Florida’s Hernando County Commissioner Nick Nicholson said he visited the winter dog show at Florida Classic Park east of Brooksville last week and was impressed by the crowds lining up to see canines and their handlers from throughout the nation take part in the annual event.

The Tampa Tribune reported that the show was canceled last year because of a legal dispute, and there was talk of it moving to Marion County.

Nicholson said he doesn’t want to see the same thing happen to the annual Southeast Area Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) rally held each year at the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport.

Hernando came close to losing that event as well, and Nicholson said he wants the county to move forward with the same diligence it took to save the dog show.

“I don’t want to lose the RVs coming to the airport, and we almost lost them last year,” Nicholson said. “I don’t believe it’s too soon to look into what our policy is for charging these people to come to the airport, because I don’t want them to leave after this year.”

Nicholson asked County Administrator Len Sossamon and his staff to look into the matter.

“I would like us to work now on what it would take to keep them here, because obviously we’re in competition with at least one other county that wants them to move,” he said. “I want them to stay here because it’s a great benefit to our county.”

The FMCA board of directors had considered moving to another county because of rising costs. One of those sites was Volusia County, where officials have expressed an interest in hosting the rally at its fairgrounds.

But the FMCA agreed to extend the lease and license agreement to hold the rally at the airport facilities. The 16th annual event will take place Jan. 30 to Feb. 2 on a converted runway at the airport.

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