LAS VEGAS – A crowd of Canadian RV dealers gathered in a conference room above Bally’s casino, separate from the 2018 RVDA Convention/Expo occurring in the adjacent Paris Las Vegas hotel. Our neighbors literally to the north in Bally’s Jubilee Tower welcomed RVDA of Canada Chairman Jean-François Lussier of Horizon Lussier to the podium. In what would be his final speech as member of the board, Lussier first addressed the concerns of the metal tariffs set by the Trump administration.
“There is room for optimism that negotiations to the end will be fruitful,” he said, mentioning how recent negotiations regarding NAFTA and the creation of the USMCA gives them hope.
After several briefs regarding an outdoors coalition to help bring attention to the economic benefits of recreation, Lussier congratulated past Dealer of the Year winner Sam Parks (of Camp-Out RV Centre) on his retirement from the board.
He then listed several new sponsors and partners of the RVDA of Canada before announcing Triangle RV as the winner of 2018’s Bulk Booth award for its exhibit during the Vancouver Island RV Show. Next, he introduced Melanie Taylor, associate publisher of RV Lifestyle, to present the award for Canada’s 29th annual Dealer of the Year.
“Each year we present this award to a Canadian RV dealer in recognition of their significant, long-term commitment and dedication to the RV lifestyle, the RVDA movement and the community at large,” said Taylor.
And this year was no different as she congratulated Jim Gorrie and Kevin Betzold of GNR Camping World RV Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on winning the prestigious award.
Other nominees included: Al Robinson of Great Canadian RV, Eric Soulière of VR Soulière, Keith Stapleton of Gimme Shelter, and Collin Yaretz of South Thompson RV.
“Jim and Kevin’s father-in-law, Gil Robert, won the award in 1992, so this is a second-generation winner,” she said, presenting glass statues to Gorrie and Betzold.
“This award is special for a lot of reasons,” said Betzold. “It takes a community to raise a child. Well, I think it takes an RV industry to raise a dealer. A special thanks to all the other dealers that helped us along the way; and (RVDA of Canada President) Eleonore Hamm and your team – you’ve been a great support for the industry.”
GNR Camping World RV Centre began in 1971 and expanded over the decades to occupy 21,500 square feet. Both Betzold and Gorrie have served on the Provincial RVDA of Manitoba Board of Directors, as well as RVDA of Canada.
“This award is really special too because I get to share it with not only my business partner and brother-in-law,” said Betzold, “but a great friend also.”