July 16 - 20, 2007
by Blyth Wilson
If you've ever said.... "It just doesn't get any better than this", you experienced just that during our Branson Rally this year ! What started out to be a 3 day Rally, began with 28 out of 30 units arriving a day early ! What a wonderful surprise and how great it was to see familiar faces and meet our new family members ! The Branson KOA well exceeded our expectations and is an exceptionally nice park, each site had ample room yet we were all placed near each other with the entire group close to the air conditioned convention center. By the time of our 1st official meeting on Tuesday, everyone was fairly well familiar with the campground, surrounding area, their neighbors and had already selected any shows in Branson they wanted to attend. The Branson KOA offered ticketing to all shows and shuttle service for those who requested the service, consequently information & transportation just couldn't have been more convenient. Each morning of the Rally, Ameri-Camp sponsored the full breakfast provided by the KOA for all 80 participants and on various mornings the KOA provided live entertainment.
Our Tuesday morning meeting included discussion from Richie Shilling, our local Ameri-Camp Dealer from Outdoor Living Center in Russellville, AR., http://www.olcrv.com/. Richie reminded everyone to be sure to visit the 4 new 2008 models on display at the Rally and offered a discount to anyone who may be interested buying or trading during the Rally.Mike Zemlyak, Corporate Controller and GM, RV Manufacturing Enterprises, LLC, d/b/a Ameri-Camp, then addressed the group and spoke about the new changes within Ameri-Camp and the new innovative products that we can expect from Ameri-Camp in the future. Mike & Margie Zemlyak were in the process of moving into a new home during the Rally and took the time from their hectic schedule to show their support and spend time with us at this Rally. Again, just one more reason that I not only feel like I purchased the right RV, but that I am a part of a company that actually cares about the people that own them !
Several people signed up for Technical assistance during the Rally and Ameri-Camp sent us their Technician, Tony Mroz from the factory in Syracuse, IN., and Outdoor Living Center sent Jim from their location in Russellville, AR. Both Gentlemen worked long hot days to accommodate all who had problems. Although Tony is not an RVer, he left his family in Indiana, pulled an RV full of parts to Branson, and stayed among the Rally Participants to assist everyone with their RV problems during the entire length of the Rally. We all fell in love with Tony and unanimously voted him an "Official RVer" by the end of the Rally. Tony's "Tech Talk" Session on Wednesday Morning was very informative and we appreciated him sharing his years of experience and expert advise on tips and techniques for extending the life of your RV and keeping it trouble free.
Tuesday Evening's Beer Can Chicken dinner was prepared and hosted by Richie Shilling from Outdoor Living Center, Russellville, AR. This dinner was cooked in a huge smoker that Richie had custom designed and hauled to Branson from his home in Arkansas. It was quite a spectacle to watch Richie prepare this meal using his special seasonings and techniques. Thanks to the assistance from several of our Owners the entire meal and evening turned out to be a wonderful mouth watering experience ! Additionally, let's not forget to thank those volunteer beer drinkers who sacrificed to make this evening's meal a success !
After breakfast Thursday Morning everyone gathered around 10:30 at the docks of the Showboat Branson Belle, wearing their Rally T-shirts for a group photo. The photographer was a little late, but it was a beautiful cool morning with several shops to browse and people to chat with, so no one seemed to really mind. When the photographer did finally gather the group, I saw him motioning and heard him saying.... closer,
closer, a little closer, and when I finally looked up to see what was going on, I said "those people aren't in our group" ! The poor embarrassed couple backed away and the photographer managed to snap the picture while everyone was laughing over the mishap. Consequently, we ended up with a great photo with great smiles !
The Showboat Branson Belle was entirely sponsored by Ameri-Camp and was quite an experience. A 4 deck stern-wheeled paddle boat that gracefully cruises Table Rock Lake while you dine on an exquisite lunch watching a top rated performance. Then, if this wasn't enough, the show comedian
recruited from the audience, our own Kelsey Lovell and John Senack. This unexpected feature just topped the charts, most of us laughed until we had tears in our eyes and our sides hurt ! I just couldn't imagine how the afternoon could have possibly been any better !
If this wasn't enough, Ameri-Camp yet hosted the Thursday Evening Ozark Hoedown Dinner at the Branson KOA. Another grand feast followed with our awards ceremony and a Hoedown Birthday Celebration for Holly Perry & Joan Conway. Closing remarks were given by Harold Wall and the remainder of the evening spent saying goodbye to old and new friends.
It's difficult to put into writing the feelings and friendships we experience during one of these rallies. While sitting here thinking about what I could say that would sum up the wonderful experiences and express our appreciation for the support from Ameri-Camp in a few short phrases, the thing that keeps coming to mind is a comment made by Henderson & Georgann Reaves 11 year old Granddaughter, Caroline. "This Rally is
just like a big Boy Scout Camp for Grandparents" ! If this means, that through an 11 year olds eyes, we look like a bunch of big kids doing things together and having fun...... (OK, maybe old people having fun), I have no doubt that owning an Ameri-Camp and being a part of this group is exactly where I want to be !