While keeping a vigilant watch on Weather Channel updates with his cell phone, Kenny King was readying this week for what he anticipates could be the largest gathering yet for the Jan. 19-27 Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show — an annual convergence by thousands of RVers to the small Arizona mining town that is marketed and generally acknowledged as “the largest gathering of RVers in the nation.”
Kenny King makes the rounds at last year’s Quartzsite show
King, who has been overseeing the nine-day spectacle since its inception in 1984, is well-versed on the indicators that point to another onslaught of campers descending on the vast acreage at the Arizona Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the Sonora Desert. As always, weather is at the top of the list.
“We’ve been getting a lot of rain this week,” King told RVBUSINESS.com on Tuesday just as another short squall swept through. “Looking at the Weather Channel, it appears that may be the last of it. During the show, temperatures will be in the mid-70s with sunshine, which is perfect.”
He added, “Despite the rain, RVers have been showing up all week. It’s hard to put a number on it, but I did see an influx of campers coming in early and I’d say there are already about 1,000 coaches scattered throughout the BLM. There’s not a massive traffic jam yet — that comes in a couple of days. Judging by all the early signs, I’m looking forward to a great show.”
RVers annually pack the show grounds in Quartzsite
Curt Curtis, president of Fresno, Calif.-based multilocation dealer RV Country which has been the exclusive RV retailer on the show grounds since 1999, confirmed King’s upbeat outlook.
“We’re expecting a boomer year and the weather is supposed to be great,” he said, adding that the dealership’s exhibit is again situated on several acres next to a giant tent that, according to King, will house approximately 325-350 individual companies selling accessories and RV products. “We have sold 24 units so far to the early arrivals but once that tent opens we will sell an additional 75 or more.”
King reported that in addition to RV Country, there will be RV dealers set up throughout Quartzsite and along the perimeters of the BLM. “I’m estimating there will be upwards of 1,000 RVs on display for sale,” he said, King explained that the RV show is also fueled by several other events being held in the Quartzsite area, most significantly the Quartzsite Pow Wow, which features over 500 vendor display areas selling gems, minerals and jewelry — a hallmark of Quartzsite and the surrounding area.
“Within walking distance from our show there will be three other events going on,” King noted. “Some of their displays are amazing. I’ve always said that the atmosphere here is eclectic with all these different things running at the same time.”
Also providing a boost for the Quartzsite show is the health of the industry, according to King, with most early shows reporting strong attendance and robust dealer sales.
“The pulse of the industry seems to be strong right now,” King said. “I’m hearing good things coming out of the other early shows, so it looks like 2019 is going to be another good year for RVs. I’m hoping we will build on that trend during the Quartzsite show.”