By ROGER SCHNEIDER firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It’s an RV trade show, but football was the topic Monday morning.
At the National RV Trade Show kickoff breakfast “Mean Joe” Greene, hall of fame NFL defensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers, made a brief appearance on stage. Greene is at the show to promote new products by Dometic of Elkhart, which supplies the RV industry with parts.
Greene had fun with Recreation Vehicle Industry Association board chairman Doug Gaeddert by re-enacting a famous commercial starring Greene in which he throws his worn and muddy jersey to a young boy.
“Here you go kid,” Greene said with a big smile while he tossed a Steelers jersey to Gaeddert.
Then, guest speaker Peter King, NFL writer for Sports Illustrated, told the audience about his experiences using a Jayco Precept motorhome for touring football training camps during the summer.
King said years ago he had traveled cross country with Oakland Raiders football coach John Madden in Madden’s customized bus. Madden refused to fly, according to King, because he was scared of flying, but more because he wanted to experience the sights and people of America.
“He was on this beautiful bus. It was like a Hyatt suite on wheels,” King said.
During that trip King said he decided that someday he too would like to travel like Madden.
King’s job takes him to all the NFL cities and flying is a constant logistic problem.
He experimented with using an RV for traveling for a couple of years and this year, with Jayco’s help, he was able to tour all the training camps. That trip amounted to 11,269 miles.
“And I just had an incredible time,” King said.
He said one humorous incident occurred when he and his staff decided to stop in Jamestown, Pa., to watch a few innings of a minor league baseball game. The RV became stuck in an unpaved area of the parking lot and during the seventh-inning stretch, the entire ground crew turned out to help free the motorhome.
“It was a like a barn raising,” King said. The local TV news crew filmed the incident and it made local headlines.
He said everywhere he went NFL players, coaches and the public stopped by, not to talk about football or meet him, but to ask questions about the RV.
At the Indianapolis Colts camp, quarterback Andrew Luck stuck his head in the RV and told him, “This is the way I want to travel,” according to King.
He said in Minnesota he had Adrian Peterson in the driver’s seat.
Then in Spartansburg, N.C., a family stopped by. Thinking they wanted to talk football, King said he was surprised when the dad told his wife, “We have got to get one of these.”
“It was so funny. He didn’t want to talk about football,” King said, “He wanted to talk about the RV.”