Recreational vehicles rambled into Albert Lea, Minn., this week as the Holiday Rambler Recreational Vehicle Club holds its Region VI-Minnesota Rally at the Freeborn County Fairgrounds.
“Our main theme is to have fun. That’s why we’ve got these rigs, to go out and have fun,” said Larry Witt, of Altoona, region six director.
Participants don’t spend all their time at the fairgrounds, and a big part of the rally is touring and visiting local destinations. People could sign up for a trip to Greibrok’s Mini History Farm and County Fair and the Spam Museum. Another tour showcased Poet Biorefining in Glenville, and another featured Minne-Soy-Ta Nice, a soap making business near Glenville.
“When we’re in the area, we try to see as much of the area as we can,” Witt said.
Some people had dinner at Wedgewood Cove. Groups also toured the Freeborn County Historical Museum.
An informal RV maintenance seminar was held Thursday afternoon, and there will be a few other seminars.
Holiday Rambler owners attending the event come from a variety of professions from doctors to farmers, Witt said. But the weekend is a time to renew friendships made at other rallies.
“You make new friends. Next year, you almost have to be there to renew acquaintances,” said Bert Schelhaas, of Edgerton, the club’s state manager.
About 60 units are expected at the rally. Most of those coming are from the region, including about 20 units from both Minnesota and Iowa. Region VI also includes Nebraska, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota and Manitoba, Canada.
Each state in a region has a state rally, and the regional rally cycles between the state rallies.
The Holiday Ramblers have eight U.S. regions and any members from other regions can attend.
The International Holiday Rambler Rally was held in Sedalia, Mo., July 20-24.
This is the first time the state rally has been in Albert Lea. Organizers are always looking for new locations to hold the rallies.
Karen Asmus, assistant state manager, organized the regional conference in Albert Lea, and she said she knew the fairgrounds would be a good location because the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) held its regional rally there June 17 to 21. Some HRRVC members are also FMCA members.
The HRRVC rally is smaller than FMCA, which attracted about 276 RVs and about 600 people.
Rochester resident Wilbur Schuman and his wife, Marilynn, have been members since the mid-1960s, and he said they’ve owned eight Holiday Ramblers. They now own a 27-foot Aluminite.
Schuman said participants used to bring children to the rallies, which used to be more like camping without electricity.
“Our organization is kind of shrinking, because we’re having trouble getting new members to join with the economy and people working and all that,” Witt said.
Other similar organizations are having the same problem, he said.
Each state brought various items, and they’re raffled for charities. The HRRVC supports a number of charities like the Make a Wish Foundation and Habitat for Humanity, and scholarships are awarded to children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Witt said he decided to buy a Holiday Rambler when he worked for Bell Telephone Co., and he interacted with installers who traveled and often worked in RVs moving from town to town, and many of them had Holiday Ramblers.
“We have fun. Not crazy, wild fun – just nice fun,” said Reona Schelhaas, Bert’s wife.