Hidden camping gem found at Watkins Glen International


DIX, N.Y. (WETM) — If you’ve walked around the infield of the track at Watkins Glen International during NASCAR weekend you’ll see campers of every shape and size. One camper in particular tucked away behind other trailers is rather special, and quite literally one of a kind.

The camper is a pull along trailer, not too long in length, but decorated in full checker livery on the sides with “Special Edition Watkins Glen International by The Great Outdoors” written on each side of the trailer.

Walking out of the trailer was the owner, Walter Gunn. Gunn had been fortunate enough to win the trailer all the way back in 2015 as part of a contest with Watkins Glen and The Great Outdoors.

“Everybody, even myself included, always says ‘nobody wins these things, you’re not going to win, don’t do it’,” said Gunn when asked about the contest he entered to win the camper. “My wife Jodie says look, ‘It’s not going to hurt, put it in, and who knows, your might win,’ whatever,” he said, “I fill it out, just my name, just my phone number, put it in a box and walk away,” he said.

Little did he know he would receive a phone call later that day from The Great Outdoors saying that he was a finalist for a chance to win the trailer. At first he thought it was bogus, but he was persuaded enough to show up to where the contest was being held and he was officially entered as the sixth and final finalist to be registered for the drawing to win the trailer.

Before the NASCAR race on Sunday in 2015 the finalists were brought onto a stage and names were drawn.

“They drew out the tickets and I thought, ‘well, first guy won, nope, last guy won, which was me’,” he said. “So, I was the last guy number six, and was the last guy to be drawn, won the camper, and it truly was the greatest gift to ever have,” he said.

The camper has been all over, and receives all kinds of attention. They’ve taken it to multiple different races and have gained hundreds of friends through their travels to different states.

The couple claims that thousands have been inside the trailer to check it out over the years, and they explained that it was even customized inside with checkered racing items. The comforter on the bed has a checkered pattern along with a checkered pillow, a large checkered floor cover was given to them along with a grill, TV and radio that has a NASCAR radio connection.

To Walter and Jodie, the trailer has been more than just a prize, but a token of hope. Walter was dealing heavily with cancer treatment in 2015 when he won the trailer, and explained that because of the winning, it gave him power and hope to keep going.

“I had to be take over by a cart, got on stage, did not in any way feel like it was going to be me that won, I won, and quite honestly gave me a big huge reason to keep breathing,” Gunn said when speaking about his illness. “I personally feel, had I not won it, I wouldn’t be here today,” he said, “I would not be alive, I wouldn’t be who I am, we’ve suffered greatly in our lives in the past, but quite honestly, since we won, this has given drive, especially to me, and my wife I know for sure, and it gets us here and keeps us going,” he said.

The couple has been coming to WGI for well over 20 years and has had the same camping location just as long, originally from the Coudersport area, the couple enjoys the times they’ve spent at Watkins Glen International, and even more since they won the trailer.


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