An RV Rally is a planned gathering of RVers with something in common. It could be an association or club membership—Good Sam and FMCA are the two largest. It could be a gathering with the owners of a specific brand of RV (commonly called an “owner’s rally”). Organized or just an informal get-together, rallies take place all the time, are a great way to meet other RVers, obtain information, see accessories, and obtain warranty—sometimes even out-of-warranty—service. Fees usually cover everything including on-site parking for your coach. We’ve attended rallies with 5–10 RVs and 5,000+ motorhomes.
What Happens in a Rally?
Good Sam and the FMCA conduct huge national/international rallies each year. A rally this size requires lots of planning to keep you busy and happy starting with the registration line.
Here are typical “normal” activities ongoing during a rally…
- Seminars… will be presented on every conceivable RV-related topic such as driving, cooking, safety, cleaning, maintenance, tours, costs, resorts, fulltiming, tires, and many others. It’s a great way to get updated information about RVing. You will have to glean out the “infomercials” and useless gadgets. My advice… if you find yourself in a seminar that becomes an infomercial, or is incredibly boring, or just doesn’t meet your expectations, then walk out. You are not required to stay.
- Vendors… set up their booths—usually inside a building—and offer all things RV from sewer hose to tow bars to books to cleaning products. Sandy (wife) and I are vendors and sell our books at the various rallies. Take your time meandering through the vendors and talk with them. Consider purchasing products early in the rally. It there is a problem or question, you can ask or return the item to the vendor easily and immediately. Especially for new RVers, I recommend you visit the vendors two or three times to reduce information overload from one giant visit. It’s a great way to keep current on new innovations in RVing.
- Dealers… will bring in new RVs to display and sell plus you may see used coaches. A rally is an excellent opportunity to meander through the new models
- Maintenance/Repair… may be offered by RV manufacturers and aftermarket companies. They bring service technicians and common replacement parts to the rally. You must sign up for the service, the technician shows up, and does the work—if possible. Major repairs cannot be done. The general “rule” is that the repair should take no longer than an hour or so. I have had Monaco, Blue Ox, and Motosat work done at a rally. You meet them and unlock if needed. Blue Ox checked, updated, nd lubricated my tow bar and I wasn’t there. Plus, there may be no charge or just a token charge for this on-site excellent customer service!
- Entertainment… is offered nearly every night and it’s excellent. The larger rallies bring in the bigger stars. You will have fun.
- Tours… There are usually local tours.
- Food… is everywhere. The ice cream social is the most popular. Some rallies offer meals as part of the “package.” Regardless, you won’t go hungry. Especially at smaller rallies, the potluck meals are always in season as verified by my personal research.
Or, you can just sit around and wave at other RVers walking by! Participation in the planned events is never mandatory.
The two major organizations, FMCA and Good Sam, sponsor some large rallies. Each year, both organizations move the location of their respective rallies to selected venues around the nation. The FMCA sponsors two “International” rallies each year (their largest). During 2010, one was held during March in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the other was held during August in Redmond, Oregon. For 2011, one will be held during March in Perry, Georgia and the other will be held during August in Madison, Wisconsin. You can find future locations and dates on their FMCA website.
During 2009, “The Rally” by Good Sam was in Albuquerque, New Mexico during April. During July 2010, it was held in Louisville, Kentucky and for 2011, in Redmond, Oregon (also in July). You can find future locations and dates on the Good Sam website.
It should be noted that it takes a significantly large “location” to host a rally that may consist of 5,000± RVs. In the case of FMCA, all the RVs are motorhomes. Therefore, both organizations commonly use the same locations over time. Redmond, Oregon and Perry, Georgia are two of the most popular locations for rallies. There are occasional large rallies held at the major racetracks including Daytona International Speedway (Florida) and Charlotte Motor Speedway (formerly Lowe’s Motor Speedway) in Concord, North Carolina.
Statewide Good Sam rallies are called “Samborees.” Also, local Good Sam chapters—based on geographical areas or interests—frequently get together. There are many local chapter rallies. Find this information on their website and click on the “Events Calendar.”
The FMCA sponsors “Area” rallies and these draw from a broader geographical area (typically includes several states). FMCA also has hundreds of local chapters and activities. Find this information on their website and click on “Conventions” and “Areas.”
Go, Attend One
Rallies are fun, provide a convenient method to view many of the new RVs and RV products, meet some new people, and you can learn something at the seminars and by visiting the vendors.
We rarely do any of the smaller rallies. So, if you are attending any of the larger rallies, check your rally program to see if we are there. If so, stop by our booth (if we have one) and say “Hello!” and certainly, come on in to our seminars.