Motorhome Chapter Spotlight | FMCA
By Peggy Jordan, F401999, Associate Editor
One of the first things you learn when you talk to a Tennessee Ridge Runners member is that you don't have to be a Tennessee resident to join. Plus, the chapter does not always meet in Tennessee. Rallies are held in nearby states such as Kentucky, Georgia, and Alabama.
The chapter's events usually take place over three nights, Thursday through Saturday, or Friday through Sunday. A potluck dinner is typically held the night before the first day of the rally, and meals are catered or enjoyed at restaurants the remainder of the time.
It's fun and excitement when the card games come out, and members who golf often get in a few rounds, if a course is nearby. The chapter recently celebrated its 35th anniversary, and chapter president Dave Davidson said that some members’ FMCA membership numbers are lower than 100,000. So, the men share many years of motorhome expertise when they get together at informal "workshops" during rallies. And chapter ladies have their own "red hat" luncheon meetings on the Friday of the rally.
Several chapter members also regularly volunteer as part of FMCA's Parking Layout Crew during FMCA Family Reunions (international conventions).
This is a close-knit bunch that truly thrives on friendship. Dave said it's not the structure of the organization that keeps them together, but the caring. For example, fellow chapter members recently took time to show their concern for a chapter friend in the hospital. "We went down [to see him] every day," he said.
The chapter holds rallies in April, June, August, October, and December. So far this year, they have met in Lebanon, Tennessee; Hiawassee, Georgia; and Frankfort, Kentucky. The next rally is October 21 through 23 at Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
The chapter's popular Christmas rallies are often held in festive locations such as River Country Campground in Gadsden, Alabama, which boasts a huge Christmas lights display. The campground in Sevierville, Tennessee, where they will be meeting this year December 2 to 4, doesn't put on a light show, but that's okay. "We go out to the shows as a group, and we might have around 50 coaches at that rally," Dave said. The live entertainment available in nearby Pigeon Forge is top-notch. And no matter where they meet for the Christmas rally, chapter members get into the spirit with a motorhome-decorating contest.