The Making of the Class B National Rally

A behind-the-scenes look at BNR from one of the organizers.

Jenny Van Atta Jenny Van Atta  |  04.09.2019

There is a scene in Ocean’s 11 where George Clooney is explaining his plan for the ultimate casino robbery to Brad Pitt and they are talking about the resources they will need. Brad Pitt says: “You’d need at least a dozen guys doing a combination of cons. Off the top of my head, I’d say you’re looking at a Bosky, a Jim Brown, a Miss Daisy, two Jethros and a Leon Spinks … not to mention the biggest Ella Fitzgerald ever.”

I think that’s a little like putting on an event like BNR – it takes a village! First things first, there was the big idea. At last year’s GNR, while sitting around at ‘van village’ – aka the Winnie B row tent, someone said something like … “wouldn’t it be cool if we could have an event like this just for vans?” An idea was born: The Class B National Rally.

The event would be geared specifically toward van owners where the location, speakers, and activities all aimed to please adventurous owners. Instead of a dedicated campground with full hookups, we could meet at a boondock location, have some outdoor activities to get our heart rates up, and talk about things that every vanlifer is obsessed with – solar, remote access to internet, and finding free places to camp.

class b national rally

Turning the Idea into Reality

The main thing I learned from organizing this grand event was to play to each person’s strengths. When Stef (who you all know from The FitRV) and I started working on this event eight long months ago, dividing up the tasks was pretty clear.

Stef’s job and life involves epic adventures, checking out all sorts of vans and cool RV accessories, and keeping us all fit. She’s the effervescent and bubbly one who can reach out to sponsors, vendors, and speakers. Stef was also the perfect hype-woman – she got us all excited about the event!

In the real world, I draft desk procedures, process maps, and teach people how to use procurement software. If you need someone to be detail oriented and good with a spreadsheet, I’m your woman. So, my main responsibilities were to track sign-ups, balance the budget, and create a structured schedule. I also got to debut my hidden talent as the comic relief on the microphone each night … I get a lot of practice trying to keep adults entertained during super-exciting procurement process training (snore).

As the event drew nearer, it was clear that we needed help tying up all the loose ends. We needed a ‘closer’, and in came Terri. She helped follow up with the park, whipped up a plan to make welcome packets, thought of several special touches to make the event memorable for everyone, and still had time to make an amazing bee-themed lap quilt to donate to the raffle – superwoman!

class b national rally - dream team

Once it was finally time for the event, the numerous member volunteers sprung to action to help. The check-in crew, the parking crew, and the clean-up crew all played very important parts. These fresh faces greeted everyone as they rolled in for the big day and also allowed Stef, Terri, and I to actually be able to enjoy some of the event. We would have been scrambling without them, for sure!

class b national rally

Last, but not least, the Winnebago team contributed so much to making our event a success. Their experience with organizing other big events like GNR was invaluable. One of their genius ideas was name badges with the schedule printed on the back – such a simple idea, but so impactful to all of the participants. No matter what our request, these ladies rolled up their sleeves and jumped in to help. They showed a real appreciation for their customers and proved why the Winnebago family is a very special group to belong to.

class b national rally

A Few Closing Thoughts

We hope that everyone from sponsors to speakers to participants had a blast at our first-ever Class B National Rally in Scottsdale, AZ – let’s do it again! There were some fantastic memories made out there in the desert – we biked, paddled, and stargazed together, checked out each other’s van mods, learned from the great speakers, and had plenty of fun happy hour chats. I look forward to helping out with the next event … well maybe after I retire – haha.

class b national rally

I tried to find a way to wrap this up with an analogy that would lead to Russ Garfin playing the role of Amazing Yen, the tiny acrobat from Ocean’s 11. However, after organizing BNR, I’m too tired to connect those dots. But, you’re welcome for the imagery …

Cheers until the next Rally!

class b national rally

For more info about joining Winnie Bs or our upcoming rallies, check out our website. And, if you attended BNR, please share below what your favorite memory from the event was!


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2 Comments

  1. Noel Posted on 04.24.2019

    Jenny, awesome account of the detailed planning that it took to pull off this amazing event! I think it speaks volumes that 100+ vans showed up! You, Stef, and Terri provided another opportunity for our van owners to connect and extend the family! We THANK you!

  2. Sharon Slaughter Posted on 04.22.2019

    It would be absolutely impossible for me to distill my memories and reactions to the first BNR to even a few. It was an overwhelming experience to connect with old and new friends, share tons of help, ideas, & big fun – all in a stunning setting with perfect weather! Can’t thank you enough, Jenny, Stef, Terri, vendors, Winnebago and all the hard-working volunteers. Can’t wait for the next opportunity to gather with such a great group!