Al and Rosemary Ranks don’t make it to Dothan very often.
After all, it’s a long drive from Randolph, Maine, to the Circle City, but the couple is stationed in town this weekend along with more than 260 other campers at the National Peanut Festival fairgrounds for this year’s Samboree.
The Samboree is an annual event that draws members of the Good Sam RV Club from around the country to hang out, play games and raise money for various charities.
“We live in Florida in the winter and were on our way back up anyway, so we decided to stop in for Samboree,” said Al Ranks. “They have a good one here. The city’s good and we’ve got some friends here.”
Good Sams are members of an international group of RV campers that started in the 1960s.
Among the charities supported by the group are Dogs for the Deaf and the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind.
Alabama Good Sam State Director Larry Cobb said Dothan was selected because of its outstanding facilities at the Peanut Festival.
“This is a great campground,” he said. “It’s a first-rate facility.”
Among the games that will be played during Samboree, which lasts through Sunday, are ladder golf, bocce ball, domino games, card games and bean bag baseball.
Rosemary Ranks has been with the organization for years and said it fosters a family atmosphere.
“It started out just helping people who were stranded on the road while camping,” she said. “The bond is like a second family. It’s nice, reaching a certain age with kids leaving the state, to have this family. It’s like a traveling family reunion.”
Boaz resident Fontene Walker, the president of his chapter of the club, echoed Ranks’ sentiments.
“It’s truly like a family,” Walker said. “If one of us gets sick, the others are hurt.”
They’re usually tied up with Samboree activities, but the Ranks said they will be touring Dothan on Friday.
“We’re looking forward to seeing more of the city,” Rosemary Ranks said.
To find out more about the Good Sam RV Club, visit www.goodsamclub.com.
For more on the Alabama Good Sams, visit www.alabamagoodsams.org.