If there is any slow down in the RV world, nobody notified the attendees of the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show. In its 40th year, the show is attended by over 100,000 estimated shoppers over the 10-day span. A good number of the attendees are boondocking on Bureau of Land Management public lands so are off the grid, but there are also several campgrounds in the area.
“Opening days was bananas,” show organizer Kimmy King, daughter of founder Kenny King, told RVBusiness. “I think we saw some 45,000 people come through the gates.”
They come to shop
Held under a huge circus-like tent, the show attracts RVers who come to buy the various gadgets, service and tools that make up the 324 indoor booths, about 50 outdoor, 11 service bays, six food vendors and eight major sponsors.
There are also over 200 RVs available for sale as represented by RV Country. RVBusiness spoke with a number of the company’s salespeople to gauge interest in the rigs.
“People are definitely here to buy,” said one. “I’m seeing as much traffic and interest as ever.”
This was backed up by the numbers shared by Curt Curtis of RV Country, who said, “We’re very happy so far. We’ve got 67 units sold and fully expect to sell between 110-120.”
In fact, Curtis indicated that this will likely turn out to be the second-best year for the dealership at Quartzsite, bested only by the extreme demand that was last year.
What has been hot has been fifth-wheel toy haulers thus far. In second place has been used diesel pushers. Curtis also said they’ve sold a number of Class B RVs and would have sold more if they had been able to bring them.
Customers have also been financing RVs at about the same rate as ever with the majority choosing to do so.
When asked what was selling at the show, one of the RV Country team members said, “they’re always trading in one direction or the other. Some are moving up, others moving down.”
The vast majority of attendees of the show are already RV owners and many of them are living in their rigs.
It’s the desert
“I couldn’t believe how many RVs I saw,” said one attendee who was a first-time visitor to the area. “For miles and miles it’s white roofs and cacti.”
By some estimates there are between 150,00-200,000 RVs that come in from all over North America and Canada. While Quartzsite, Ariz., is a sleepy little town for much of the year, the moderate temperatures and free camping bring many to the area to escape colder climates.
Touring the area by car you see everything from bus conversions and home-built campers to lavish million dollar buses. Many of the pockets in the desert are occupied by like-minded travelers who share interests in specific RVs, specific activities or lifestyles.
One RVer we spoke with said he was here the very first year of the show, which marks this year’s event his 40th year.
There isn’t just the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV show – surrounding the grounds of the event are Tyson Wells which is home to hundreds of tents with pop-up vendors of all sorts. There is everything from ice cream being made by a vintage hit-and-miss engine to the pop-up bar Beer Belly’s Adult Day Care Center. A pop-up grocery store easily rivals many in a large city in terms of selection and you can find any component or service you could imagine needing for the RV lifestyle here.
For the first time in many years the show also has workshops of all sorts from solar primers to destinations to towing and safety tips. Thus far the space set-aside for the workshops has often been overflowing with attendees. “I’m really surprised at the response to the workshops,” said show organizer King, daughter of the founder of the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation and RV Show.
The show goes nine days – Jan. 21-29 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (3 p.m. closing day) at 700 S. Central Blvd., Quartzsite, Ariz., to see the latest gadgets, get work and upgrades done on their RVs and learn more about the RV lifestyle with workshops and seminars – a new feature for 2023. Attendance at the event is free for spectators as is parking. Located just off Interstate 10, 125 miles west of Phoenix and just 20 miles from the California border, this sleepy little town plays host to an RV extravaganza that started 39 years ago.
Specific details, including the schedule of daily free workshops and seminars, can be found at QuartzsiteRVshow.com.