By Delmar Record, F337738
The first meeting of the Arizona chapter was held at a ballpark in Casa Grande, Arizona, with 15 members attending. The chapter was chartered on July 13, 1968. The first president was Paul Lowry, F441, and Irene Olson, F2287, served as the first wagon master.
Dave Hagen, F319, founded the chapter, and he and his wife, Margaret, were very active in the club. Margaret was the main motivating force in the design and completion of our chapter emblem. Many of the chapter’s original members owned Cortez motorhomes, and the Hagens were no different. In fact, they owned one of the first “” number 93.
In August 1968 the chapter met at Fool’s Hollow Lake in Show Low, Arizona. Twelve coaches with 28 people attended. In November 1968 they gathered in Wickenburg, Arizona, with 21 coaches and 51 people attending. In January 1971 they met at Venture Out, in Mesa, Arizona, with 36 coaches and 87 people present. In November 1982 the chapter split and the Southern Arizona chapter was formed.
The two main highlights for the first 25 years of the Arizona chapter were hosting two Rocky Mountain Rambles (Rocky Mountain Area Rallies), the first in February 1988 with 650 coaches, and the second in February 1992, with almost 800 coaches attending. Both were very successful.
The chapter’s 25th anniversary celebration took place in 1993 at the Wickenburg Community Center in Wickenburg during the October rally. Attended by more than 100 members, the rally was a festive celebration. The chapter president at the time was John Hoebee, F109693.
During the past 12 years, we have seen our chapter membership steadily climb to more than 200 coaches. One of our many highlights was the chapter Millennium 2000 celebration in Wickenburg, with 71 coaches and 138 people attending. Judging by the chapter’s history albums, the millennium bash was number one. Since my wife, Glenna, and I joined the Arizona chapter in December 2003, all of the rallies we have attended have been first-class. Our chapter’s members are always ready to work actively on committees for our own chapter as well as assisting in the Rocky Mountain Rambles and FMCA’s international conventions.
In 1998 we celebrated our 30th anniversary in Wickenburg. Frank Potts, F1869, was chapter president. Red and Dorothy Hurlbert, L557, were honored for their affiliation with FMCA since 1976. Oktoberfest activities were another highlight, as were the “latest fashions” from Paris; New York; Wikiup, Arizona; and Vogue, Mademoiselle, and Modern Maturity magazines. Everyone had a fantastic time.
A quiet celebration for our 35th anniversary was held in Black Canyon City, Arizona, in April 2003. Rocky Mountain Area vice president Len Pigg, F133119, presented chapter president Don Kurtz, F42418, with a letter and certificate signed by then FMCA president Jeff Jefcoat, L118344, and a $200 check from FMCA. Don Kurtz and Orlan “Bud” Regnier, F9674, two longtime members and past presidents, both recently passed away. The love, caring, and support from our chapter members to the Kurtz and Regnier families proves we have a tremendous group. We really have a lot of fun together and care for our fellow members.
Plans for 2005-2006 are well under way, with six rallies on our calendar as well as the recently completed FMCA international convention in Minot, North Dakota, and the Rocky Mountain Ramble in Winnemucca, Nevada, this month. The year 2008 will soon be here, when we will celebrate our 40th big, big “bash.” We have a lot of fun, fellowship, and food. In fact, we call ourselves “amigos del camino,” or “friends of the road.”
Those interested in more information about the Arizona chapter can visit the chapter Web site, www.azfmca.org, or contact FMCA’s Chapter Services Department at (800) 543-3622.