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RV show highlights industry's latest and greatest (video)

By BY ALLISON MILES - AMILES@VICAD.COM
March 8, 2013 at 7:01 p.m.
Updated March 8, 2013 at 9:09 p.m.

Alice Poncio, of Victoria, steps out of a RV at the annual RV show at the Victoria Community Center.

If you go

• WHAT: South Texas RV Show and Sale

• WHERE: Victoria Community Center, 2905 E. North St.

• WHEN: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Call 1-877-888-9444

From their days in Army tents to the years in the pop-up trailer and so on, camping is simply part of life for Glenn and Jean Gisler.

On Friday, the Mission Valley couple was on the hunt for the next big upgrade.

The husband-wife duo attended the South Texas RV Show and Sale on Friday at the Victoria Community Center, 2905 E. North St., to see what was available.

"We have an older fifth wheel, and it's amazing how things have changed," Jean Gisler said, noting that while they were looking, they didn't plan to buy immediately.

The annual show, which continues through Saturday, is a chance for Crossroads residents to catch a glimpse of the latest products and newest trends the industry has to offer, said Tim Kerigan, an event organizer and sales manager with CCRV in Corpus Christi.

"We have a good array of products," he said inside the arena, which organizers joked still smelled like the recent livestock show.

One big trend, he said, is the deluxe camper aspect. Amenities continue to improve with time, he explained, noting newer varieties even accommodate "real furniture," instead of the built-in variety older models offer.

Still, bigger isn't always better.

Kerigan said manufacturers have also begun focusing on smaller, more affordable campers in the $10,000 to $15,000 range.

"After all that's happened, people are more cautious with their money," he said, noting it used to be only the pop-up varieties that met that limit. "This is something anybody can afford."

Price was key for Juan and Alice Poncio, of Victoria, who attended Friday's show to get a better idea of what they were looking for. With Alice Poncio's recent retirement from DeTar Healthcare System, they have the time to travel the country and visit family.

"They sure are beautiful, aren't they?" she said, examining smooth stone countertops. "But $30,000 for something like this? It's a lot."

For Victoria resident Zona Sweeney, RV ownership means the chance to travel while avoiding hotels. As manager at Victoria's Hampton Inn, she said she gets her fill of hotels during the week.

"That's like someone who works at IBM going to Texas Instruments on vacation," she said with a chuckle.

Meanwhile, Winter Texans Wendell and Carol Luchtenburg said they attended the show out of curiosity. They purchased their fifth wheel in 2006, they said, and aren't yet in the market for a new one.

The couple, from Aplington, Iowa, are on their fifth year at Victoria's Lazy Longhorn RV Park, they said. And, while gas prices might be on the rise, they said it's worth it.

"The cold weather twists our arm," Wendell Luchtenburg said.

As for the Gislers, they said they liked what they saw. And while they gathered some good ideas, there are aspects of their current camper they like more.

While Glenn Gisler said his trailer's quality construction and solid wood cabinets is something one doesn't often see in newer varieties, it was something else entirely different that held Jean Gisler back.

"It's paid for," she said.

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