“Sometimes it feels like being the Wizard of Oz – pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” said Bob Byrne, who has been at the helm of the Forest River Owners Group’s FROG International Rally. The 2023 event, which wrapped up last week, brought some 370 RVs together at the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds in Goshen, Ind.
For six days, RVers from all over North America gathered. While many of the first-timers come to the rally because Forest River has factory technicians who will perform up to three repairs for rigs three model years or newer, many of the people who spoke with RVBusiness indicated that they had been coming for many years due to the fellowship.
There were also workshops and seminars by RV suppliers and component manufacturers, and plenty of aftermarket accessories.
In fact vendors seemed pleased with the results as there was a steady stream of attendees through the halls. From tire pressure monitors to polishing compounds, technological goodies and even baked goods there was quite a variety.
Jeff Gaston from My RV School was demonstrating his new invention, a compact folding ladder that allows easy egress from an RV in the event of a disaster. “People are eating it up – it’s really an important RV safety item,” said Gaston.
This was the first time attending for Tony and Tina who are YouTubers. “We wanted to attend seminars to see what we could learn about our RV and it exceeded our expectations,” said Tina. “It’s interesting how people with everything from a Mini Lite to a Georgetown can get together and swap stories. We all have the same likes about camping and talking about rigs.”
They were also complimentary of the meal service at the event, which included four dinners and six breakfasts.
At the closing breakfast, groups gathered and took photos of the new friends they had made during the event. And the graciousness of the attendees was one of the bigger highlights for many.
According to Byrne, the rally is heavily subsidized by Forest River but the heartbeat may be the volunteers. “I could not do this without the volunteers. You are the lifeblood of this event,” he said.
As a cap to the morning, Byrne’s final statement may be the best of all: “We know there are other companies where you can get an RV but we appreciate you choosing ours.”