Not even a hurricane could keep record numbers of campground operators, vendors and industry officials from attending the annual Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO) Meeting and Tradeshow.
More than 300 park operators, vendors and industry officials are attending the show, the largest in TACO’s history. The two-day event began Tuesday at the Lone Star Convention & Expo Center in Conroe, 40 miles north of Houston, just hours after Tropical Storm Nicholas made landfall.
“This is our biggest show ever in the 49-year year history of our association,” said Brian Schaeffer, executive vice president and CEO of TACO. “Only a handful of people could not make it because of flight cancellations related to the storm.”
Schaeffer said attendees include 192 park operators and staff members and 115 vendors. He said the high attendance figures reflect “an incredible amount of pent-up energy that really mirrors what’s been happening in our industry overall during the pandemic.”
The annual meeting is TACO’s first during the pandemic. Attendees enjoyed a Texas-style barbecue dinner and the annual auction, raising funds to support the association’s government affairs program. This year, however, funds also were needed to help TACO recover losses. The association’s tradeshow displays and tradeshow travel trailer were stolen just over two weeks ago. TACO purchased new tradeshow supplies and rented a 12-foot enclosed U-Haul trailer, which TACO President Randall Dally of Rayburn RV Hideout in Brookeland towed to Conroe.
“We got everything set up for the show on Monday,” Schaeffer said. “Then on Tuesday, we discovered that both Randall’s truck and the U-Haul trailer had been stolen. That’s twice in two-and-a-half weeks!”
Tuesday’s auction raised more than $20,000, portions of which will be used to cover the loss of TACO’s tradeshow supplies, travel trailer and government affairs program.