A state law that prohibits out-of-state dealers from selling recreational vehicles in Kansas means a national RV show will bypass the state, taking with it millions of dollars in potential revenue.
Cincinnati, Ohio-based Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) recently notified Kansas State Fair Manager Denny Stoecklein that the national motorhome group will not bring its event to the state fairgrounds in Hutchinson until the law is changed, The Associated Press reported.
“You and the entire staff at the Kansas State Fair have been wonderful to work with and you have exerted great efforts to bring our event to Hutchinson,” FMCA’s Events Manager Chris Lusk wrote.
“However, the current laws and business environment in the state of Kansas have made it prohibitive for us to return to the Kansas State Fair at this time.”
Stoeklein says he hopes this law is amended to make it easier for future shows to be held in Kansas. He says the last time Kansas hosted the convention, more than four thousand RV’s came to the Fairgrounds.
“What we’ve hoped for is that we can find a compromise that would appease the dealers in the state but then also satisfy organizations like FMCA and we just haven’t hit on that yet.”
When the event was held in Hutchinson in 2002, 4,716 motorcoaches camped at the fairgrounds, bringing an estimated $24.4 million economic boost to Reno County and another $7.2 million to the state, according to an earlier report in The Hutchinson News.
Stoecklein said FMCA’s 2012 convention will take place at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis and that the 2013 convention—the association’s 50th anniversary celebration that the fair had hoped to land—will be in Gillette, Wyoming.
“We had a feeling this would be the direction they went,” Stoecklein said. “They indicated…they were concerned with the dealer restrictions, which has been a concern of theirs for a long time.”
FMCA official Jerry Yeatts wrote to the fair board in 2010 saying his association would like to come back to the fairgrounds for an April 2013 rally.
State lawmakers resisted the fair board’s efforts to get the law changed. Kansas is not unusual, Yeatts said, noting his organization considers only a few states friendly to motorhome sales.
A regional FMCA rally last fall in Hutchinson that drew more than 600 didn’t attract dealers or manufacturers because of the law, he said.
Bill Hawley, who owns Hawley Brothers Hawleywood RV Ranch in Dodge City, the oldest Winnebago dealer in the nation, said smaller dealers couldn’t afford to provide a large inventory. Manufacturers bring in dozens of units and the dealer has to buy what is left, Hawley said.
“It is not really a rally,” Hawley said. “It really is a big commercial sale.”
Reno County Fair Board Member Brad Rayl was disappointed with the decision but said he could see both sides of the argument.
If the law changes, Yeatts said FMCA will reconsider Kansas.
Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA)
Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) is an international organization for families who own and enjoy the use of self-contained, motorized recreation vehicles known as motorhomes. The association maintains its national headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently has approximately 85,000 active member families.
FMCA offers a number of benefits for motorhome owners, including a subscription to its monthly magazine, Family Motor Coaching; trip routing; mail forwarding; and group rates on an emergency roadside assistance program.
2012-2014 FMCA Conferences
87th Family Reunion & Motorhome Showcase
Dates: August 27-30, 2012
Location: Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis, Indiana
88th Family Reunion & Motorhome Showcase
Dates: June 19-22, 2013
Location: CAM-PLEX, Gillette, Wyoming
89th Family Reunion & Motorhome Showcase
Dates: March 17-20, 2014
Location: Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter, Perry, Georgia
FMCA National Headquarters
Address: 8291 Clough Pike, Cincinnati, Ohio 45244
Phone: (513) 474-3622 or (800) 543-3622 (toll free)
A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.