Sept. 27, 2010
CINCINNATI, Ohio -- Family Motor Coach Association’s 84th International Convention, which took place August 11-14 in Redmond, Oregon, benefitted from picture-perfect weather, heightened sales for exhibitors, and an extraordinary sense of camaraderie among convention attendees.
The convention attracted 2,282 motorhomes — 2,008 family member coaches and 274 commercial coaches — to the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center. The event’s theme: “Redmond Rocks! Feel The Excitement!”
Attendees savored pleasant temperatures, low humidity, and no rain, while other parts of the United States endured a summer heat wave. These favorable conditions likely helped draw attendees out en masse for seminars, entertainment, exhibits, and social activities.
According to Jerry Yeatts, FMCA’s director of conventions and commercial services, coach exhibitors seemed “extremely happy.” For example, one dealer reported selling six of its 11 coaches on display. Newcomer manufacturer Provan Industries unveiled its Tiger 4x4 Type C motorhome and sold the unit within the first 24 hours. Most of the higher-end Itasca-brand motorhomes that were exhibited found buyers as well. Monaco RV attracted onlookers with its new Vesta, a smaller Type A motorhome built on a proprietary Roadmaster chassis and powered by a 260-horsepower MaxxForce 7 front diesel engine.
Indoors, many supplier and component exhibitors experienced brisk sales. Convention attendees jammed the aisles when the exhibit buildings opened the first morning for an exclusive showing. Some indoor exhibitors reportedly sold out of their inventory the initial day. Catherine Hickland, “One Life To Live” TV star and owner of Cat’s Cosmetics, demonstrated her products on more than 400 ladies as she launched her “RV beauty pack” in Redmond.
Redmond evening entertainment was “a home run,” Yeatts said. FMCA paid tribute to the centennial of the RV industry, which is being celebrated throughout 2010, with a presentation of The Long, Long Trailer, a 1954 comedy starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Todd Fisher, an FMCA member and son of actress Debbie Reynolds, introduced the movie and shared some behind-the-scenes details. He also brought along a dress Lucille Ball wore in the film that is now part of the Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Movie Museum collection.
The following evening, Debbie Reynolds herself presented a humorous review of her life and career before a standing-room-only crowd. Other acts during the week included The Texas Tenors, of “America’s Got Talent” TV fame; Live Bait, a Jimmy Buffett tribute band; and the Forever Motown musical revue.
Attendees had their pick of 136 convention seminars covering 119 technical and nontechnical topics. These focused on such subjects as motorhome operation, maintenance, and components; travel sites; hobbies to pursue while RVing; exercise and health; and make-and-take crafts. Several additional sessions were scheduled on-site to accommodate overflow crowds.
Other convention activities included morning coffee hour; an ice cream social; special theme days; a dunk tank that raised funds for charity; bean bag baseball; karaoke; and even a wet T-shirt (throwing) contest. Some called to mind FMCA’s early 1960s-era conventions, when canoe battles, tugs-of-war, and other contests brought friends together.
“We wanted to incorporate a little fun into our event again,” Yeatts said. “The members really seemed to enjoy it.”
That camaraderie seemed to resonate through the “Redmond Rocks!” crowd. Exhibitor and seminar presenter Jeanie McKay, of MindZone Publishing, commented, “We noticed a feeling of bonded unity we’ve never felt in an RV convention before.”
FMCA national president Charlie Schrenkel said that he and other members of the association’s Executive Board talked with numerous attendees in Redmond. “All told us that there was something in the air, something about this convention that they couldn’t put their finger on that made it one of the best that they had been to in a long time,” he said. “I believe that ‘something' was us, sharing a unique experience with each other in a beautiful place — and having fun!”
FMCA resumes its international convention schedule next year: March 14-17, 2011, in Perry, Georgia, and August 10-13, 2011, in Madison, Wisconsin.
For more information about FMCA international conventions, contact Pamela Kay or visit www.fmca.com.
Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) is an international organization for families who own and enjoy the use of self-contained, motorized recreation vehicles known as motorhomes. The association maintains its national headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently has nearly 100,000 active member families. FMCA offers its members a number of benefits, including a subscription to its monthly magazine, Family Motor Coaching; an emergency medical evacuation program; trip routing; mail forwarding; and group rates on an emergency roadside assistance program. Perhaps the most important benefit of FMCA membership is the camaraderie and friendships that develop among people enjoying the common interest of motorhome travel and recreation.
Pamela Kay, Director of Communications
Family Motor Coach Association
(800) 543-3622, ext. 234
(513) 474-3622, ext. 234