A fleet of recreational vehicles, donated by several RV builders and dealerships, played a prominent role in the Jan. 20 Inauguration Day proceedings in Washington D.C.
President George W. Bush and his family were transported in a 44-foot Monaco Signature Class A motorhome – dubbed RV-One by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) – that served as the flagship for an additional two dozen RVs requested by the Presidential Inauguration Committee for use during the weeklong inauguration festivities.
The donated coaches served as high-tech, climate-controlled headquarters for President Bush, Vice President Cheney, their senior staff and celebrities such as Ryan Seacrest, Kenny Chesney, Patti LaBelle, Andrea Bocelli, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Hillary Duff, Angie Harmon, Gary Sinise, Rubben Studdard, and The Temptations.
“This is without a doubt the most RVs ever used for a presidential inauguration,” said Derrick Crandall, president of the American Recreation Coalition (ARC), who assisted with the recreation community involvement in many of the inaugural events. “We had an incredible response from RV manufacturers and dealers who were eager to contribute to the nation’s celebration.”
The two 2004 motorhomes donated by Monaco Coach Corp., Coburg, Ore., were used in conjunction with several of the inaugural balls, the Inauguration Day parade that rolled down Pennsylvania Avenue and other events that were part of the inauguration ceremonies.
Other RV manufacturers and dealers involved in 2005 inaugural events included: Winnebago Industries, Forest City, Iowa; Thor Industries Inc. and Airstream Inc., Jackson Center, Ohio; McGeorge’s Rolling Hills RV Center Supercenter, Richmond, Va.; Parkview RV Center, Smyrna, Del.; and Cruise America, Manassas, Va.
During the inaugural activities, members of RVIA public relations staff also were on hand to answer questions from politicians and celebrities about the motorhomes and RVing in general.
Some of the activities featuring RVs incuded:
* Twelve RVs were used by performers Duff and Studdard at the “America’s Future Rocks Today” youth concert held Jan. 18 at The Washington, D.C. Armory. Over 10,000 young fans attended the concert.
* Eleven motorhomes were used as VIP holding rooms and as staff offices for the Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC) and the White House, at the “Celebration of Freedom” ceremony held Jan. 19 on the Ellipse, just south of the White House.
* Some of the RVs were also reused as mobile headquarters for the PIC staff and as holding rooms for top officials at other events at locations ranging from RFK Stadium – the staging area for the parade and entertainer transport – to the midpoint of the parade route, which proceeded down Pennsylvania Avenue.
“When the inauguration committee needed to keep all the dignitaries comfortable during a frigid Washington winter, they turned to the RV industry and the industry delivered,” explained Crandall. “RVs played a large role in making the inauguration activities a great success.”
According to RVIA, the usage of RVs in such a high profile venue is indicative that the industry is part of mainstream America, which was reinforced by the recent news that “RV” was the top search word on eBay during 2004.
“From being the top search term on eBay to having a key role in the inauguration festivities, RVs are truly everywhere,” said RVIA President Dave Humphreys. “2004 was a banner year for the industry and 2005 is shaping up to be another great year as RVs solidify their place in the forefront of American culture.”