The Rally Atlanta 2013 Recap
The final count is in – 2,717 units and more than 6,500 people!
Thank you for all who participated in the Atlanta Camping World/Good Sam Rally!
Atlanta Rally Recap
On the Fast Track at the Atlanta Rally
North America’s largest RV rally raced into Hampton, Georgia’s Atlanta Motor Speedway, October 17 through 20, 2013, attracting some 6,500 RV enthusiasts each day and 2,717 rigs. Beyond celebrating the RV lifestyle, the Atlanta Camping World/Good Sam Rally gave guests more than their money’s worth with the nightly concerts alone, headlined by the legendary Beach Boys and 20-time Grammy winner Vince Gill.
This was the Rally’s first visit to the Atlanta Motor Speedway, and the event organizers really stepped on the gas, drawing nearly 500 recreational vehicles for sale at show prices and many of the top RV manufacturers, among them Coach House, DRV, Fleetwood, Forest River, Jayco, Keystone, Heartland, Newmar, Phoenix Cruiser, Pleasure-Way, Renegade, Roadtrek, Space Craft, Thor Motor Coach, Tiffin and Winnebago. Some lucky shoppers even got to test-drive motorhomes around the famous racetrack.
The Rally’s vast exhibit halls packed two NASCAR garages plus an 80-foot tent, showcasing hundreds of booths with every conceivable RV gadget. Product displays ranged from windshields and headlights to tailpipes and tow brakes, and everything in between, along with RV tour guides, campgrounds and financing. Leading suppliers serviced RV appliances, awnings, tow bars and more right on the grounds, including Atwood, Blue Ox, Carefree, Demco, Dometic, Freightliner, Master Tech RV, Norcold, Roadmaster and Thetford. Camping World’s professional technicians provided on-site service as well, and the well-stocked Camping World store was a popular pit stop.
More than 100 seminars gave Rally-goers a crash course in RVing 101. For starters, RV publisher Bob Livingston simplified RV ownership, Gary “the RV Doctor” Bunzer demystified RV maintenance, and Walter Cannon, executive director of the RV Safety Education Foundation, explained the importance of RV weight balance. Inspiring Food Network chef Bob Blumer shared his culinary techniques, and Jim and Chris Guld, the renowned Geeks on Tour, helped RVers take their personal technology on the road. Assisting with everything from RVing to Alaska to overseas RV tours, a number of travel professionals freely dispensed advice.
Rally-goers dropped by the Good Sam Member Base Camp to learn about regional Good Sam chapters, meet the club’s state and provincial directors, enter the scavenger hunt and play hillbilly golf, ladder ball and cornhole toss. Giveaways included prizes for Camping World’s Match-N-Win contest, where Rally-goers searched for the fellow guest with the matching four-digit number. Other Rally activities ran the gamut from guided bus tours to a free photo booth, sponsored by Reese.
Marcus Lemonis, the charismatic CEO of Camping World and the Good Sam Club and star of the CNBC reality show The Profit, greeted a full house of Good Sam members and Camping World customers. Celebrity dog trainer J.D. Platt wowed the crowd with his K9 Kings Flying Dog Show, featuring the world’s fastest Frisbee dog and a dozen other canine daredevils. Rally-goers paraded their own four-legged companions at the Release the Hounds dog show and celebrated the Halloween season at the RV decorating contest, All Hallows RV (see the list of prizewinners below). The ladies social, presented by the Henry Arts Alliance, and the youth program likewise got into the festive spirit with pumpkin-carving and -painting competitions.
On the Rally’s closing day, Good Sam’s 2012 RVer of the Year Fred Moore led the Salute to Veterans along with Bruce Hoster, president of Coast to Coast Resorts. Nearly 600 U.S. and Canadian military veterans marched in the procession, including four World War II vets, Henry County High’s JROTC cadets and retired U.S. Navy Captain Steve Seal, who addressed the group. Topping it all off, the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation’s Sky Soldiers provided a patriotic flyover with Vietnam-era helicopters. A handful of Rally-goers signed up for the chance to soar over the speedway in one of the foundation’s vintage Hueys.
As the sun set on the track, the stars lit up the outdoor stage. On Friday night, the iconic Beach Boys brought down the house with their familiar repertoire of surf tunes and good vibrations. Country music superstar Vince Gill cast a spell over the grandstands on Saturday night with his smooth tenor voice and virtuoso guitar playing. Then on Sunday, the Vogues ended the Rally on a nostalgic note with their hits from the ’60s.
In the Good Samaritan spirit, Marcus Lemonis signed a check for $8,745 for Fred Moore’s Flags4Vets, a nonprofit organization that honors fallen military heroes by placing flags on their graves. Joan and Frank Anderson, Good Sam’s 2013 RVers of the Year, were on hand to collect blanket donations at the Project Linus booth. Named for the Peanuts comic-strip character, the nonprofit Project Linus provides huggable security blankets to children in need.
ALL HALLOWS RV WINNERS
Grand prize: Tony and Shirley Mitrione/The Witch’s Hat
Two round-trip airline tickets to any destination in the continental USA
Second place: Mark, Debora and Christina Manfredi/Scariest RV
$250 Camping World merchandise certificate
Third place: Judy Holly-Storms/Best Good Sam Spirit
$100 Camping World merchandise certificate
Fourth place: Margie and Andy Alford/Best Inflatable and Most Original
$50 Camping World merchandise certificate
DOG SHOW WINNERS
BEST IN SHOW: Marsha Pritchett/Alli and Lucy
NASCAR Costume Contest
First place: Judith Cole/Bella Rosa
Second place: Marsha Pritchett/Alli and Lucy
Third place: Linda Hendricks/Deuce
First place: Donna Hogard/Julianna “Jule”
Second place: Maggie Creekmore/Buddy
Third place: Tommy Creekmore/Henry
Best Singing Dog
First place: Amy Margoline/Gracie May
Second place: Leslie Martin/Molly Mae
Third place: Mary Dawson/Soney
Silliest Pet Trick
First place: Nancy and Phyil Darrow/Chip
Second place: Suana Hollis/Peanut
Third place: Mickey and Dianne Floyd/Macie
Download pictures for free from the Rally photographer at http://tallmanproductions.smugmug.com/ including the Aerial Photo!