By Chuck Woodbury
Editor, RV Travel
QUARTZSITE, Ariz. — Depending upon who you talked to, attendance at this year’s Quartzsite RV Show was either up or down from last year. The show ended yesterday after a nine-day run.
“Attendance was up from last year,” said promoter Kenny King, “but not what it was years ago.”
Vendors, about 350 all together, most of them in a 63,000-square-foot tent two football fields long, offered mixed reports. “Our sales were better than the last two years combined,” said Eric Davis, of Eric’s RV Performance Center, who has attended for 18 years.
“I think attendance was up from last year, and our sales were up,” said Daryl Lawrence, of Lawrence RV Accessories. Len Bunts, owner of RV Special Things, sold LED lights. “Our sales were down about 45 percent this year,” he said, “but it’s probably because there were 22 booths selling LED lights. There were 17 last year and 12 the year before that.” At Canada’s Northwest Territories booth, requests for travel guides were down. But they were up at Nevada Tourism’s booth.
Harvest Host’s Don and Kim Greene, attending for their third year, thought crowds were off from last year. Mark Silver, of Industrial Lock and Hardware, said his sales passed last year’s halfway through the show.
This year’s sole RV dealer, Paul Evert’s RV County, was happy with the event, where brisk sales were about half towables and half motorhomes. “Sales were good, but they can always be better,” said General Manager Jim Hardy.
The annual event spans 20 acres on King’s property in “metro” Quartzsite, a dusty splotch of civilization at the intersection of I-10 and U.S. 95 east of Blythe, Calif., In the summer, when temperatures routinely top 100, the town shrinks to about 3,500. But during the winter and its normally fair weather it can swell to 100,000, mostly RVers squatting on vast expanses of government land.
Show attendees come from Southern California, Phoenix, and judging from license plates, half of Minnesota attended this year. Much of the show’s appeal: free admission, free parking and free camping on the federal lands that adjoin the show site. Because there’s no gate admissions to count, any report of attendance is a ballpark guess. Most put it at 100,000 to 150,000.
This was the 30th year of the show, and not the last. “I’ve got at least 10 years left in me,” said King.