The Florida State Rally
Feb 13-18, 2013
Theme: A Salute to Our Armed Forces
Colors: Red White and Blue
Most of the people on this forum own or want to own an Airstream product, new or used. One of the reasons for ownership is the lasting quality of the product. Another is unlike what any other brand can offer… ownership of an American icon. No other brand is as readily identifiable or elicits more comments than an Airstream on the road. Once an Airstream is purchased, the owner becomes aware of the ‘community mentality’ that develops as he/she travels around the country. It is truly unique.
Many owners join the WBCCI to enjoy the benefits of the camaraderie of like-minded RVers who appreciate the uniqueness and quality of the product, attend Unit rallies, go on affordable caravans, and just have fun in a group. Many, for various reasons, do not join to the WBCCI, which brings me to the changes I am instituting at the Florida State Rally as its Director.
The Florida State Rally(FSR) has primarily been attended by WBCCI members only. This leaves out the Airstream owners who are non-members. That is changing this year. There are a couple of reasons I am making the change. I won’t rate them as #1 and #2 because they are equal in importance.
The WBCCI membership is aging and declining through attrition. This year we had 316 Airstreams at the FSR, down from 360 last year and over 400 the year before. At the 2012 rally’s first evening’s entertainment, Crystal Gage, the talent, asked how many of the people in the audience have been married for 50 years. Roughly 80% of the audience stood. That has to tell you something about the WBCCI population’s average age and why the International Rally and the FSR have an annual drop in attendance and the prospects for attendance in the out-years. Jim Humphreys, Airstream VP for Sales, related some interesting demographics about who is buying new Airstreams. The majority are in the 40-59 age group. We did a ‘Rate the Rally’ questionnaire this year and of the 116 responses, 7 were in the 40-59 age group. We are not attracting this group to the rally. Of those who responded, 93% indicated they would return next year. The others didn’t know if they would be in the area. What this says is that we are down to the core of die-hard attendees, bless their hearts.
If we don’t get younger Airstream owners to come to the FSR and see what the WBCCI has to offer, we will have to fold up our tents and go home. It is that simple.
So, as Director, I am making the following changes and improvements in the FSR to attract a broader Airstream owner base.
1. The start day for the rally is moved from Wednesday to Thursday and will end on Monday, Presidents Day instead of Sunday. Thus the main attractions of the rally will take place on the weekend. This will give those who are still working or have children/grandchildren in school an opportunity to attend and get the full rally experience.
2. Airstream Inc. will have a stronger presence. They will be there as a vendor and also present the factory seminars for Airstream owners at the rally. Our intent is to make the FSR the southeast extension of the Airstream Factory training.
3. The Airstream related seminars will be presented on Saturday and Sunday so that weekend only attendees will get the full benefit of those seminars.
4. The BatesRV 1st Annual Sarasota RV Super Show will take place on the Sarasota Fairgrounds next to the Robarts Arena in conjunction with the FSR. The gate will be opened to allow the RV Show patrons to visit the FSR Trade Show and other daytime activities.
5. The vendors show will be upgraded to a Trade Show with the addition of vendors from the RV Show. The Trade Show will run from Thursday through Sunday at 1pm so that weekend attendees will have an opportunity to visit it.
6. Children under the age of 15 will be admitted free.
7. We will continue to have activities like Bingo, Arts and Crafts shows, Joker Tournament, Bridge and Holey Board games, etc. that have been a staple of the rally.
8. We have a new web site at Airstream, Florida State Rally Home
which contains the program schedule, Rally Mission Statement, on-line registration with PayPal as an option, seminar descriptions, seminar suggestions, and more. We will keep this site up-to-date as the programs develops.
9. We are now on Facebook where we can interface with the public.
10. We will advertise in the RV trade publications.
11. We will have an active presence on Airforums.com, which is really the best place to interact with Airstream owners of all ages.
12. We will offer an opportunity join the WBCCI to Airstream owners who are not members or who have been members and would like to rejoin the club.
13. Morning coffee and donuts is being replaced by a healthier continental breakfast as part of the rally fee.
That’s for starters. As the rally schedule gets fleshed out and suggestions come in, I am sure there will be more additions. We want this to be a rally for ALL Airstreamers.
Of course we would like folks to join the club and hopefully many will. The WBCCI and the FSR desperately need an infusion of ‘young blood’ if we are to survive. Demographics show the largest buyers of the Airstream products are in the age group of 40-59. Our purpose is to have something for all age groups to enjoy. After all, that’s what Airstreaming it is all about.
I am including our mission statement for your edification.
FLORIDA STATE RALLY
Rally With a Purpose
Established in 1973, the Florida State Rally is a 501(C)(7) not-for-profit organization associated with the Wally Byam Caravan Club International, Inc. (WBCCI). The Florida State Rally is guided by its Board of Governors, comprised of one governor from each of the WBCCI Units within Florida. The Board, Rally Director, Coordinators, Chairmen, workers and staff are all unpaid volunteers.
The Florida State Rally’s mission is to provide an opportunity for owners of AIRSTREAM manufactured trailers, touring coaches, and motor homes to gather together in an atmosphere of Fellowship to have Fun and add Adventure to the AIRSTREAM ownership experience.
The Florida State Rally is committed to:
• Providing the AIRSTREAM owners community with quality time together.
• Providing a warm and friendly rally atmosphere in one of Florida’s premier vacation areas at the height of the winter vacation season.
• Providing support to local community charities through donations.
• Providing a learning experience for the rally attendees through the use of vendor seminars and AIRSTREAM corporate training sessions.
• Providing quality entertainment.
• Providing a Trade Show for vendors.
• Providing an opportunity for AIRSTREAM owners sell their RV and/or to purchase new and used AIRSTREAM products and to effect limited ‘field repairs’.