Settling in this week at an all-new venue, the Family Motor Coach Association’s (FMCA) “Rally in the Valley” has pushed capacity limits at the Rawhide Western Town and Event Center in Chandler, Ariz. (To view a slideshow scroll to the right side of the RVBUSINESS.com home page. Photos provided by Guy Kassleman, FMCA art director).
Organizers are reporting that the FMCA’s 95th International Convention is emerging as one of the strongest gatherings for the Cincinnati-based motorhome owners association in the past several years, hosting an estimated 2,300 member rigs. The organization currently includes more than 70,000 active member families.
“Even in the heat of the day, there are people everywhere,” Robbin Gould, editor of Family Motor Coaching magazine, told RVBUSINESS.com Wednesday. “Yesterday we opened up the exhibits and it was elbow-to-elbow in the manufacturers’ displays and in the vendor hall. We also had a huge public gate, so it’s exciting to see an upward trend in attendance for our conventions.
“We were anticipating a strong show based on the number of early registrations. It just seemed like there was a lot of interest for the convention. We promoted the show quite heavily, but I think it’s also a reflection of the industry’s strength right now.”
The March 7-10 event allows members to reconnect and commune with fellow motorhome enthusiasts while also viewing a full complement of the latest motorhomes and RV accessories and taking in over 100 educational sessions conducted by a slate of RV experts. Gould reported that the rally featured 175 exhibiting companies including 12 manufacturers, 215 display coaches, 36 demo coaches, and almost 240 indoor exhibit booths.
FMCA also added a new component to this year’s agenda with its inaugural “RV Basics” workshop on March 5-6 which served as a prelude to the convention while offering attendees a nuts-and-bolts review of the various systems and operation of their motorhomes.
“The workshop covered a wide variety of topics,” said Gould, noting that the sessions were overseen by “RV Doctor” Gary Bunzer; Mac “The Fire Guy” McCoy; and RV Safety & Education Foundation Executive Director Walter Cannon. “I think around 130 or more people attended. That just catapulted us into the regular slate of seminars which started yesterday afternoon. Education is an important part of what we do and I think is a big reason why a lot of people come to our convention.”
Gould also credited the unique setting at the Rawhide Western Town and Event Center as another factor driving the strong turnout.
“Every convention has its own aura, but this venue offered something very different,” she said. “We held a number of the seminars in the Western town setting, and people really seemed to enjoy it. There were some challenges to overcome just because we dealt with all-new parameters, but it’s also exciting to go to a new spot. Overall, I think the show has been very well received by our members.”