Randy Ketelsen Randy Ketelsen accepts Larry Coker Award

Randy Ketelsen, president of Ketelsen Campers of Colorado, was honored with the Larry Coker Award at the 2014 ROUTE 66 Rally, Sept. 8-10 at the Hyatt Regency Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The network’s highest honor, the award recognizes a ROUTE 66 dealer who epitomizes the values, vision and brand-building of the network.

Ketelsen, who knew Coker well, was emotionally moved when he realized he was this year’s recipient.

“The moment was so special so, yeah, my emotions got away from me a little bit. But it was heartfelt – it still is,” Ketelsen said, adding that the plaque now sitting prominently in his office brings a smile to his face every day. “It caught me totally off guard and it meant the world to me.”

The annual award is named in memory of Larry Coker, a longtime RV industry colleague and ROUTE 66 employee who unexpectedly passed away in February, 2009. A veteran of the RV industry, Coker provided retail training to ROUTE 66 dealers and was the first person, outside the founding partners, to “really embrace and espouse the network,” said Rob Merrill, ROUTE 66 president and partner.

“He was an inspirational guy. He was a values-based, hard worker. I’m ready to get behind the plow with him right now just thinking about him,” Ketelsen said. “If he couldn’t motivate you, you didn’t deserve to be motivated.”

Ketelsen said he was somewhat embarrassed to be singled out among a group of dealers, all of whom could have also won the award. “I’m flabbergasted because you’re talking about a group of dealers who are the cream of the crop. It’s an honor to be included with them, let along singled out,” he said.

Ketelsen Campers, a full-service dealership located in Wheat Ridge, Colo., was founded by Ketelsen’s father, the late Johnny Ketelsen, in 1962. The business has been a member of the ROUTE 66 RV network for nearly 10 years.

“Being part of ROUTE 66 means we can provide our customers, with confidence, a top of the top great experience,” Ketelsen said. “And then tell them, “˜Here’s 140 others who will treat you in the same way.'”