Tuscon’s two Rincon Country RV Resorts win the RV Resort industry’s highest awards
Tucson’s two Rincon Country RV Resorts have won the prestigious Park of the Year Awards from the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds. The 460-site Rincon Country East RV Resort won the Large Park of the Year Award while the 1,100-site Rincon Country West RV Resort won the Mega Park of the Year Award.
It was the first time in the 40-year history of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds that the large and mega park honors were given to same owner.
“Personally, I feel very humbled by our achievement,” said George O’Leary, 86, who built the two Rincon Country resorts with his family in the 1970s and 80s.
O’Leary immigrated to the U.S. from his hometown of Nenagh, in County Tipperary, Ireland, in 1957 after briefly living and working in Canada. He came to Tucson in 1970 and developed the Rincon Country Mobile Home Park before developing Rincon Country East RV Resort in 1979 and Rincon Country West RV Resort in 1983.
The two Rincon Country resorts are among the most highly rated RV resorts in the United States, earning perfect 10-10-10 ratings from the million-member Good Sam Club.
Both resorts have also received numerous industry awards, including “Park of the Year” awards from the Arizona Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds in 2006, 2007 and 2016. George O’Leary also received “Operator of the Year” awards from the the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds in 1999 and 2002. But the national “Park of the Year” awards had remained elusive until now.
“There is an old Irish proverb that says, ‘It’s a long road that does not have a turn in it,’ meaning that no matter how good or how bad things are, sooner or later one can expect them to change,” O’ Leary said.
“On many occasions during the past 30 years or so I entered each of our RV parks in our industry’s annual ‘Park of the Year’ award contest, ending up as an ‘also ran.’ This year, my son, Danny, put the award submissions together for both Rincon Country East and Rincon Country West. We had not planned on attending this year’s convention in Oklahoma City. No one is ever told the outcome until banquet night. This year was no different. I got a call from a friend from another state asking if we were attending this year. I said no. I was told it might be beneficial for us if we attended. A discussion was held between my top managers, Wendy Bykofsky, Annette Weinell and Danny, who serves as my marketing manager, and we decided, ‘What the heck. Let’s go!’ The rest is history.”
O’Leary credited his staff and quality customer service for helping him to achieve the national awards. He noted that many of best staff members have spent much of their adult lives working at his resorts, which ensures not only excellent customer service, but consistency in the quality of his RV resort operations.
In a newsletter to Rincon Country’s winter guests, O’Leary lamented that some of his longtime staff members who recently passed away were not around to savor the national awards, including Bob Smith, who spent 35 years in maintenance; Norma Huffaker, who spent 20 years in bookkeeping; Gene Reigelspiegar, who spent 17 years in the mailroom; as well as Tom and Marilyn Thompson, who managed Rincon Country East for 17 years.
Both Rincon Country RV Resorts have been featured in recent issues of Woodall’s Campground Management, a monthly newspaper that covers the North American campground business.
While some people live at the Rincon Country resorts year-round, both resorts are winter homes for thousands of “snowbirds” from the colder areas of the United States and Canada who crave a warm place to spend the winter with friends. At Rincon Country resorts, snowbirds enjoy fine swimming pools, spas and state-of-the-art exercise facilities as well as pickle ball courts, tennis courts and theaters for banquets, live entertainment and other special events organized by professional activity directors.
Both resorts offer over 50 different organized activities during the winter months, from bocce ball, pickleball, hiking, biking and swimming pool exercises to classes in everything from digital photography to ceramics and jewelry making to woodshop. Numerous clubs are also based at both parks and are run by volunteers, while social activities are guided by activity directors and range from regular hiking and biking trips to pot lucks, line dancing and square dancing events.
The resorts also have unique amenities, including a G-gauge outdoor railroad at Rincon Country West, sometimes referred to as a garden railroad, which is believed to be the largest RV park railroad set in Arizona, if not the nation. Built around a 50- by 100-foot garden area near the park’s main office, the train set features themed villages that represent distinct periods of American history from the Old West to the 1950s. The trains travel over trestle bridges, tunnels and streams as they make their way from village to village.
Unique amenities at Rincon Country East include an 11-inch Celestron reflector telescope, which is used by the resort’s Astronomy Club. Park guests regularly view the planets and constellations with the help of Astronomy Club members.
For more information on the two Rincon Country RV Resorts, please visit www.rinconcountry.com.