26th Wichita RV Show opening Wednesday at Kansas Pavilions

Matt Young of Wichita moves an RV at the Kansas Coliseum on Monday. Crews are preparing for the Wichita RV Show, which opens Wednesday. (Jan. 5, 2015)
Matt Young of Wichita moves an RV at the Kansas Coliseum on Monday. Crews are preparing for the Wichita RV Show, which opens Wednesday. (Jan. 5, 2015) The Wichita Eagle

Organizers of the Wichita RV Show are hoping that low interest rates and the cheapest gas prices since 2009 will be enough to tempt visitors to buy a new or used RV.

This year’s show, which opens Wednesday at the Kansas Pavilions in Park City, will be “excellent,” show director Jeff Pritchard said.

“Especially because gas prices are dropping,” he said.

RV technicians were rushing around the Pavilions on Monday preparing for the 26th annual event.

Three local RV dealerships – Trailers & Hitches, Flint Hills RV and Wichita RV – will be participating in the show. Each dealership has a section of the large, garage-like pavilion to show off their inventory of trailers, pop-up campers and motor homes.

Pritchard, who has been the director since the first year, said the show has featured the same dealers since the beginning. But this year, he said, they will be showcasing used RVs along with new ones for the first time.

He said it might be hard to tell which are used and which are new, as the pre-owned RVs will be only 2 or 3 years old.

Used RVs will give attendees a wider choice. All the units on display are open for people to walk through. Once units are sold, they will be closed to walk-throughs, Pritchard said.

He said the attendees usually know exactly what they’re looking for.

“They’re educated consumers,” he said. “They’ve shopped and know what they’re looking for. … They go back and forth working their deal, and then they buy.”

Setup began Friday, said Darren Ledgerwood, general manager for Flint Hills RV in Andover. On Monday, Ledgerwood was working alongside a technician, who was moving units around with a forklift.

“When the weather was supposed to get pretty bad, we all started to try to get this stuff inside,” he said. “I got over here to find that the guys had backed everything up in rows, and it’s just a nightmare to get them back out of rows.”

Brad Hey, event coordinator for Trailers & Hitches, an RV dealer in Augusta, called his company’s setup “controlled chaos.”

A month ago, Hey started setting up his company’s layout on two large cork bulletin boards. While the boards sat off to the side as a reference for technicians, Hey said it hasn’t quite worked out the way he thought it would because of pillars scattered throughout the pavilion.

“There’s a lot of improvising on the fly,” he said. “That’s why I call it controlled chaos.”

Even with the setbacks, Hey is confident that his inventory will be ready for the week’s show. He said they’re actually “a whole day ahead.”

Pritchard said the area will be carpeted and the heat will be turned on in the pavilion for the five-day event.

“Just come out and see us,” he said.

Wichita RV Show

When: 4 to 9 p.m. Wed. and Thu.; noon to 9 p.m. Fri.; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sat.; noon to 6 p.m. Sun.

Where: Kansas Pavilions, 1279 E. 85th St. North, Park City

Admission: $8; $1 for ages 12 and younger

More information: www.wichitarvshow.com

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