RVs line the Phoenix Raceway at previous Good Sam rally

Punctuating a strong year on the RV show circuit, Good Sam Enterprises LLC rolls out its third consumer rally this weekend as more than 3,300 rigs have gathered for the Nov. 2-4 event at Florida’s famed Daytona International Speedway.

“We had more than 3,300 rigs registered and probably will approach 3,500,” Terry Thompson, vice president of sales for Good Sam, told RVBUSINESS.com while directing traffic Thursday at the Speedway. “We’re anticipating a really strong public gate as well.”

Thompson noted that 2012 marked the first year that Good Sam had managed three shows. He said that earlier runs in Phoenix and Louisville, Ky., generated strong gates and may have set the table for the Daytona edition.

“We had 3,370 rigs in Phoenix and 2,033 in Louisville,” Thompson said. “Obviously, we’re above that for Daytona, so with the public gate it’s lining up to be our best rally of the year. I think that people who attended our first two rallies got out the word that they were great events and that brought more people to Daytona.”

While weather is forecasting to be ideal this weekend with warm temperatures and sunshine, Rally Director Sue Bray noted that a brush with “Superstorm” Sandy earlier in the week posed some concerns.

“Sandy fortunately didn’t hit here,” said Bray. “It passed by before we were set up. We have a huge tent that houses all of the vendors but the scaffolding is all that was in place.”

Thompson said that over 25 manufacturers signed on for the rally and are blanketing the infield with new product at the expansive Speedway facility.

“The great thing about having a rally at Daytona is that people can test drive vehicles on the racetrack,” he said. “That’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Of course, the hope is that they also buy the unit they’re testing.”

Over 300 10-foot by 10-foot vendor booths are set up under the tent, also positioned in the infield area. In addition, Bray said that the rally features 25 seminars each day along with a non-stop roster of special events and attractions.

“When people aren’t looking at RVs, they’ll have plenty to keep them busy,” Bray said. “There’s a veteran’s parade, a dog show and numerous optional tours, along with fireworks displays.”

Headlining the entertainment lineup for the rally are country superstars Reba McEntire and Kenny Rogers.

“We are looking forward to a great rally,” Thompson said. “I think that the fact we’re seeing these kinds of numbers in early November – even before the big influx of snowbirds – is a real good sign that our industry is in good shape.”