By ROGER SCHNEIDER
THE GOSHEN NEWS
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The prep work for the National RV Trade Show was completed Monday by an army of RV workers, many of them from Elkhart and LaGrange counties.
Travel trailers, motorhomes, pop-up campers, park model trailers, teardrops and pickup campers were moved to their designated spots for the show. The show opens Tuesday morning with a presentation by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, the trade group that sponsors the show at the massive Kentucky Exposition Center.
At the Travel Lite floor area, production manager Scott Sargent was using a cordless drill to prepare a sign for the New Paris company’s display.
“We’re bringing out our new units,” Sargent said.
He said a show feature for Travel Lite will be the new Cobblestone 18-foot ultralight travel trailer from the company’s Idea Division.
Dozens of other new or redesigned RVs from RV manufacturers will also be on display.
Joe Mullet, owner of Pleasant Valley Teardrop Trailers, watched as his crew prepared his company’s trailers for the show.
The Sugar Creek, Ohio, company will be showing its new Clamshell trailer, which is a teardrop large enough to stand in.
“You never know,” Mullet said of how the show will develop for his company. “We have a lot of really good leads this year compared to last year.”
He said his company has grown 100 percent each of the last two years. That growth includes the purchase of the Tab teardrop line from Dutchmen RV in Goshen.
One interesting thing about the company, Mullet said, is that one of its teardrops will be featured in an upcoming National Geographic TV show about doomsday preppers.
Mullet said as the RV industry is finishing up a year that had 11 percent growth, his company’s growth will be about 60 percent.
“We have been doing well. We have great guys working for us,” he said.
As salesmen gathered at company displays throughout the exhibition center to go over details of their products, Brian Hammer, who works in the service/warranty department for Skyline Industries in Elkhart, was scrambling to get large signs on top of several RVs.
“I am excited,” Hammer said as he lifted his ladder and moved toward a new location. “It is my first year down here.”
Unlike Hammer, John Bibbo of Elkhart is an industry veteran.
“I started painting van conversions in 1973,” Bibbo said.
Now he owns CDI LLC, which has two facilities in Iowa to paint motorhomes for Winnebago and Itasca motorhomes. He was at the show to make sure the paint on the motorhomes sparkled under the show lights.
“I just come and make sure everything is the way it is supposed to be,” he said as he took a break from slowly moving an orbital polisher along the side of a motorhome.
And one thing that is universal here at the show is pride in workmanship and the products each company offers.
“Did you see that dark motorhome?” Bibbo asked. “I designed that (paint scheme). It is really different.”
The show opens Tuesday morning and runs through Thursday. The show is not open to the public.