towable and motorized RVs in 2010 was 242,300 units.
RVIA expects a total of 246,000 shipments this year — a 4% increase over the 2010 forecast. Increases are expected for every type of RV in 2011, with the gains mainly due to improvements in retail sales rather than the restocking needs of the dealer networks.
The recreational boat market — which includes boats, propulsion systems and accessories — is projected to rebound from depressed 2009 levels and grow 9.3% annually through 2014. Powerboats will pace the boat category, driven by technological advances such as newer propulsion systems and more advanced electronics.
While many people associate an RV with retirees, Staab said the average age of his customers is in the low 40s.
“It is something people are finding that, while their kids are still young and they still think mom and dad are still fun to be around, they are using their family times on the weekends and taking them camping,” he said.
RV dealers are always bringing in new models, he said, allowing people either to trade up or buy their first RV.
“What we are also finding is that interest rates are extremely low, and we have good low rates for the show that we have negotiated with the banks,” Staab said. “Between that and the discounts, it is a great thing for people to find their RV with spring right around the corner.”