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Airstream pre-rally to begin June 12: 400 trailers expected for 2013 international rally

Posted: Monday, May 13th, 2013

These Airstream traveling trailers were part of the 2010 Wally Byam Caravan Club International rally held in Gilette, Wyo. PHOTO COURTESY WBCCI.ORG

HURON — Get ready Huron for the summer of silver.

In just about one month the Wally Byam Caravan Club, International, Inc. will begin to roll into Huron with first of what is expected to be 400 Airstream travel trailer as the 2013 rally will take place June 25-July 4.

But as early as the middle of June, those who setup for the nine-day rally will begin building what the group calls the “Silver City” that will begin to take shape at the South Dakota State Fairgrounds.

John Boutwell, the president of the WBCCI, says the group is volunteer organization.

“Almost anything we do, we do ourselves,” said Boutwell. “So most of what we do, we do for the people that are coming to attend.”

He said that he expects around 400 rigs to be in town before the actual rally begins.

“We currently have 353 pre-registered,” said Boutwell, but there are always about 50 that register during the month leading up to the rally.

“We call it Silver City because its largely aluminum Airstream trailers,” said Boutwell. “The third vice president has responsibility for committee’s that operate outside and so he is identified as the Silver City mayor.”

The initial part of the pre-rally will include volunteers arriving June 12-14

The group will be working around both the antique tractor show and the races slated for the weekend of June 15 and 16.

“Our office facility will be operation on Monday, June 17 and then we start having national caravan leaders will begin arriving on June 18 and they will be having seminars and training sessions all that week.”

Other parts of the pre-rally staff will be also be meeting throughout the week getting things ready.

“The Kiwanis has been kind enough to offer us, their facility that is setup for pancakes and we will be offering pancakes to our workers three days during that week.”

The pre-rally staff of volunteers have a lot to do to get the everything ready for the rally.

“We are going to be stringing our own water lines,” said Boutwell. “The fairgrounds have fire hydrants but they don’t have water to the parking area so we will be putting in a water distribution system to provide for our folks.”

An engineering crew that is part of the early arrivals, will actually lay out where the Airstreams will park and part of their job is to maximize the power of electric pedestals already on the fairgrounds.

We have electrical crews that make sure the power is up and running as the attendees arrive.

The group even handles its own sanitation with a pumper that makes the rounds through the parking area on a four- to five-day cycle.

“We start with those folks who are essential in getting our community together,” said Boutwell. “We have all of our support materials in Huron which we shipped to the fairgrounds in Sedalia, Mo.”

They will begin to unload those materials when they arrive.

The buildings the group will be using the women’s building, the expo building, family living center, the FFA building and the Dakota Flavor Marketplace.

While the club features mostly adults their will be some with extended relations.

“We have a few families that will be there with their children,” said Boutwell. “A few families will be there with grandchildren.”

In all he expects 400 rigs and around 800 people with some not staying on the grounds and opting for hotels.

The group is pretty self-sustaining with nondenominational church services but some of the club members may attend local church services, said Boutwell.

Other places where the group may be seen is shopping around town and as he put it, “all of the restaurants in town can plan on a significant impact from our folks.”

He said the bigger group meals will take place at the Huron Event Center.

“We have scheduled that and it is an outstanding facility,” said Boutwell. “I was very, very impressed.”

Local hardware stores will receive its share of visitors.

“We have pipe that we have used for years, but we will have to buy some couplings and some other things.”

But while the group will be in town using the fairgrounds they do give back quite a lot.

The things that surprises most communities that the rally has been at is the “Silver City’s” community service activities.

“Our band will typically have small ensembles that will go to nursing homes and other kinds of concerts,” said Boutwell.

And some of the group’s generosity comes from work done throughout the year prior to the upcoming rally.

They also hand out blankets at local hospitals, warm hats that were knitted, stuffed animals for emergency responders and he described it as “large numbers of stuffed animals.”

They also collect pop can tabs and recycle them giving the money to the closest Ronald McDonald House in the area.

They also collect food for shelters and host a blood bank to donate blood.

“We do all of those kind of things for the community,” said Boutwell.

The group also works recycling everything they can and involved in that wherever they go.

“People are typically amazed at how much recyclable material will come out of this number of rigs there for that amount of time.”

There may be some outdoor enthusiasts among the group but more than likely residents might also see large groups of club members out biking through town.

They also have a committee that matches people here in Huron with club members that have similar interests.

The one event that will be community oriented will be June 27 where they will Wounded Warrior event and they are working with local VFW and American Legion representatives.

The event is planned to have bands and ticket sales will go to the Wounded Warrior Project.

The Plainsman is helping to put together a pre-rally publication that will be given out to those volunteers that start showing up early to set up.

Anyone that is interested in providing information or wanting to advertise can call Corinn Decker at 353-7430 or the newsroom at 353-7425.

For the complete article see the 05-12-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 05-12-2013 paper.

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