Folks who first read about this chapter always want to know what the initials in its name mean. But those who first meet the chapter members rallying in a campground have a different question: Why do they have furry tails attached to their motorhomes?
The initials W.I.M.B.C.O.A. stand for Washington, Idaho, Montana, British Columbia, Oregon, and Alberta. Those are the American states and Canadian provinces that this group encompasses.
Originally, when it was chartered in 1986, the chapter’s name was W.I.M.B.C.O. Travelers. In 1996, after a member joined who lived in Alberta, the letter “A” was added. Today a majority of the members live in Washington, but the group still encompasses FMCAers from all those states and provinces.
As for the foot-long furry gray-and-white tails, which look like the back end of a coonskin cap, well, that’s another story. They’re made of artificial fur, by the way, and stuffed. Chapter president Tom Redding, F298526, explained, “We have a mascot called a Wimbcoa. It’s a cat. So we fly the tails at rallies; you hang it on a pole on the front or back of your motorhome.” The tail helps members identify each other, plus it attracts attention. While the chapter is in a campground, others who come up to ask about the tails will learn about the chapter “” and maybe even decide to join in the fun. To know the full story about the W.I.M.B.C.O.A. tail, you’ll have to join the chapter.
The W.I.M.B.C.O.A. Travelers chapter currently has 37 member families. Because of the weather in their part of North America, they rally for five months of the year, from May through September. Tom said another reason for that is the fact that some members go south for the winter.
He said they want to welcome more members into the group, and realize that may mean younger, still-working FMCA families. “It’s an older group, so we’re trying to get younger members,” Tom noted. “We usually hold our rallies during the week, because almost everybody is retired. But we’re flexible and we could do it on the weekends so that people who are still working can join.”
The five rallies each year typically include some kind of activity the group can enjoy together, depending on where they are. In the past they’ve gone on boat rides up the Snake River; visited Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier; attended the Calgary Stampede; toured museums; and some members have gone golfing. In the evening they return to the campground to dine and socialize.
This past September the chapter held its 20th anniversary rally at an RV park in Ephrata, Washington, and the members also have held meets in Idaho, Oregon, and British Columbia this year. Next year’s rally schedule will start in Toppenish, Washington, a town famous for its murals. Members will be able to tour the town while there and enjoy the sights.
The chapter also plans to do some touring after its September rally next year, which will take place in Clarkston, Washington. “We’re going to have a month-long caravan,” Tom said. “We’ll go around to lots of different places.” The caravan will include Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota, and Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming, among other places.
Tom and his wife, Suzanne, joined the chapter by coincidence. They were attending FMCA’s summer 2001 convention in Redmond, Oregon, and they were stuck in the holding area when they met an FMCA member from Canada who also belonged to the chapter. They became friends, and the Reddings joined the chapter.
Tom said that socializing is the chapter’s main focus. “We’re just a group that likes to go out and have fun and go to different places, see different things, and have a good time at the rallies. We have lots of potlucks, and every now and then somebody will fix a special dinner.
“We try to include everybody in the group; we put the tables all together so when we eat we sit together. We’re trying to make it an extended family group.”
Chapter dues are $32 the first year (which includes badges and an official W.I.M.B.C.O.A. tail) and $20 per year thereafter. The chapter also has a newsletter.
If you’d like to learn more about the W.I.M.B.C.O.A. chapter or other FMCA chapters, contact the FMCA Chapter Services Department at the national office “” (800) 543-3622 or via e-mail at email@example.com