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Local entrepreneur launches RV rental business




BOZEMAN – Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, Winnebago and Bozeman-based RV rental company Blacksford recently announced an operating agreement to provide recreational vehicle rentals at the airport beginning in spring 2019.

Blacksford plans to bring a fleet of brand new Winnebago recreational vehicles with Mercedes-Benz Sprinter platforms to the Bozeman hub and employ between 15 and 20 staff members, according to Dec. 28 statement. Blacksford will offer superior vacation experiences to the growing number of adventure travelers from the U.S. and abroad.

“Winnebago is proud to partner with Blacksford on this exciting RV vacation rental program. Winnebago’s Mercedes-based Sprinter products are the No. 1 selling line in North America and lead the industry in quality, innovation and service,” said Brian Hazelton, vice president and general manager of Motorhomes at Winnebago.

With an estimated $22 million spent on RVs and campgrounds and $42 million spent on auto rentals in the Yellowstone and southwest regions, according to the Montana Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research, Blacksford is looking to elevate the quality and experience all of visitors to the area, according to Big Sky resident and founder of Blacksford, Jonathan Distad.

“We have spent a great deal of time exploring available data as well as ethnographic trends in this space,” Distad said. “The future of this sector is increasingly young adults who value simplicity, transparency and value-driven experiences. Blacksford has all-inclusive pricing that includes everything from unlimited miles, a National Parks pass, donation to Yellowstone Forever, [and] free Wi-Fi with Verizon Connect.”

Blacksford will offer a diverse fleet including the all-wheel-drive 2020 Winnebago Revel, the family-focused 2020 Winnebago View, and the luxurious 2020 Winnebago Era, according to the statement. The company plans to offer complimentary rental options from traditional weekly rentals to the exclusive SeasonaLease, which allows renters to choose any unit for a six-month lease.

“Our goal is to provide the best vehicles with the best service, from prime locations. We believe the Gallatin Valley, and the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport specifically, is the perfect location to headquarter Montana operations,” Distad said. “Our focus on the highest quality RV’s and a simple but high-touch guest experience makes us markedly different.”

With so many choices for family and adventure travel, Distad says his company is aiming to lead the pack at a fair cost. And officials at the Bozeman airport are on board, says Brian Sprenger, director of the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport.

“We are excited to welcome Blacksford to the airport,” Sprenger said. “With our focus on developing southwest Montana as a tourism hub, Blacksford is an exciting new link in supporting Montana vacations.”

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