It Pays to Be an RV-Friendly Business; World’s Largest RV Club Names Its Favorites

VENTURA, Calif., June 27 /PRNewswire/ — Mickey Mouse, motor oil, and motor sports all have something in common. They are products of major businesses from North America that cater to the RV industry and RVers know it.

Still the fastest growing travel segment on the continent, RVing is attracting families, baby boomers, retirees, tailgaters, outdoor enthusiasts and travelers of all kinds. As they take to the roads to explore America, stay in one of more than 8,000 commercial campgrounds or at a major motor speedway for the races, they all share a desire for comfort and convenience.

The world’s largest membership organization of recreational vehicle (RV) owners, the Good Sam Club, has selected its 2005 Welcome Mat Award winners and they represent what the nearly 1 million members voted as the most RV-friendly businesses. Winners will be honored at an award dinner in Redmond, Oregon, at the Great North American RV Rally, July 11-14.

Four-time winner Cracker Barrel Old Country Store caters to RVers with special parking and easy access from the highway. “We appreciate RVers and work hard to accommodate them with quality food and friendly service,” said Rip Coggins, representative for Cracker Barrel at the first three events. “We’ll be at the award’s ceremony again this year because we’re honored to receive this recognition. It shows the RV community appreciates how our employees make their visits to Cracker Barrel a special time in their travels.”

Fort Wilderness Campground and Walt Disney World in Florida have been named winners since the Welcome Mat Awards began in 2002. The popular campground and tourist attraction have consistently scored high marks with Good Sam Club members.

Daytona Motor Speedway scored its third consecutive win this year and will be the site of The Rally in 2006 hosted by the Good Sam Club, Camping World President’s Club, Coast to Coast Resorts, Woodall’s and MotorHome and Trailer Life magazines.

The Good Sam Club began 39 years ago when a group of RV owners put Good Samaritan bumper stickers on their rigs so fellow members would know they could get help on the road. From this small Club it grew to nearly 1 million members. In the early days, Good Sam members spread the word at RV parks and other Club events. Soon everyone wanted to know how to get a Good Sam “smiling face” decal.

Today, the goal remains the same as from those days: to make RVing safer and more enjoyable, and save members money through Club-endorsed benefits and services. They still have fun, stop to help one another and meet their responsibilities to the environment, the highways and the park system through national clean up and volunteer programs.

The 2005 Welcome Mat Award Winners!

Campground: America’s Best Campground in Branson, Missouri
Dinghy vehicle: Saturn
Tow vehicle: Ford F350
Motor oil: Pennzoil
RV show: The Florida Super Show in Tampa, Florida
Fast food chain: Wendy’s
Ice cream parlor: Baskin-Robbins
Sandwich shop: Subway
Gas station: Flying J
Propane outlet: Flying J
Sit-down restaurant: Cracker Barrel
Outlet mall: Tanger Factory Outlet Center
Golf course: Pinehurst in North Carolina (tie)
Walt Disney World, Florida (tie)
NASCAR event: Daytona 500
Shopping center: Wal-Mart
Tourist attraction: Walt Disney World
State to fish: Alaska
Pet supply store: PETsMART
Crafts store: Michaels
Casino: Harrah’s Casinos (nationwide)
State to visit: Colorado
Province to visit: British Columbia

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