LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Though acknowledging that they haven’t been able to fully share in the boom year that 2015 has been for the U.S. RV industry as a whole, around 200 members and friends of the RV Dealers Association of Canada were in bright spirits as they gathered for Canada Night on Monday at the luxurious Galt House Hotel.
The U.S. good fortune of a strong dollar and cheap gas prices has meant a tougher year for Canada. The exchange rate means the Canadian dollar doesn’t buy as much as it did just a year or so ago. Cheap gas means low oil prices and that hurts the Canadian economy in areas of the country where oil and gas production are a major part.
Nevertheless, the group was able to celebrate the accomplishments of two of its own during the event.
Sam Parks of Camp-Out RV in Stratford, Ontario, who recently was elected as chairman of the board for the RVDA of Canada, was named the Walt Paseska Canadian Dealer of the Year. The award winner is selected by his peers.
“Walt is an excellent role model and it is a privilege to receive this award dedicated to him,” Parks said. “Without the support of an outstanding group of team members at all of our dealerships, none of us would be able to operate a day-to-day business as well as commit the kind of time needed for Association work. I am very proud to work with these people. They are the foundation necessary to support our business model.”
Other provincial Dealers of the Year who were in the running for the award were Dale Howes of Traveland RV Supercentre in Langley and West Kelowna, British Columbia; Kelly Lardner of Lardner’s Trailer Sales in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Ken Friedenberg of ArrKann RV in Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta; and Kyle Redmond of Bucars RV Centre in Balzac, Alberta.
In addition, RVDA of Canada President Eleonore Hamm was honored for 20 years of service in the Association’s leadership. Hamm joined the Association in 1995 as an executive assistant.
In 2004 she championed the RVDA’s National Advocacy Program and by 2010 had advanced to the position of president.
In 2014 she received a National Scholastic Award.
“It’s been a pleasure to work with all of you,” Hamm told the audience.
After the business portion of the event, former Toronto Maple Leafs forward Wendel Clark regaled the crowd with tales from his career on the ice.
Clark remarked how much professional hockey has changed since his retirement in 2000.
Although fighting is much less part of the game than in the past, he said the game has become more violent because of the increased speed and the fact that every player is taught to hit instead of just one or two players on each team.
“In the old day’s we didn’t teach everybody to hit; it was all done by angles,” he said. “Everything is speeding up because you have better equipment which leads to hitting harder which leads to more accidents and injuries. It’s the same in football.”
He said rule changes that take away a defensive player’s ability to check and hook an offensive player also have sped up the game.