Let me start by asking, have you ever been to a rally? One of the big ones? Let me tell you about my recent visit to The Good Sam Rally in Phoenix, and give you an idea of what to expect of this type of large-scale rally.
The Good Sam Rally in Phoenix
This Arizona rally was hosted by Good Sam®, the world’s largest RV owners’ association, and was held at the Phoenix International Raceway. It was a very convenient venue for us to attend, as Jolene and I had just arrived in Tucson. So after two wonderful nights at the Lazydays RV Campground, we headed off to Phoenix.
Parking and Registration
Upon arriving, an army of volunteers help attendees get parked. This same group of volunteers also helps handle security, information, registration — you name it. They’re a great group of people who are there to help you have fun. Be sure to thank them!
Once you are settled and comfortable, either in the “Electric” or “Dry Camping” area, head on out to meet your neighbors and find the on-site transportation. Good Sam typically provides trams to ferry you around the grounds.
Next, find the exhibits. You’ll find your standard home show/outdoor show assortment of exhibitors, and they give away lots of swag — from pens to Frisbees® to bags, and even a chance to win a weekend getaway. There are also some great deals; I scored a set of Carefree® electric visors at a discounted price. (Apparently a new model has come out and the discontinued models are on clearance.)
Find the exhibits.
Check out the new coaches, and have fun exploring and comparing the various models. At Good Sam rallies you will see all types of RVs, unlike FMCA rallies, which only feature motorhomes. You’ll often find RV manufacturers’ upper management representatives there, from regional managers to the owners. At The Good Sam Rally in Phoenix, I had the chance to meet Bob Tiffin in the Tiffin display. (He’s a real gentleman!)
Entertainment is a key element of the big rallies. At the Phoenix rally, the performers included (in order of appearance) Bowser from Sha Na Na, with his classic “Rock ‘n’ Roll Party”; comedian Bill Cosby; country music star Martina McBride; and a Beatles tribute band. Jolene and I attended Bill Cosby’s gig and Martina McBride’s performance, and both shows were excellent. Bill brought back memories of listening to his LPs when I was a teen, and Martina is just fantastic. The entertainment was a big hit with us. Some of our friends caught the two events we missed, and gave them high marks. They said the Beatles tribute band had the audience dancing in the aisles!
Entertainment is always a big part of a rally.
Prizes and Giveaways
Prizes are another major draw, and Good Sam rallies have some great ones. There are different ways to enter the drawings. At the Phoenix rally, we participated in a Match Game. The organizers distribute numbers to attendees, with each number given out four times. If you find your match, you can go together to the
registration and collect a T-shirt, which serves as an invitation for you to attend the Match Game drawing. Some pretty awesome prizes were awarded, including $5,000 gift cards and RV loan payments for a year. Unfortunately, I never found my match; however, some of my friends did, and they won some nice items.
Take advantage of all the great contest opportunities.
There were also giveaways during the entertainment portion of the event. One night, the CEO of Good Sam asked if there were any 20-year members in the audience, then 25 years, 30 years and longer. He then invited these folks to join him by the stage, and proceeded to hand out fuel cards to them. The longest-term members, a couple that had been with Good Sam for 38 years, were awarded a $5,000 fuel card. Wow! I never expected to witness anything like this. (Imagine all of the journeys that fuel card will fund!)
Hopefully this recap gives you an idea of some of the many great reasons to attend an RV rally. If you haven’t been to a rally yet, I highly recommend that you get to one as soon as you can. They’re a fun way to spend a few days on a trip. You can arrange to meet up with some friends there, have dinner and participate in some events together, and just let go and have a great time.
Everyone can enjoy a good rally!
A few pieces of advice I’d like to share:
- If you’re planning to attend a rally with friends, try to arrive together. Saving spots is generally not allowed; you enter the grounds in a line and get parked in that order.
- If you’d like to be close to the exhibitors and all the rally action, sign up for the early-bird arrival days (when available).
- Finally, do not expect everything to go perfectly. These rallies are a huge undertaking, and they’re often hosted at sites that are not designed for RVs. It may take a little more time to level your rig, and there may not be water hookups or dump stations — so fill your water tank and dump your black and gray tanks before you arrive. You may also encounter long lines for parking and for individual events. But try to have fun and make the best of it. After all, you’re just here for a few days.
For details on the upcoming Good Sam rallies in Louisville and Daytona Beach, visit therally.com. You can find out about other rallies through RV associations you belong to, and find listings of upcoming events on the Lazydays website at lazydaysevents.com. See you at the rally!
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