Montana Owners Club Rally

Posted by on September 27, 2018

BEWARE:  LONG post ahead!

Tuesday we worked on getting ready for the Montana rally.  We spoke with veteran vendors, Gary and Linda, who’ve been to this rally before to get some ideas of what to expect since I hadn’t gotten much information from the rally organizers.

Our chat was very helpful in that we found out that we could borrow a pop up canopy from the fairgrounds (woohoo!) as we have to set up shop outside because ALL of the buildings are used for the Michiana Mennonite Relief Sale over the weekend.

We scouted out a spot to set up the popup with the help of a very friend gentleman from the Montana group and made plans to pick up the canopy up Wednesday morning as well as set it up and get our display ready.

Axle delivery

Just after finishing up our errands we got a phone call from the office to let us know that our axle delivery was here.  (We have two customers having axles upgrades as well as disc brakes installed here) We met the big Dexter truck near the fairground entrance and waited while one of the fairgrounds workers came over with a forklift and carted it off to a nice storage area that they’ll be letting us use during the rally.

Dinner is served

We combined our efforts to make cheeseburgers for dinner…as well as veggies skewers.  I prepped everything and Michael was the grill master.  Funny thing…it wasn’t until AFTER dinner that we found out that it was National Cheeseburger Day!  LOL

Wednesday was pretty busy.  First thing in the morning we got the pop up canopy from Jane in the office and then took it over to the rally area and set it up so we didn’t lose our spot.

Nice space to store and sort our kits.

From there we went over to the storage shed that the fairgrounds is allowing us to keep our product in.  We opened and checked every kit we received from Dexter to make sure that everything was as it should be…unfortunately, they’re notorious for not having all the necessary parts or wrong parts in the kits.  We were pretty lucky…only a few booboos…but ones that we could rectify easily enough.

Then it was back home for a potty break and to pick up display items for our ‘booth’.  Back at our ‘booth’ we set up a table (borrowed from the fairgrounds), put a cloth on it and Michael worked on putting his display together.

We were back home about 3:00 pm or so and made & ate dinner (filets, twice baked taters & salad) in between fielding phone calls and emails.  One of our contacts from Dexter was off last week so we finally received a bunch of axle tag requests back.  With that information back we had to reach back out to customers to give them the information they were waiting for.

Talking with customers is one of Michael’s favorite things

Thursday was the first official day of vendor hours and seminars.  We set up ‘booth’ strategically between the two rally tents so that we got really good exposure as people went from tent to tent and event to event.

Randy & Joyce stopped by and surprised us by telling us that they follow our blog! Hi Randy and Joyce!

Our installers, Josh and Heather arrived early in the morning, set up their camper just a short distance from ours and then headed to their first install…over in Shipshewana.

Our oldest son, Zack, arrived that afternoon and parked his camper kitty-corner behind ours so that we’d have easy access to the grand babies when they arrived on Friday.

Josh, Zack & Michael checking things out under the customers coach

Friday Josh and Heather had another install in Shipshewana and Zack went over to observe them as they worked.  He ended up giving a hand here and there too.  Michael and I went over mid-afternoon to check on things and also bring them something they needed.

We ended up staying until they completed the job and then Zack, Michael and I met Kelsea, Paityn and Cameron at Culver’s in Goshen for a late dinner as K,P&C had just arrived in town!

Amish Breakfast Haystack

Saturday morning there wasn’t much going on with the rally so I took the morning off and roamed around the Mennonite Relief Sale (going on at the fairgrounds too!) with Kelsea and the kids.

Choo Choo!

We had breakfast haystacks (I prefer regular haystacks), the kids rode a barrel train pulled by an ATV, did some activities which earned them ‘stamps’ in their ‘passports’.  When they got 6 stamps they received a coupon for a free ice cream.

Kelsea helped me get the booth set up about noon and then I ‘womaned’ it until 4:00 pmish.  It was pretty quiet but I did have several stop by with questions.  Kelsea and the kids stopped by a couple of times and kept me entertained.

Zack & Michael working together

While I worked the booth, Michael and Zack did an install for a Grand Design owner…big one…brakes, suspension, axles, etc.  I’m really proud that they two of them worked together without killing one another.  Progress!

Josh and Heather had an install going on too at the same time so I was able to direct anyone that was interested in doing an install or having one done to either site to see how an install is done and to ask questions of the installers.

The Birthday crew

It was another late day and we didn’t get dinner until about 9:00 pm.  It was Zack’s 32nd birthday so we asked Josh and Heather to join us.  We had a really, really nice time getting some more non-work time with them and letting Zack and Kelsea get a chance to meet them and get to know them more.

Sunday was very quiet at the booth, which gave me a little time to get caught up on regular work.  Kelsea and the babies left about noon and had a safe drive home that went much quicker than their drive down.

Installing new steps on ZnKs trailer

Zack installed a heavy-duty shackle/wet bolt kit for a rally customer before watching the Packer game and installing (with the assistance of his dad) some new (to them) steps on his and Kelsea’s coach.  Someone was selling two sets of steps at the rally for $25 each and since theirs were only 3 steps and the new ones were 4 steps and they needed two sets for their toy hauler, it was a no brainer!

Monday was even quieter at the booth.  I stayed home for a couple of hours in the morning to get some housework done and do some regular PTB work while Michael opened up shop.  Zack left about noon and had a safe drive back to Wisconsin too.

Nice turn out for Michael’s seminar

Michael had the last seminar of the rally at 2:30 that afternoon.  He actually had a nice turn out of a couple of dozen people.  Our booth was set up right outside the tent so I could hear everything that went on.  He had quite a few people who asked questions and showed interest in purchasing as well as having us come back again next year.  It was dreary and drippy so when his seminar was over we packed it in for the day.

Tuesday was the last official day of the rally and while Michael went over to tear our booth down I stayed home and continued housework (so neglected!) and did some more PTB work.

This was the last rally we’d be attending this year and we were ready for some down time.  We have a couple of other rallies that our installers will be attending though.

While the rallies in Indiana have come to an end…our stay has not.  We still have a couple of appointments that we’re waiting for.  One with our sales rep with Dexter.  Another regarding the new coach we have on order.  Plus we have a couple of things we need to get taken care of on our current coach.

The ‘plan’ is to pull out of here around October 8 or 9 and head south toward Michael’s mom’s house for some R&R (and sorting through the coach in preparation of moving into the new one in October/November).  We’ll see how well that ‘plan’ works out.  We’re paid up at the fairgrounds until October 17th since it was cheaper to pay for a month than three weeks…so we’ll just see how it goes.







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