If there is any waning of interest in the RV experience, there was no evidence of that at the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation and RV Show. The annual show, held in the desert town of Quartzsite, Ariz., is described by some as a “Mecca for RVers” drawing people from all over to the warmer desert climate and very inexpensive, if not free, camping.
While there is no way of really reporting an actual attendance – there is no gated entry – typical estimates often climb well past 100,000 people.
The show itself is essentially the ultimate flea market for RVers offering anything from skilled repairs at the hands of companies like Blue Ox hitches and B&W Hitches to kitchen gadgets, massagers and even portable hot tubs.
By all accounts, attendance at the show was the best in its 39-year history – with opening day, in particular, being quite good.
“I haven’t ever seen an opening day like we had,” said Kimmy King, the show’s promoter and daughter of the founder of the event, Kenny King. Kenny passed away in 2021 and this was Kimmy’s first year running the show along with her husband, Brian. She also complicated matters by having a daughter in October, who was also in attendance.
RVBusiness talked to a number of attendees who came from as far away as Toronto, Philadelphia, Detroit and several other places that would likely be covered with snow at this time of year. While the weather was certainly an appealing aspect, the show itself was the draw and the attendees with whom we spoke were happy with what they came away with, much of that being products from the hundreds of vendors.
Bryan Nelson of Lion Energy, a company that makes lithium battery products, said the company did better in its first two days than during the entire show last year. “The first weekend we sold through all the refurbished batteries we brought down so the guy who leads our operation had to bring two more pallets down,” he said. “Everybody in the RV industry needs to experience this show.”
Jon Goldstein of Leisure Coachworks, a company that provides service and parts to RVers from simple repairs to complete custom coach interiors, said, “this is always a good show and there’s always a fair amount of people here.”
Likewise, Lectric Bikes was on hand offering test rides of its electric bikes. The company reported selling “many hundreds” of bikes during the show, so much that they had to go get three U-Haul trucks of additional inventory to address the demand.
Also on display were new and used RVs for sale with most of the units focused on larger fifth-wheels and motorhomes. There was also one company, Vanaholics, which displayed its custom B van interiors but only for a few days.
A few of the attendees specifically came to look at B vans and smaller trailers and couldn’t find them at the show. In fact, this reporter’s trailer was parked on the Midway and we gave several tours of the unit to people including several who wanted to buy it.
But Curt Curtis of RV Country was thrilled with the sales and wasn’t able to break away from handling all the paperwork from the sales for but a moment. “It’s been incredible,” he said.
A clear change in the guard also was evident in some aspects of the show with the band Wicked Truth, a band of all RVers, performing daily. The show also featured Courtni Armstrong, The Flipping Nomad, showing off her custom Montana fifth wheel and there was a media tent sponsored by RVTravel.com and StressLessCamping.com where RV content creators had meet-ups with their audience.
Not only do attendees come for the shopping but Redlands RV had several service bays open during the show and these, too, reflected the energy of the rest of the event.
Editor’s note: This story was written by Tony Barthel for WOODALLSCM.com.