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‘The Rally’ Draws 3,112 Registered RV Rigs

April 22, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Affinity Group Inc.’s (AGI) annual rally — know nationally as ”The Rally” — drew 3,112 registered motorized and towable RVs April 16-20 to an encampment at Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque, N.M., and to exhibits at the Expo New Mexico fairgrounds several miles south.

”We had a big drive-up crowd which really helped — over 200 units,” said Terry Thompson AGI vice president of advertising and sales. ”That was more than we usually get. Some people just  procrastinate.”

The weather was semi-cooperative and snowfall on the second day was unexpected, but not necessarily unusual, with Albuquerque being located in the high desert at more than 4,900 feet above sea level. 

Attendance was off by about 10% from The Rally held last March at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Expo Center in Perry, Ga. ”It was better than we expected because today’s market is difficult,” Thompson said.

About 400 suppliers manned indoor booths and 30 manufacturers and dealers brought about 500 display units to The Rally with some reporting relatively good sales. The indoor booths were particularly popular with packed aisles, especially the day it snowed.

”When the weather is lousy, it’s a homerun for the indoor exhibitors,” Thompson said. ”It was shoulder-to-shoulder on Friday.  People were happy to be there and they were buying product. They weren’t shuffling their feet complaining about not having any money and how bad the economy is. And for a lot of people, this was the first time they were at The Rally.”

The Rally next year will be held July 22-25 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky., the same location where the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) stages its annual national RV trade show.

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Cool, Dry Conditions Mark ‘Rally’ Opening

April 17, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

A city of recreational vehicles is growing at Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque, N.M.

Thousands of RVs have set up camp for “The Rally,” the largest gathering of recreational vehicles in the nation, which opened at 10 a.m. local time today (April 17).

Temperatures were in the 50s this morning and were expected in the 60s and mid-70s by the end of the weekend, according to Terry Thompson, vice president of sales for Affinity Group Inc. (AGI), the event sponsor. 

“What we need it to be is dry and a little bit warmer,” he said.

But Thompson, who is overseeing the commercial exhibits at ‘The Rally,’ and many others have already found one example of something “hot” at ‘The Rally;’ the Keystone RV exhibit which features a free trailer give-away.

“They were jammed with people yesterday coming in to register for the show,” he said. “There was a huge line of people – attendees – picking up their registraiton packets. They walked past the Keystone display and put their names in a barrel.”

The sea of RVs that began converging on the city by mid-week inspired at least five vendors who decided at the last minute to display their products at the show. “That’s been kind of cool,” Thompson added.

Overall, “The exhibit buildings look great, the outdoor exhibits look great. These guys are hoping for a good show,” he said.

The RV city could grow to 10,000 by Friday, with people coming from just about every state in the nation.

For some people, travelling the country is more than just a past-time, reported KOB.com, Albuquerque.

“We do not have a home. This is our home,” said Larry Sockwell of Oakwood, Texas, one of ‘The Rally’ attendees. “It’s not so much as how far you go, it’s what you get to see.”

Most of the events for the rally will happen at the State Fairgrounds, with a bus service taking people to and from Balloon Fiesta Park.

The event is hosted by the Good Sam Club, the world’s largest RV owners’ group with more than 1.5 million member families nationwide, along with Camping World President’s Club, Camp Club USA, Coast to Coast Resorts, Woodall’s and Trailer Life and MotorHome magazines. All the organizations are either owned by or affiliated with AGI, the nation’s largest provider of outdoor recreation clubs, services, media and events, headquartered in Ventura, Calif.

RVBusiness magazine and RVBUSINESS.com are also owned by AGI.

RVBusiness.com will provide frequent video direct from the event.

The festivities end on Monday.

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‘Good Buzz’ as ‘The Rally’ Opening Nears

April 13, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

RVers from across North America are converging on Albuquerque, N.M., this week for the 10th annual  “The Rally,” the nation’s largest gathering of RVs.

affinity3At last count, there were 2,759 rigs registered for the event, according to Terry Thompson, vice president of sales for Affinity Group Inc. (AGI) and in charge of commercial sales for the event. The four-day event officially begins Friday morning.

Thompson has spoken with manufacturers and dealers displaying new products at “The Rally” and said the event has created “a good buzz around town.”

Clear skies and temperatures in the 70s created perfect conditions for set-up today, he noted. Slightly cooler but dry conditions are forecast for Friday’s opening.

For thousands of RVers, “The Rally” is the event and vacation destination of the year. RV newbies and veterans alike will gather to share the popular recreation lifestyle through seminars, exhibits, entertainment, games and meetings with industry experts from around the world.

New to this year’s event, attendees will be able to tune into “Reality RV” to watch and learn as Brian Brawdy, a well-known spokesman for eco-awareness, and his co-pilot live in his biodiesel-powered Lance Model 1181 camper on The Rally grounds. A former New York police investigator, Brawdy now travels North America full time inspiring individuals to take a proactive role in their lives and the environment. He will be challenged to show how traveling by RV conserves many resources. Cameras installed in his rig will frequently monitor and broadcast Brawdy’s quest on a large outdoor screen. 

Attendees will also have the opportunity to “take home the green” as “The Rally” hosts the first Going Green ideas contest, which invites participants to submit green inventions or concepts to make RVs more environmentally friendly. 

“RVers spend vast amounts of time in the great outdoors, so it’s only natural that they want to help preserve and improve the environment they enjoy so much,” said Sue Bray, AGI vice president and executive director of the Good Sam Club. “These two initiatives give participants the opportunity to make a real difference for generations of RVers to come.” 

The event is hosted by the Good Sam Club, the world’s largest RV owners’ group with more than 1.5 million member families nationwide, along with Camping World President’s Club, Camp Club USA, Coast to Coast Resorts, Woodall’s and Trailer Life and MotorHome magazines. All the organizations are either owned by or affiliated with Affinity, the nation’s largest provider of outdoor recreation clubs, services, media and events, headquartered in Ventura, Calif.

RVBusiness magazine and RVBUSINESS.com are also owned by Affinity.

RVBusiness.com will provide frequent video direct from the event.

“RV Buddies,” an adventure lifestyle show distributed as an Internet Television production on its own website, on Apple iTunes and other distribution channels will be doing extensive filming at “The Rally.”

“RV Buddies is thrilled to be at ‘The Rally’ this year,” said Mark Summers, executive producer and host of the show adding, “This is more than an RV exhibit; this one brings together all aspects of the RV community in one place.”

‘RV Buddies’ plans an extensive tour of the latest in RV accessories a look at some of the new coaches on display.

Slated for inclusion are the annual dog show (this year they’re calling it “Show Your Tricks… on Route 66″), a variety of youth segments for younger RVers (including balloon art, face painting and oreo-eating contests), The Red Hat Ladies Tea group (which boasts a membership of over one million), Brian Brawdy’s Eco-RV and the “Hole in the Wall” camps. Hole in the Wall was founded in 1988 by the late actor Paul Newman and is the official charity of Affinity.

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‘The Rally’ Sponsors Aim for 3,000 RV Rigs

March 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

“RVers spend vast amounts of time in the great outdoors, so it’s only natural that they want to help preserve and improve the environment they enjoy so much,” said Sue Bray, vice president and executive director of the Good Sam Club. “These two initiatives give participants the opportunity to make a real difference for generations of RVers to come.”

More than 9 million people in the U.S. now own RVs. For thousands of RVers, The Rally is the event and vacation destination of the year. RV newbies and veterans alike will gather to share the wildly popular recreation lifestyle through seminars, exhibits, entertainment, games and meetings with industry experts from around the world.

The Rally is an annual event hosted by the Good Sam Club, the world’s largest RV owners’ group with more than 1.5 million member families nationwide, along with Camping World President’s Club, Camp Club USA, Coast to Coast Resorts, Woodall’s and Trailer Life and MotorHomemagazines. All the organizations are either owned by or affiliated with Affinity, the nation’s largest provider of outdoor recreation clubs, services, media and events, headquartered in Ventura, Calif.

RVBusiness magazine and RVBUSINESS.com are also owned by Affinity.

Going Green contest participants are asked to submit an initial outline of their projects by April 10 to Bob Difley at goinggreen@affinitygroup.com, or by mail to “Going Green” ideas contest 2009, 2575 Vista del Mar Drive, Ventura, CA 93001.

Daily admission is $10 for adults, and a second day’s free pass can be obtained at The Rally site; children 12 and under are free. Admission is also free for Albuquerque area Boy Scouts and their immediate families on Sunday, April 19, provided they wear their Boy Scout uniforms. RV sites start at $169 for two people. Additional information and registration can also be found online at www.therally.com.

For more information, visit www.therally.com. To learn more about Brawdy’s adventure, log onto www.brianbrawdy.com or www.wonderexplorebelieve.net.

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