'Surprise' Visitor Not Coming to ARVC Conference
For awhile, the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) thought it had the perfect "surprise" visitor for its upcoming national conference in Savannah, Ga.: a Supreme Court justice who camps.
ARVC CEO Paul Bambei said a plan was being formulated for Associate Justice Clarence Thomas to visit the convention, which opens Nov. 28 in Savannah, and address the assembled ARVC members.
Thomas was born in the Pin Point community near Savannah and is an avid camper, vacationing with his wife Virginia in their 40-foot Prevost bus that's been redone by Marathon Coach.
But a last-minute conflict will prevent Thomas's visit, Bambei confirmed to Woodall's Campground Management this week.
WCM contacted the Supreme Court to check on Justice Thomas's schedule but hadn't heard back for comment.
Bambei seemed to take the letdown in stride, without going into details about how the Thomas visit fell through. No substitute "surprise" visitor is being lined up.
The convention runs through Dec. 3.
The hoped-for Thomas visit was at the center of a minor spat in August between ARVC and Brian Schaeffer, executive director of the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO). Schaeffer touted that he could arrange for Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry to speak at the ARVC conference. Click here to read an earlier WCM story on this subject.
ARVC turned down Schaeffer's offer, saying it wished to remain non-political with its guest speakers.
However, Bambei indicated at that time, "We have someone just as big in mind who’s not running for office and is an RV enthusiast."
Though not identifying Thomas by name in August, Bambei sounded confident that the deal to book Thomas could be sealed.
Schaeffer, when contacted today about the latest developments on the ARVC speaker snafu, said briefly, "He'd be better off to get Herman Cain – who might actually do it – though I have no contacts there!"