2021 Eastern Rally - A First-TImer's Perspective

02/04/2021 8:50 PM | Pete Baker (Administrator)

Food, Fun, and Fellowship - Seffner, FL
by John Sorensen, FMA Board of Directors / Secretary

This year, my wife Ann and I attended our very first Fleetwood Motorhome Association (FMA) rally. The 2021 15th Annual Friends First National FMA Rally was held January 19th through the 24th at Lazydays RV Resort in Seffner, FL. Of the over 200 that attended, 55 were in our same category, "First-timers." As such, we were not quite sure what to expect, especially with all the uncertainty of travel this year.

The week turned out to be nothing short of amazing. I had the privilege of leading the First-Timers session (a bit daunting as a first-timer myself). In preparation, Marilyn Murphy shared with me her notes from the prior year. Highlighted prominently were the words, "Food, Fun, and Fellowship!"  I said the words to the new group with a bit of faith. In the end, Marilyn was spot on. The days were filled with great food, fun entertainment, and wonderful fellowship.

Bill Johnson, FMA's President, and his team that planned the event, showed great wisdom in the preparations. Due to the pandemic, our meals were eaten outside, under a big tent, offering plenty of fresh air. The inside sessions were mask-mandatory and spread out, offering plenty of social distance. But the distance did not hamper the enthusiasm of those there.

We enjoyed outstanding evening entertainment from the likes of Krossing Jordan, Kim and the Kadillacs, and Kenny Evans. Other nights offered bingo and a movie night.  There were tours to General RV, the Port Tampa Bay Educational Harbor, and Busch Gardens.

We were certainly blessed by Rick Horther and his Fleetwood Rally Service team. They offered high end service to all Fleetwood and American Coaches that attended. Thank you Fleetwood RV/REV. You all are truly amazing!  And thank you to Nick Abelseth and the Firefly team who offered information and service as well.

What surprised us the most was the vast wealth of information to help us care for our coach and get the most out of it over the coming years. Fellow FMA-ers were quick to offer advice and tips. The days were packed with sessions from vendors and fellow members on a wide arrays of topics like fire safety (Proteng), tire safety (RettroBand), Firefly Innovations, AquaHot, cooking with your convection/microwave oven, furnace maintenance, jack maintenance, and a fire-side chat with Freightliner. 

Thanks go to each one that worked so hard to make this year's rally such a success!
* Bill and Laura Johnson—for putting together such an incredible event, planning the seminars, and stepping in to teach the session on Boondocking/Conservation
* Terry North—for arranging the optional activities
* Larry and Mary Ellen Hornsby—for arranging the door prizes, entertainment, flea-market, and serving as the Master of Ceremonies
* Ken Browning—for arranging and managing the terrific food and service
* Jerry Mask—for stepping up to lead the golf outing when Mark was unable to come
* Shelly Goltara and Johnny Spacek—for arranging the Meet and Greet, bingo, and helping the many new members get registered
* Bob Angus—for stepping in at the last minute to teach the AquaHot seminar, coordinating the General RV Luncheon, and arranging the great discount on filters from the local Kenworth dealer
* Channing Boyd, Brooke Daley, and Rebecca Proper of the LazyDays staff, who were invaluable in their efforts to make this a great rally
* Last but certainly not least is Chef Max who provided us with great meals, and a wonderful seminar on using the convection microwave.

Bill Johnson told me that if we came to the event, we would likely leave with some new, and potential life-long friends. He could not have been more right!

Plans are being made for next year's rally and will be made available soon via the website (fma4fun.org). Register early to guarantee a space. 

If you've never attended a FMA rally, I certainly commend it to you. And can say with confidence that you'll enjoy "Food, Fun, and Fellowship!"


  • 04/20/2021 8:05 PM | David Faccenda
    Would live to attend a rally but they always seem to be in the winter. I am not retired yet and living in ohio makes it impossible to attend. Why not do one in the summer months up north.
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  • 01/30/2024 7:05 PM | Gary Sipes
    Rick and his fleetwood team were great! They made a repair to our dash that turned out to be great on the way home. No more raising up and down and shaking the gps off the dash.
    Thank you.
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  • 01/30/2024 7:10 PM | Gary Sipes
    I just want to make a big thank you to Jeff when he weighed our rig! He noticed that my inside rear dual was flat. After weighing our couch and airing up the tire so it was safe to move and park, he spent the time finishing airing all the tires and resetting our tire minder.
    Thanks Jeff and his family!
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