Family Motor Coach Association’s 84th International Convention, which took place August 11 to 14 in Redmond, Oregon, benefitted from picture-perfect weather, heightened sales for exhibitors and an extraordinary sense of camaraderie among convention attendees.
The coach count for the convention — dubbed "Redmond Rocks! Feel the Excitment" — totaled 2,282 coaches. That figure includes 2,008 family coaches and 274 commercial coaches. It was the fourth FMCA convention to be held at the 132-acre Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center.
"The weather was beautiful," said Jerry Yeatts, FMCA director of conventions and commercial services. "Seminars were filled to capacity. Many had to be repeated due to the popularity of them."
The Long, Long Trailer, starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, drew a packed house. Entertainer Debbie Reynolds delighted the audience with her reminiscences, songs and dance.
A large crowd seemed impressed by the great voices and music of The Texas Tenors, Yeatts said, adding that Jimmy Buffet fans enjoyed the music by the group Live Bait.
"Evening entertainment was a home run," Yeatts said. "We started out strong with The Long, Long Trailer and ended on a positive note with Forever Motown."
Many attendees enjoyed the special events at this convention. During the Ice Cream Social, for example, FMCA national officers cooled off in the dunk tank. This event raised $500 for the Oregon Nordic Ski Foundation. Two of the team members participated in this fun time. Even convention director Jerry Yeatts had a turn.
More than 80 people participated in FMCA's version of a wet T-shirt competition; nearly 400 played card bingo; and plenty of hugs were given out on Free Hugs Friday.
On the commercial side, coach exhibitors seemed happy, Yeatts said. "One dealer sold six of 11 coaches brought to Redmond. Tiger [Provan] sold the only coach he brought within 24 hours of the exhibits opening. Itasca sold most of the higher-end coaches on display."
Indoor exhibits were equally encouraging, he added. "Many exhibitors reported brisk sales and some even ran out of product."
Catherine Hickland with Cat’s Cosmetics sold out of her RV packages on the first day. She also reported that she “made up” more than 400 ladies.
FMCA's next convention is March 14 to 17, 2011, at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry, Ga.