The Great Plains states suffered through a drought most of the past summer, so it’s ironic that rainstorms during the Family Motor Coach Association’s (FMCA) gathering Oct. 1-3 turned the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson into a sea of mud.
Despite the weather, FMCA members “said they had a wonderful time,” according to Jerry Yeatts, director of convention and commercial services. “They are seasoned RVers, they weren’t going to let the weather get in the way of their enjoying the lifestyle.”
The FMCA, with the help of fairgrounds staff and Hutchinson area residents with tractors, helped pull some motorhomes out of the mud and found dry ground, including Wal-Mart and Target store paved parking lots, where attendees could stay during the event.
Some motorcoach owners stayed a day or two longer, to give other attendees time to move their motorhomes out of the way, so they could drive out of the fairgrounds without difficulty.
The gathering in Hutchinson, which the FMCA called its 68th Premier International Motorhome Extravaganza, attracted of 4,716 motorhomes, including 3,667 family coaches and 1,049 exhibit coaches, according to the Cincinnnati-based membership association.
The FMCA’s Governing Board, meeting in Hutchinson, also decided to change the name of its twice-a-year international gatherings from extravaganzas to conventions.
Attendance in Hutchinson was lower than its gathering in Redmond, Ore. in August 2001, but Yeatts believes that occurred because some FMCA members have school-age children and could not travel to an event in October.
The gathering in Oregon drew 4,196 family coaches and a total of 5,331 coaches.
“We (the FMCA) don’t plan on making this an annual event,” said Yeatts, who added that October dates were set because the weather in Kansas is too hot during July and August.
The FMCA’s next international convention will be March 21-23 in Pomona, Calif., at the Fairplex, the site of FMCA conventions in 1993, 1997 and 2000.
Its second gathering in 2003 will be July 18-20 near Buffalo, N.Y.