The Rally Wrap-Up
September 8, 2010
Filed under Camping News
It was in the thick of summer with sweltering temperatures and heavy humidity, but none of that seemed to matter at The Rally, Affinity Group Inc.’s 11th annual consumer gathering, which took place July 22-25. Rather, the hotter it got, the happier the crowd was to be indoors at the fully air-conditioned Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, attending what’s dubbed as The Greatest RV Event in the World.
The Rally, hosted by Trailer Life Magazine, MotorHome, and Camping Life magazines, along with the Good Sam Club, Woodall’s publications, Trailer Life Directory, Coast to Coast Resorts, Camp Club USA and the Camping World President’s Club, took in an estimated 10,000 attendees, which included those in 2,867 RVs plus 5,000 day-pass visitors. And to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the RV industry, vintage RVs from the 1930s to the ’60s were showcased, along with 42 manufacturers and dealers displaying their latest in trailers and motorhomes.
The supplier area held 350 booths, where the newest in RV-related services and products were on display. A portable rotisserie, called the Auspit (www.auspitbbq.com), was one of the hottest new products for RVers in the hall. The Auspit booth demonstrated how easy it is to cook chicken, ribs or a turkey — with vegetables big and small — on this award-winning rotisserie system. Other products, such as Dometic’s very cool new portable icemaker (www.dometicusa.com) and several LED displays from Star Lights Inc. (www.starlightsinc.com) and The Jirah Company (www.jclampstand.com) were also big hits.
While many shopped, others attended their picks from the 120 educational seminars. “We’ve met so many people and have learned so much; it’s almost overwhelming,” said Jean Larson, who traveled with her husband, Glenn, in their RV from Santa Paula, California. They never had a need to purchase cell phones before this day, but they had so much fun attending as many seminars as they could manage, “we bought cell phones just to keep in touch with each other at the show!” said Glenn.
Between visiting the exhibitor booths and attending seminars, rally-goers were excited to check out Brian Brawdy’s Self Reliant Mobile Residence (SRMR), a Lance 1181 camper and 2285 Lance travel trailer he created to be fully functional while off the grid. The SRMR features solar panels, wind turbines and a water-harvesting and purifying system, and Brawdy was there to show how it all works and to answer questions so fellow RVers can create their own eco-friendly setup. From this prime location, he also broadcast The Brian Brawdy Show Live (www.brianbrawdy.com).
Parked next to Brawdy’s SRMR was the pet-adoption trailer, and once again, it was a success — with nine dogs and three cats finding new homes with new owners, thanks to rally guests.
And if that weren’t enough to keep everyone hopping, the event also delivered on entertainment. Vic Sands from Tennessee sang his way to first place at The Rally’s Got Talent contest, while the Best in Show winner of the Seventh Annual Dog Show — Kentucky K-9s! — was Molly (the dog) and Emma Freeman, who also won first place in the dog/owner look-alike contest. Others kept themselves occupied with golf or local tours, and then reveled in the top-notch evening entertainment with comic-actor Bob Newhart and legendary country-music artist Tanya Tucker.
Special daily events included Camping World President’s Club Day, Good Sam Club Day and Coast to Coast Resorts Day, with RV Publications Day starting it all off right. Pub Day is a great venue for RVers to connect with staffers from their favorite RV publications and to learn about what’s new in the RV industry by receiving complimentary magazines and winning some of the newest and handiest products on the market.
It’s also a great venue for fun and free stuff. The free temporary-tattoo kiosk, by local vendor Special Event Entertainment (www.bymaddy.com), added a coolness factor to the event. Maddy Batteiger and her assistant Midge Fatheree airbrushed hundreds of artfully designed tattoos on rally-goers who, in turn, showed off their new look for the remainder of The Rally.
Bill Graves, author of the America’s Outback column, was also on hand to speak to the crowd and to sign his book, “On the Back Roads: Discovering Small Towns of America.” Many RVers shared with him stories of their towns, hoping he’ll visit Yukon, Oklahoma; Channahon, Illinois; or Amherst, Virginia, on his next trip down America’s back roads.
People from all over the country attended Pub Day for the giveaways and to win the many prizes — all valued at more than $20,000. Literally thousands of rally-goers went home with free loot. The first 2,000 attendees received an embroidered ball cap along with fun prizes and tchotchkes from the Wheel of Wonder. And while waiting to win the raffle’s grand-prize Tracks to Adventure RV Caravan to Branson, Missouri — a prize valued at $3,300 — hundreds of Pub Day guests got their hands on big prizes, such as Roadmaster’s Falcon All-Terrain non-binding tow bar, TengoInternet’s wireless adapter, DuraFlap mud flaps, Ready America’s LCD wall mount for RVs, Protect All RV cleaning supplies, Xantrex inverter and a Powerpack Solar, SHURflo’s water pump and universal filter, OtterBox cell-phone and storage cases, Magellan’s travel accessories, an Eagle One carwash kit, Buck Knives, Fan-Tastic Vent Pop ’N Lock screen kits, Cobra cell-phone accessories, Microsoft Streets & Trips software, Thetford wipes, ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent Lanterns and the very popular Rally Ho! board game from Mindzone Publishing.
After more than an hour of spinning the raffle drum, pulling out winning tickets and giving away amazing prizes any RVer would love, Bob Livingston, publisher of Trailer Life, MotorHome and Camping Life magazines, read aloud the ticket’s numbers: 6-3-1-6-5-5. Sue Haggerty from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, ran up to the stage with her husband, Jim, holding the matching ticket. It was Jim’s birthday the day of the raffle, with Sue’s on the following day. Married 27 years, the lucky couple had just started full-timing in their 30-foot Itasca Spirit after their retirement in April. They travel with Mitzi, their Yorkie, who won third place with Sue at the dog/owner look-alike contest. They attended the Centennial Caraventure tour in Elkhart just prior to The Rally, and now they will join the Tracks to Adventure RV Caravan to Branson in October, a tour that’s already booked.
The Rally is getting better each year. The 12th annual event will take place out west in Redmond, Oregon, July 14-17, 2011.
Call 877/749-7122 or visit therally.com to make your early-bird reservations.