Whether convention attendees enjoyed a return visit or their first journey to this Central Oregon community, they found plenty to explore and discover during FMCA’s 78th International Convention.
By Pamela Kay
Director of Communications, Publishing
Brilliant blue skies, warm summer temperatures, and rugged high-desert beauty, with snowcapped mountain peaks in the distance, greeted FMCA members who followed the highways and byways to Central Oregon for FMCA’s 78th International Convention “” dubbed “Rediscover Redmond.”
For some this was indeed a time of rediscovery, as FMCA made a return visit to the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center, having held conventions there in 2001 and 2004. For others it was a time of discovery, as they experienced the magic and majesty of this Northwest setting for the first time, or even attended their very first FMCA convention. The brown ribbons worn by first-time attendees were very much in evidence during the week. In fact, of the 2,640 families in attendance, approximately 630, or one-quarter of them, fell into the ranks of first-timers. The official coach count for the Oregon convention was 3,474, a figure that included 834 commercial coaches in addition to the aforementioned family motorhomes.
The Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center is practically tailor-made for an FMCA convention. The 132-acre site is designed in a circular plot, which makes the grounds easy to navigate and brings all event centers into relatively close proximity. A nicely landscaped area with ponds, a waterfall, and a windmill graces the facility’s inner circle. This served as a pleasant venue for morning Coffee Hour and the daytime entertainment stage.
The Expo Center boasts a host of clean, well-kept buildings, including the 7,500-seat Hooker Creek Events Center, which was used for evening entertainment. Exhibit coaches flanked the perimeter of one of the circular roadways, and most families were situated in parking lots on the outer edge of the facility. No matter their location on the grounds, attendees enjoyed a panoramic view of seven mountain peaks, including Mount Bachelor, the Three Sisters (North, Middle, and South), Brokentop, and Mount Jefferson.
Fun and Fellowship
The good times began right away, and hundreds of convention attendees flocked to the Hooker Creek Events Center on Sunday evening, August 12, to join or watch the lively square dancing and line dancing sessions led by FMCA member Jack Ingle, sponsored by Aon Recreation Insurance, an FMCA Three Star sponsor.
Dancing was the order of the evening on Monday as well during the sock hop, with dance tunes “” including music from the 1950s and “˜60s “” provided by the Generation Gap, a local family band. Convention attendees strutted their stuff while doing the jitterbug and other popular dances from these eras. This fun-filled evening was made possible by The Hartford, an FMCA One Star sponsor.
Starting on Tuesday, convention attendees could begin their days at morning Coffee Hour. Of course, these gatherings are less about the coffee and doughnuts that are served and more about the fellowship they brew. One reason often cited for attending a convention is reuniting with FMCA friends and meeting new folks who share your passion for the motorhome lifestyle. What a wonderful feeling to have friends from all across North America.
One classic example took place during the Redmond convention, when some FMCA friends who hadn’t seen one another in probably 30 years met up at morning Coffee Hour. A convention-related article that appeared in a local newspaper, The Bend Bulletin, alerted Jim and Patti Timm, F11172, to the fact that Jim and Ginny Holifield, L387, were present at the convention, and the Timms were able to find them through the locator card system used at the convention. Patti Timm and her late husband, Bill McKay, had met the Holifieds when the Golden Gate chapter was formed in 1975 and Bill was elected the group’s first president. Their families had caravanned from California to Florida for a rally years back but had lost touch. “We had a good time visiting and catching up on the past 30 years,” Jim Holifield noted.
The folks from Bella Terra of Gulf Shores, an FMCA Super Star sponsor, and cosponsor of morning Coffee Hour, added a fun twist to the morning with their rubber duck race in the stream next to the Coffee Hour tent. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, a Coffee Hour cosponsor and Super Star sponsor, also helped to make the morning gatherings possible. FMCA’s own Frustrated Maestros filled the air with music each morning, treating the audience to a string of old favorites.
The daytime entertainment stage buzzed with activity during the convention, with varied acts sharing their talents, among them FMCA favorites and several who call Central Oregon home. Well-known to FMCA convention attendees is Willie & Company, starring sassy but lovable Willie (he insists on top billing) and ventriloquist Peggy Miller, who appeared courtesy of Freightliner Custom Chassis, an FMCA Five Star sponsor. Also familiar to the FMCA audience is the dynamic duo Bernie & Red, sponsored by Seven Feathers RV Resort, an FMCA Five Star sponsor. Other daytime acts made possible by this Canyonville, Oregon, resort included singer-songwriter Tony Graham, singer-songwriter Allan Byer, Mr. Magic, the Hokule’a Polynesian Dancers, and the Oregon Old Time Fiddlers Association. Also performing during the Motorhome Preview on Monday were the sweet-sounding ladies of the Central Oregon Showcase Chorus.
On Wednesday afternoon convention attendees flocked to the center court at the Expo Center to savor tasty treats served up by the Full-Timers chapter during the Ice Cream Social, presented by Five Star Specialty Motorhome Insurance, an FMCA Five Star sponsor.
Hundreds of FMCA ladies got all gussied up in their red hats and purple outfits on Thursday afternoon, fetched their favorite teacup, and headed for FMCA’s version of a Red Hat Tea. As the ladies queued up to enter the tea party, they engendered some double-takes from gentlemen who happened along at the same time. Inside, the ladies enjoyed light refreshments “” including tea, of course “” and entertainment by Bernie & Red. The Red Hat Tea was made possible by Kiley Mold Company, an FMCA One Star sponsor.
The fun didn’t stop when the sun went down. Convention attendees were treated to three diverse but equally talented and enjoyable acts starting on Tuesday evening. That night, the Nelson Brothers finished what they had started at last year’s summer convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Twin brothers Matthew and Gunnar Nelson were scheduled to share their “Ricky Nelson Legacy Tour” with the Charlotte audience in August 2006, but rain forced the cancellation of their show. In Redmond the show went off without a hitch, and FMCA members likely found the wait well worth it. The brothers shared video clips, memories, and the music of their father, famed teen idol Ricky Nelson. Ricky, son of Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, met an untimely death in 1985 when he perished in a plane crash at age 45. This remarkable commemorative evening was made possible by ORA Las Vegas/Motorcoach Country Club, an FMCA Five Star sponsor.
Wednesday evening also was devoted to a special tribute, and a performance by another third-generation entertainer, Debby Boone, daughter of pop singer Pat Boone, and granddaughter of country music legend Red Foley. Debby enchanted the audience in Redmond with “Reflections Of Rosemary,” a “musical portrait” of her late mother-in-law, singing sensation Rosemary Clooney. Debby is married to Rosemary’s son Gabriel Ferrer, and she and Rosemary shared a special bond, in part through music. Debby performed songs from her “Reflections Of Rosemary” CD and treated the audience to glimpses of Rosemary’s life and career. This evening was made possible by Roadmaster Inc., an FMCA Five Star sponsor.
Tony Orlando captivated the FMCA crowd by singing several of his signature songs “” “Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree,” “Knock Three Times,” and “Candida” “” and showcasing the talents of his band members. At one point the group rocked the FMCA house with their rendition of Led Zeppelin’s tune “Whole Lotta Love.” Later the audience swayed to a medley of Beatles tunes. Although Tony cracked jokes about aging, he doesn’t seem to have lost any of his energy, and he certainly won over the FMCA audience. Tony’s performance was sponsored by Monaco Coach Corporation, an FMCA Five Star Sponsor.
Adventures In Learning
Summer was still in full swing in Redmond, but many FMCA members found themselves back in the “classroom.” Hundreds of convention attendees took advantage of the opportunity to further their knowledge with regard to their motorhome and its operation and maintenance in seminars hosted by the folks who are most intimately familiar with this type of information “” manufacturers of motorhome chassis and the related engines and components. Other seminar topics touched on lifestyle issues. In addition, the assorted craft sessions proved popular with the group, and space filled up quickly.
An incomparable motorhome marketplace takes shape at FMCA conventions. In Redmond, FMCA members were given the opportunity to explore motorhomes produced by the major manufacturers and to check out the latest innovations and floor plans. In addition to 2007 models, a number of 2008 vehicles were on hand. As if all that weren’t enough to occupy one’s time for hours on end, a vast collection of RV components, accessories, and home products was assembled in a string of buildings at the Expo Center and in the surrounding outside area. FMCA members undoubtedly took home numerous items to enhance their life on wheels.
One not-to-be-overlooked aspect of an FMCA convention is the opportunity to explore the local area where the convention is held. One option for doing so in Redmond was to sign up with tour company Columbia Crossroads for one of the interesting outings they lined up for the FMCA crowd. Convention attendees could explore Shaniko, Oregon’s best-known ghost town; the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument; magnificent Mount Bachelor; scenic Cascade Lakes Highway; the Newberry Crater; the High Desert Museum; the Deschutes Brewery; and Tumalo Farms for a wine and cheese tasting.
Kids’ Discovery Zone
While the grown-ups were dividing their time amongst myriad activities, their children and grandchildren enjoyed pint-sized fun as part of the FMCA youth program. Youth activity centers were established in the High Desert Activity Center for the individual age groups, and outings such as bowling, miniature golf, and whitewater rafting filled their days. Tom and Carol Januski, chairmen of the Youth Activities Committee, share some of the highlights of the program in a story that begins on page 78.
One tradition that FMCA has developed in more recent years involves finding a way to leave behind something positive in the communities the association visits for its conventions. FMCA officials designated NeighborImpact as the official charity for the Redmond convention. This private nonprofit group serves economically disadvantaged people in Central Oregon, with the mission of breaking the cycle of poverty by helping to remove barriers that prevent people from achieving economic self-sufficiency. FMCA members assisted the group’s efforts by donating approximately 1,200 pounds of food to help feed hungry families and individuals in the area. In addition, attendees contributed 20 large boxes of school supplies containing about 1,500 individual items or packs that ultimately will help to meet the needs of perhaps 700 different children. More than 400 personal care products were donated and will help to stock NeighborImpact’s mobile outreach vehicle, which provides food, clothing, and other needed items to people who don’t have ready access to a fixed pickup location.
“We truly appreciate when people take it upon themselves to coordinate events such as this,” said Steve Murray, NeighborImpact food bank coordinator. “It’s especially wonderful when a group from outside the area works in partnership with us to help members in our community.”
Members of FMCA Chapter: Habitat For Humanity® stayed on in the area after the convention to take part in a build for a family in nearby Bend, Oregon. Chapter members are involved in Habitat for Humanity projects throughout the year and attempt to schedule builds near FMCA conventions and area rallies.
Another effort that left tangible traces in the community following FMCA’s departure was the On-Road Quilters’ donation of 63 quilts, seven fleece blankets, and 16 hand-knitted and crocheted blankets to Grandma’s House. This nonprofit home and outreach program provides a safe, nurturing, stable shelter for homeless and/or abused pregnant teens, and parenting teen mothers between the ages of 12 and 19 and their babies. The donation also included six baby caps and a knitted baby sweater. Convention attendees had an opportunity to admire these “works of heart” on Thursday afternoon in a display set up in the FMCA Information Center.
Several important business meetings took place in Redmond. Monday, August 13, was devoted to the annual meeting of the FMCA Governing Board. The board members voted on such items as the FMCA budget for 2008 and chose the nationally elected officers for the 2007-2009 term.
On Thursday morning, convention attendees gathered for the annual FMCA membership meeting, where they learned about the state of the association from their nationally elected officers. New officers were installed during the meeting, with the five new national vice presidents, elected by their respective areas, taking office for two-year terms along with the new FMCA president, senior vice president, secretary, and treasurer. A list of the nationally elected officers appears in this month’s President’s Message column (page 8). Information to help you to get to know the five new national vice presidents starts on page 62 of this issue of FMC.
During the annual membership meeting, Tom and Patricia Smith, F210517, who were unable to attend the convention, were recognized with engraved FMCA watches for having recruited 100 or more new families to FMCA.
Hosting an FMCA convention requires the assistance of approximately 800 volunteers from within the ranks of FMCA. The volunteers hail primarily from chapters within the area that is hosting the convention. Volunteers serve in the following areas: Coffee Hour, computer help desk, security, FMCA Store, Frustrated Maestros, handicapped and activity golf carts, information center, parking layout crew, seminars, trams, and youth. Special thanks to all who helped to make the “Rediscover Redmond” convention possible.
Make plans now to join FMCA for its 2008 conventions. First up is FMCA’s 79th International Convention, to be held February 25-28, 2008, at Fairplex, in Pomona, California. Fairplex is another facility that provides a nearly ideal setting for an FMCA event, including paved parking for all family and exhibitor coaches and plentiful buildings to house activities.
Looking a bit further down the road, FMCA members will point their motorhomes toward Minnesota, and travel to the city of St. Paul and the Minnesota State Fairgrounds for FMCA’s 80th International Convention, July 14-17, 2008. Longtime FMCA members might recall that FMCA hosted a convention there back in the summer of 1980. This promises to be a great venue for next summer’s convention. So, save the dates!
The following items remained unclaimed at the close of FMCA’s 78th International Convention in Redmond, Oregon. If you think any of them might be yours, please contact the Convention Department at the FMCA national office “”(800) 543-3622 or via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ladies’ large black shirt
Red, white, and green flag
Stuffed brown bear
Verizon cell phone
Black water bottle holder
Black sports watch
Silver necklace with pendant
Gold pierced earring
Silver love charm
Silver bracelet piece
2 pairs of eyeglasses
1 pair of eyeglasses with brown case
1 pair of sunglasses with black case
1 pair of sunglasses
1 key with fob
3 single keys
2 sets of keys on key rings
Book titled Zen and the Art of Knitting
Convention Fun For The Very Young!
By TOM & CAROL JANUSKI, F266041
Chairmen, Youth Activities Committee
Wow! What an awesome turnout we had for the youth activities program at the Redmond, Oregon, convention in August. We had a total of 97 children, from ages 2 to 18, participating. A first as far as we can remember was having a set of triplets in our TOTS (ages 2 to 5) group “” three 3-year-olds!
The whitewater rafting excursion down the Deschutes River was the favorite of the TATS (Teen Age Travelers, ages 13 to 18), PRE-TEENS (ages 10 to 12) and TWEENS (ages 6 to 9) who participated in the off-site activities. They also spent a day at the Sun Country Fun Center, which included miniature golf, go-karts, arcade games, and bowling. Water fun was the order of the day on Thursday, when they visited the Cascade Swim Center.
Of course, not everyone went on the outings, but even those staying in the center had a great time doing crafts and playing board games and videogames. Toys for the younger children were plentiful. You should see the ideas these children can come up with for their crafts. We sure have some talented youth traveling out there.
The TATS had their election during the convention and chose Philip Marlowe, F267754, as president; David Hartley, F31950, as first vice president; Kim Odom, F294785, as second vice president; and Ben Milne, F337318, as third vice president. TATS president Philip Marlowe gave a report on the youth program during the annual membership meeting on Thursday morning. During this meeting the TATS officers who served for the past year also were recognized. They were as follows: Philip Marlowe, president; Luke Adair , F237571, first vice president; and Tommy Martin, F368975, second vice president.
Thanks to all of you who participated by bringing your children in for us to enjoy, and, of course, a big thank-you to all our volunteers! The kids love to come, and we have had a tremendous amount of favorable feedback from the parents. They really appreciate the program and state that it is one of their main reasons for attending FMCA international conventions.
We are looking forward to seeing you all in Pomona, California, in February 2008. As always, we can use dedicated volunteers who love children and love having fun. FMC
“Rediscover Redmond” Convention Sponsors
FMCA’s “Rediscover Redmond” convention was made possible in part by generous support from the following commercial sponsors:
Super Star Sponsors
Bella Terra Of Gulf Shores, C11238
Goodyear Tire & Rubber, C9158
Sagebrush Development, C11238
Five Star Sponsors
American Coach, C985
The Bulletin/All Season & Marine, C7883
Caterpillar Inc., C4743
Country Coach Inc., C2132
Five Star Specialty Motorhome Insurance
Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp., C1905
Monaco Coach Corporation, C2111
ORA Las Vegas/Motorcoach Country Club, C10274
Roadmaster Inc., C2952
Seven Feathers RV Resort, C10956
Three Star Sponsors
Aon Recreation Insurance, C95
Beaudry RV, C902
National Interstate Insurance, C7160
RV Safety & Education Foundation, C5999
Two Star Sponsors
Blue Ox, C2903
GE Money, C4076
One Star Sponsors
Hale Expo Services, C974
The Hartford, C10420
Kiley Mold Co., C7252