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2019 WBCCI International Rally Recap

Last week, a sea of silver stretched across the grounds of the Meadow Event Park in Virginia as over 700 Airstreams arrived for the 62nd International Rally of the Wally Byam Caravan Club International (WBCCI), also known as the Wally Byam Airstream Club.

Airstreamers from across the U.S. and Canada gathered together to enjoy food, seminars, tours, entertainment, and friendship. This year’s theme was “Enjoy the Ride,” a fitting tribute for an event held at the historic birthplace of the thoroughbred racing legend Secretariat.

Rally participants attended seminars on a variety of topics including cooking in an Airstream, camping at the National Parks, and boondocking. Participants also had the opportunity to join group tours to local sites including the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center. There, they visited one of the most iconic Airstreams of all time: the Mobile Quarantine Facility used by Apollo 11 astronauts after returning from the moon to prevent the spread of any “moon germs.”

Airstream Mobile Quarantine Facility Smithsonian
Photo credit to Diane Tripels, WBAC

Rally attendees were also VIP guests at the dealership Grand Opening Event and 2020 Showcase at Airstream of Virginia. Guests enjoyed a seafood boil, live music, and touring the brand new 2020 Airstream models. 

Airstream of Virginia dealership storefront

The 62nd International Rally was a historic event for the WBCCI, as it was the first International Rally to be held in Virginia. The Club was founded in 1955 and currently has over 13,000 members. Two of its Charter Members, Dale “PeeWee” Schwamborn and Caroline Zimmer-Stone, were in attendance. The two traveled on the 1955 Airstream Wally Byam Caravan to Canada where the Club was founded in Kentville, Nova Scotia. 64 years later, the pair shared a touching moment and recreated a historic photo from the caravan. 

1966 Airstream Caravel Airstream James
James Schaal, 17, of Virginia with his restored 1966 Airstream Caravel

In addition, over 60 vintage Airstreams, 25 years or older, were present at the event. The group included a beautifully restored 1947 Curtis Wright Clipper, a shiny 1956 Airstream Safari, and a 1966 Airstream Caravel restored by James Schaal, 17, of Virginia. James is probably the youngest vintage Airstream owner. He and his father restored the trailer inside and out and added solar panels, surround sound, and more. 

Dale "PeeWee" Schwamborn and Caroline Zimmer Stone in Canada, 1955

Dale "PeeWee" Schwamborn and Caroline Zimmer Stone Today

Another unique model at the Rally was a 2005 SkyDeck owned by Peter and Judy Schwarz with their dog Max. Produced in the early 2000s, the SkyDeck was a Class A motorhome with a rooftop patio, perfect for outdoor entertaining with a panoramic view. 

No Airstream event is complete without animal travel companions. We spotted dogs, cats, and even a few chickens! The most common companion was still the iconic flamingo. 

Airstream Chief Operating Officer Justin Humphreys and Vice President of Sales Lenny Razo presented on the current State of Airstream, the upcoming plant expansion, and the 2020 model year in addition to holding product feedback sessions with owners.  

Pictured left to right: Trailer owners Sylvia & Bill Worrall (and dog, “Lizzie); Dan Smith, Acting Director, National Park Service; Justin Humphreys, Chief Operating Officer, Airstream, Inc.; and Barry Bell, International President, Wally Byam Airstream Club (WBAC). Photo credit to Lew Brodsky, WBAC

Chief Operating Officer Justin Humphreys presenting on the current state of Airstream

Dan Smith, Deputy Director of the U.S. National Park Service, visited the Rally and toured a 2016 Airstream Pendleton Limited Edition with Airstream COO Justin Humphreys, WBCCI President Barry Bell, and owners Bill and Sylvia Worrall. Only 100 of these travel trailers were built in collaboration with Pendleton Woolen Mills to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the National Parks. For every Pendleton travel trailer sold, Airstream, Inc. donated $1,000 to the National Park Foundation.

Seated left to right in the Airstream’s dinette: Sylvia Worrall, Justin Humphreys, Dan Smith, Bill Worrall, and Barry Bell. Photo credit to Lew Brodsky, WBAC

The Closing Ceremony celebrated the hard work of WBCCI President & First Lady Barry and Karen Bell and all of the volunteers who helped make the event possible. The ceremony concluded with the installation of the new Club officers, including International President, Mona Heath, the first female president of the WBCCI. Looking forward to the exciting opportunities and responsibilities that will come with her new role, Mona states,

WBCCI President, Mona HeathPhoto credit to Diane Tripels, WBAC  

I just can’t imagine life without being part of this Club or owning an Airstream.

- Mona Heath

In his Creed, Airstream founder Wally Byam promised “to encourage clubs and rallies that provide an endless source of friendships, travel fun, and personal expressions.” Wally’s dream was kept alive and well throughout the week-long event with happy hours, story swapping, and entertainment. Although the ending is always bittersweet, Airstreamers are already buzzing with excitement for next year’s International Rally in Loveland, Colorado. See you down the road!

 

📸 Featured Drone Photo Credit to Libby Trostle, WBAC