About 250 people attended the Texas Recreational Vehicle Association’s (TRVA) annual convention recently (Aug. 12-15) in San Antonio where they heard about a new Texas law that will allow dealers to market RVs — but not close sales — on Sundays during RV shows.
Previously, motorized displays had been required to close down on Sundays if they had been open the preceding day.
”Texas ‘Blue Laws’ are strict and dealers weren’t allowed to sell motorized RVs on consecutive Saturdays and Sundays,” said Clark McEwen, TRVA executive director. ”We’ve been introducing a bill for eight years and we finally got it through. It allows us to show prices on units and we’re allowed to quote a price. We can do everything but consummate a sale, which can happen later.
”That was a big accomplishment.”
The new law, effective Sept. 1, ”will be in time for the fall shows,” McEwen noted.
Characterizing activity during the recently adjourned 2011 Legislature as ”defensive,” McEwen said the RV industry dodged a bullet.
”The state was looking at a $23 billion deficit,” McEwen said. ”We were concerned about new taxes and increased fees. Our governor, (Rick Perry), promised not to do that and he held true.”
McEwen said attendance at the convention was the best in the last decade.
”What was on most peoples’ minds is that 2011 is certainly better than ’08 and ’09,” he said, ”but it’s not what people were hoping for, although there are pockets in Texas around oil fields that are doing extremely well.”
The convention at the Westin Riverwalk Hotel — themed ”Hit the Jackpot” — kicked off Friday with a casino night. A golf outing and evening reception and trade show followed on Saturday.
On Sunday, educational seminars followed two speaker tracks — one for dealers and one for campground – and also featured a dealer-only discussion group.
During a Monday annual membership meeting, Diana LeBlanc, general manager of PPL Motorhomes, Houston, was elected president. Other new officers include Vice President J.T. Bowyer, Lone Star RV, Harker Heights; Treasurer John Crouch, Swenson RV, LaFeria; and Secretary Peg Johnson-Lee, Western Campers, Fort Worth.
Alamo Palms in Alamo was named ”Large Park of the Year;” Coyote Ranch, Wichita Falls, ”Medium-size Park of the Year;” and Shady Pines, Texarkana, ”Small Park of the Year.”
TRVA’s ”Lifetime Achievement Award” was presented to Dean Nelson of Professional Sales RV, Colleyville, while Steve Spearing of Crestview RV, Selma, received the ”Outstanding Achievement Award.”
More than 250 representatives from RV manufacturers, dealers and suppliers are expected to attend the Texas Recreation Vehicle Association’s (TRVA) annual convention Aug. 12-15 at the Westin Riverwalk Hotel in San Antonio.
”It’s more than a month before the convention and we’ve already got more attendees signed up than we have had in the past,” said Mary Claire Campos, TRVA director of special events.
The convention will have two speaker tracks — one for dealers and one for park owners.
The convention, themed ”Hit the Jackpot,” will kick off Friday night (Aug. 12) with a casino night, followed on Saturday by a golf outing and a 5 p.m.-7 p.m. reception and trade show.
Among those participating will be Bank of the West, Ally and Bank of America.
”The fact that we’ve got more lenders than we’ve had in three or four years shows that they are getting back into the retail market,” said Clark McEwen, TRVA executive director.
On the dealer track from 8:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Sunday featured guests will be Ed Serna, executive director of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, and Molly Cost, director of the Motor Vehicle Division, who mostly will respond to questions.
”Texas franchise laws are always a sensitive subject,” McEwen said. ”There’s nothing that RV manufacturers should be concerned about regarding our franchise law right now, but if anyone has questions, we’ll have to two most qualified people there to answer them.”
Also, Michael Rees, president of a World of Training, will speak from 10 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Sunday on training in the dealership.
On the park track, speakers Sunday morning will be Bryan Frazier, with the Public Affairs, Promotions and Marketing Division of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; Walter Preble, owner of Rusk (Texas) KOA; and Earl Portnoy, president of Security Reconnaissance.
Sunday morning sessions will be followed by an awards luncheon.
Sunday afternoon the dealer track will consist of three breakout sessions with Serna, Cost, Rees and Dave Russel with Bank of the West, while the parks track will feature an ”Idea Exchange.”
Sunday afternoon also will include a dealers-only discussion group.
Sunday evening TRVA President Dean Nelson of Professional Sales, an RV dealership in Colleyville, will host a reception for all convention participants.
During an 8:30 a.m. Monday breakfast TRVA will have its annual membership meeting and elect new officers.
Clifford W. Houy, of Austin, Texas, former executive director of the Texas Recreation Vehicle Association (TRVA), died Dec. 11. He was 84.
Following a lengthy and distinguished career in the U.S. Air Force, Huoy joined the TRVA in 1970 and led it for 17 years. He wrote and published “The Rules of the Road” for out-of-state tourists. He was highly respected in the RV industry. He was always active in charities and with his church.
He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Bunny; daughter Pamela Porter; three grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.
Visitation was on Dec. 15 at Cook-Walden/Forest Oaks Funeral Home with services there on Dec. 16. Private graveside services were in Fredericksburg, Texas, at the Der Stadt Friedhoff Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The First United Methodist Church on Lavaca or Meals on Wheels, Austin. Condolences may be made at www.cookwaldenforestoaks.com.
Watch a slide show from the TRVA convention in today’s Featured Video.
The 37th Annual Convention of the Texas Recreation Vehicle Association (TRVA), held Aug. 13-16 at the Westin Riverwalk Hotel in San Antonio, attracted one of the largest dealer turnouts in years in the nation’s No.1 state for RV sales.
Some 235 industry people, 65 of them dealers representing about half of Texas sales, attended, according to Clark McEwen, TRVA executive director. Suppliers, lenders and park owners made up the balance of the attendees. “It was absolutely spectacular; the atmosphere was exciting the whole time,” McEwen told RVBUSINESS.com.
Key officials with the newly formed Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, headed by Chairman Victor Vandergriff, were the featured speakers for this year’s convention, the theme of which was “Reaping Benefits and Harvesting Success.”
The convention featured two panel discussions of industry experts. The first focused on retail store/merchandising, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department updates and “Red Flag” and compliance issues. The second dealt with the new state motor vehicle agency as well as parts and service issues. Other speakers included Terry Cooper, “The Texas RV Professor,” and Walter Preble, a high profile and innovative KOA campground operator in Rusk, Texas.
Roundtable forums followed the panel discussions and tended to focus on “hot button” issues of the day.
In his legislative update, McEwen reviewed the upcoming session of the Texas legislature, which will try to mitigate a state deficit expected to reach between $15 billion and $18 billion when it convenes in January.
“The governor says no new taxes, so we expect an onslaught of new fees and fee increases,” McEwen said. “There will be cuts in services. I hope there is not a tremendous increase in fees that will affect our dealers and our parks. I know we are the most effective state association in the country and we will do a good job of protecting our members.”
TRVA handed out several awards:
- Outgoing TRVA President Steve Spearing of Crestview RV, Selma, was given the Lifetime Membership Award in recognition of his service to the association.
- Kevin Ketner of Ancira RV, Boerne, received the Outstanding Achievement Award.
TRVA also honored for the first time the state’s campgrounds. Award recipients were:
- Mill Creek Ranch Resort, Canton, Small RV Park of the Year.
- Jellystone Park at Rustic Creek Ranch, Burleson, Medium RV Park of the Year.
- Llano Grande Lake Park, Mercedes, Large RV Park of the Year.
McEwen said TRVA has little time to rest on its laurels because its popular Southwest RV Supershow runs Sept. 16-19 in Dallas Market Hall, and more than 400 RVs from Texas’ best RV dealers are featured in more than 350,000 square feet of exhibit space at that show.