‘Riding with the Brand’ Tour: Follow the National Road Trip

Be a part of the National Association of REALTORS®’ year-long trek across the country.

Jump to: Biloxi, Miss. | Wisconsin Dells, Wis. | Manhattan, Kan. | Des Moines, Iowa | Mescalero, N.M. | North Dakota | Minneapolis | South Dakota | Osage Beach, Mo. | West Virginia | Hyattsville, Md. | Warwick, R.I. | Columbus, Ohio | Concord, N.H. | Lansing, Mich. | Indianapolis | Williamsburg, Va. | Hartford, Conn. | REALTORS® Legislative Meetings | Sacramento, Calif. | Springfield, Ill. | Helana, Mont. | REALTOR® Broker Summit | Boise, Idaho | Salem, Ore. | La Vista, Neb. | Reno, Nev. | Tallahassee, Fla. | Austin, Texas | Atlanta | Little Rock, Ark. | Lexington, Ky. | Oklahoma City | Denver | Columbia, S.C. | Cheyenne, Wyo. | Phoenix | Atlantic City, N.J.

Biloxi, Miss.: REALTOR® Brand Takes Over the Southern Coast

More than 600 members and nearly 50 exhibitors attended the Mississippi REALTORS® convention Oct. 10-12 in coastal Biloxi, where conference-goers advanced their knowledge of the real estate industry and celebrated what it means to be a part of the REALTOR® brand.

The Riding with the Brand event kicked off the convention at The Ground Zero Blues Club, the newly opened second location of actor Morgan Freeman’s renowned blues club. Attendees explored the RWTB motorcoach, posed with the motorcycle, embraced in camaraderie with old and new friends and heard from MAR President Jon Ritten and NAR Vice President of Advocacy Pete Kopf. Then, they all hit the dance floor to rock along to the Jessica Riley Craig Band.

Mississippi REALTORS® deeply appreciated the mission of the motorcycle giveaway: to raise funds for the REALTORS® Relief Foundation, which helps disaster victims. “Mississippi was hit hard this year by catastrophic storms and destructive tornados,” Ritten says. “Mississippians are resilient, though. And when times get tough, we come together and lift each other up. REALTORS® did what they do best and came together to recover and rebuild.”

Kopf applauded the Mississippi REALTORS® Disaster Relief Fund, led by Chair David Griffith, which stepped in to support victims in the state along with RRF. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves joined the association’s general membership meeting where he, too, recognized and appreciated the heavy lifting REALTORS® do to bring relief to Mississippi communities after natural disasters.

Mississippi REALTORS® fully embraced what it means to not just ride for the REALTOR® brand—but with the brand.

–Taylor Spillman, marketing and communications director, Mississippi REALTORS®

Wisconsin Dells, Wis.: A Show of Unity

The Wisconsin REALTORS® Association’s state convention, which took place Oct. 1-3 in the picturesque Wisconsin Dells, drew nearly 800 attendees who were ready to celebrate the venerable REALTOR® brand. The convention served not only as a platform for a wide array of workshops and educational opportunities but also to celebrate the real estate industry through NAR’s Riding with the Brand tour.

One of the convention’s key features was a dedicated RWTB exhibit booth, thoughtfully designed using assets from NAR’s activation kit, which included the ever-popular “bean bag toss.” In a bid to build awareness among attendees, Riding with the Brand swag hats were given away at check-in, effectively turning participants into brand advocates.

The WRA further enhanced the message by strategically placing branded RWTB charging stations throughout the exhibit area. These stations allowed participants to keep their smartphones and tablets charged while they were on the move, aligning perfectly with the event’s “rev up” theme.

A standout moment occurred when attendees were asked to proudly don their “Riding with the Brand” hats. Added as a thrilling dimension to the convention’s festivities, the kick-off celebration party featured life-size racing motorcycles that enabled participants to compete and test their racing skills virtually—a creative nod to the RWTB theme. It injected an extra dose of excitement into the convention’s celebration.

Conference attendees masterfully combined educational excellence and industry camaraderie with a spirited endorsement of the REALTOR® brand. The event not only celebrated the real estate industry’s vitality but also underscored the remarkable power of unity and purpose in one common goal: to protect and defend property rights.

–Rob Uhrina, vice president of marketing and communications, Wisconsin REALTORS® Association

Manhattan, Kan.: A Walk on the Fun Side

The Riding with the Brand tour came to the Kansas Association of REALTORS® during its annual conference Sept. 27-29 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Manhattan, Kan. With more than 325 members turning out for the event—a record for KAR’s annual conference—the synergy between RWTB and the conference lineup was clear.

The RWTB motorcycle was on display in a high-traffic location next to the registration desk, while the motorcoach was parked just outside the conference venue. Festivities around RWTB included a hot mini donuts food truck, tours of the motorcoach and a wellness walk. This was followed by yard games, live acoustic bluegrass performers, a presentation by guest speaker and entrepreneur Dave Dreiling, raffle drawings and an evening of fun activities sponsored by Security 1st Title.

All members of KAR leadership made an appearance at the event, including Immediate Past President Andrew Mall, CEO Karen Gehle, President Thomas Howe, President-elect Jon Fort, First Vice President Jamie Sauder and First Vice President-elect Jeff Hill. NAR Immediate Past President Leslie Rouda Smith also was on hand.

Rouda Smith addressed the Board of Directors meeting and was the keynote speaker for the RWTB luncheon. She also participated in a local leadership meeting with KAR and NAR as well as a meet-and-greet with KAR members. She wrapped up her busy day at the RWTB fun night out.

–Jennifer Wright, director of member engagement, Kansas Association of REALTORS®

Des Moines, Iowa: Rocking the Brand

The value of a REALTOR® took center stage on Sept. 26 when the Iowa Association of REALTORS® welcomed more than 200 members to downtown Des Moines for the REALTORS® Rock the Block party. The evening showcased not only the REALTOR® brand but the difference each member makes in their own communities.

In the summer, IAR challenged its local boards around the state to participate in a “summer of service,” stepping out into their communities to make a difference. And that’s exactly what they did.

“Each service project touched the lives of those in our communities, and each project showcased the power, support and strength of the REALTOR® spirit,” IAR President Krista Clark says. “The list is long, and the impact is even bigger. We celebrated our members and all of the support they provide not only to their communities but their fellow REALTORS® as well.”

Members showcased how they do more than sell a property: REALTORS® are community leaders and volunteers who work to improve and enhance the lives of those in the areas they serve. Local boards volunteered to serve meals at rescue missions, pack feminine hygiene products for those in need, build benches at a local zoo and collect school supplies.

Many of the community partners and groups that were served by REALTORS® joined the block party, offering information and collaboration to members. The Rock the Block party served as the culmination of the summer, celebrating the worth and value of our members and how they live the brand.

Welcoming the Riding with the Brand initiative to the state created a “full circle” moment for members and created a cohesive community of REALTOR® blue. Learning about the REALTOR® Relief Foundation and hearing from NAR leadership solidified the passion and presence of REALTOR® values in the evening.

While we live each day by the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, having the chance to celebrate those values with fellow members was a truly empowering experience.

–Ashlee Kieler, director of marketing and communications, Iowa Association of REALTORS®

Riding with the Brand in New Mexico
© New Mexico Association of REALTORS®

Mescalero, N.M.: The Real Estate Community Comes Together

The New Mexico Association of REALTORS®’ annual conference this year revolved around Riding with the Brand. Hosted at the Inn of the Mountain Gods in Mescalero, N.M., on August 23-25, the conference was NMAR’s most well-attended in the past decade, with over 140 attendees and dozens of guest companions. The three-day conference was packed with valuable sessions, insightful speakers and fun networking opportunities for members.

Members wore their “Riding with the Brand” shirts, which were distributed for free with early-bird registration. NMAR President Hubert H. Hill II and NAR Regional Vice President Kevin Sigstad ignited the conference with inspiring welcoming remarks and contagious REALTOR® spirit.

A highlight of the conference was the keynote speaker, Elliot Eisenberg, who is well-known as “The Bowtie Economist.” Eisenberg provided attendees with an update on recent economic trends and insights into the ever-changing real estate landscape. In addition, Emmary Simpson, president of the Beverly Carter Foundation, led an informative broker safety class, and Baro Shalizi taught an essential “Intro to Global Business” class. NMAR General Counsel Ashley Strauss-Martin presented a compelling and timely legal update.

During the meetings, updated NMAR bylaws and policies were approved, and new leaders were elected to the Board of Directors. The board also confirmed Coleen Dearing of Barker Realty in Santa Fe as 2024 NMAR president, as well as Dan Coleman of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Roswell as 2024 president-elect.

The celebration banquet was a fitting conclusion to the conference, where volunteer leadership, staff and outstanding individuals were honored. Connie Hettinga of Las Cruces was named REALTOR® of the Year, and Kent Simpson received the prestigious Peggy Comeau Leadership Award for his exceptional contributions to the association.

The conference’s annual silent and live auction—which included several Riding with the Brand-themed items—raised a record-breaking $14,840, providing vital support to the New Mexico Real Estate Education Foundation and the Benevolent Fund. This conference was undoubtedly a momentous occasion, bringing together NM REALTORS® and providing them with critical knowledge, opportunities for connection and collaboration, and a chance to give back to the REALTOR® community.

–Lisa Miles, marketing and communications director, New Mexico Association of REALTORS®

North Dakota: A 3-Day Trek to Elevate the ‘Best Brand in the World’

Taking an unconventional approach to their leg of the national Riding with the Brand tour, leaders and staff of the North Dakota Association of REALTORS® spent three days traveling the state to bring the celebration of the REALTOR® brand to their members. From Aug. 7 to 9, the team visited all seven local boards in the state, hosting an independent event at each location. The traveling troupe had the chance to connect with hundreds of members across The Peace Garden State and emphasize the value of being a member of the National Association of REALTORS®.

“These events were a great opportunity for us to showcase the power of the REALTOR® ‘R’ and remind our members that they stand with a 1.5 million-strong network,” said North Dakota Association of REALTORS® CEO Jill Beck. “We were encouraged with every stop we made. Our members are truly the best that North Dakota has to offer, and their pride in the industry was evident.”

The three-day route included stops in Jamestown, Bismarck, Dickinson, Williston, Minot, Grand Forks and Fargo. The Riding with the Brand team in North Dakota traveled more than 1,000 miles over nearly 20 hours.

The team was joined in Grand Forks and Fargo by Greg Martin, NAR’s 2023 commercial and industry specialties liaison. Martin spoke to members in both cities about what it means to be a REALTOR®, from the deep community connections and volunteer spirit to the commitment to excellence and relentless defense of property rights. He praised the North Dakota members for their evident passion for their profession.

At each location, members had a chance to enjoy good food and good company, as well as try their hand at a game of cornhole. While the activities and offerings varied based on what time of day each local board event was held, the atmosphere and the enjoyment of those in attendance stayed the same.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent trekking the great state of North Dakota and talking with our association’s members at each location,” says North Dakota Association of REALTORS® President Kevin Fisher. “All that driving was worth it to see REALTORS® in every corner of our state representing the best brand in the world.”

–Sarah Caldwell, communications director, North Dakota Association of REALTORS®

Minneapolis: ‘When REALTORS® Are Happy, the Economy is Happy’

By bus, car and even limousine, hundreds of members of the Minnesota Realtors® association came together to celebrate the REALTOR® brand on the state’s biggest stage: U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. What better place to recognize the impact REALTORS® on housing and communities statewide than at the home of the beloved Minnesota Vikings?

Members from Duluth to Rochester showed up wearing “REALTOR® blue” and “Viking purple” while the Riding with the Brand motorcoach was parked outside the stadium on Medtronic Plaza—a perfect spot for members to stop and take photos with NAR President Kenny Parcell and President-elect Tracy Kasper, both of whom connected with many attendees throughout the event.

Inside, U.S. Bank’s jumbotron screens showcased a video featuring Minnesota Realtors® as attendees heard from two homegrown Minnesota lawmakers who have risen to national prominence: Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Congressman Tom Emmer. In an era of partisan bickering, these two politicians happen to be good friends who have worked together and across the aisle to get things done for many years. They cracked a few good-natured jokes and spoke about how REALTORS® play a critical role in one of the nation’s prime economic drivers: the housing market.

“I love having you come out. I always figure: When REALTORS® are happy, the economy is happy—and that means I’m happy,” Klobuchar said.

Emmer, who serves as House Majority Whip, stressed the importance of affordable housing. “Your issues matter to us,” he said. “Real estate is a cornerstone for job creation. We want to do everything in our power to ensure that houses are not only affordable but that everybody can have the opportunity to achieve the American dream—the Minnesotan dream—of owning a home.”

Parcell and Kasper then took the stage to reiterate the strength of the REALTOR® spirit and express gratitude for the part Minnesota Realtors® members play in the national picture. “I get the biggest smiles and the warmest hugs here [in Minnesota],” Kasper said. “I know why you’re here—it’s not to see [NAR leaders]. It’s to represent exactly what you do: helping people achieve homeownership.”

Parcell closed with a message of empowerment. “It’s not ‘Riding for the Brand—it’s ‘Riding with the Brand.’ And the brand is you. The brand is us,” he said.

After the short program, NAR leaders, Minnesota Realtors® staff and guests continued celebrating with food, beverages, yard games, live music and photo opportunities around the Riding with the Brand motorcycle, which was displayed on the U.S. Bank Stadium balcony with the Minneapolis skyline in the background. Minnesota Realtors® CEO Josh McFall noted the event’s success: “Our members will be buzzing about Riding with the Brand for a long time. It was an amazing event.”

–Stephanie Teig, senior vice president of marketing and communications, Minnesota Realtors®

South Dakota: REALTORS® on Bikes Head to Mount Rushmore

The Riding with the Brand motorcoach came to the Black Hills of South Dakota on July 27, along with the REALTOR®-branded motorcycle—a perfect addition to the festivities as members from around the state gathered at the famous Black Hills Harley-Davidson in Rapid City, S.D. The South Dakota REALTORS® association was there to rally members around REALTOR® pride and emphasize the importance of their collective voices to improve market conditions for consumers and property owners.  

“This is an incredible opportunity to host an event that brings housing experts in the Black Hills region and NAR dignitaries together in our state to discuss housing issues,” said South Dakota REALTORS® President Emilie Portz. She described several ways in which REALTOR® associations across South Dakota are “helping change lives and build communities.”

“The Central South Dakota Board of REALTORS® [in Pierre, S.D.] is an example of how we collaborated with our communities by leveraging NAR grants to build a community dog park,” Portz continued. “The Mitchell Board of REALTORS® [in Mitchell, S.D.] donated to the Kristi Arnold Memorial Playground addition that was designed to be enjoyed” by everyone, including people with disabilities.

Portz joined NAR Regional Vice President Patty Zuzek and Matt Krogman, a lobbyist for South Dakota REALTORS®, to discuss housing related issues, legislative advocacy and the REALTOR® brand. The discussion included other members of the business community, like Scott Landguth, executive director of the South Dakota Ellsworth Development Authority. NAR President Kenny Parcell and First Vice President Kevin Sears closed the event, which was recognized with a Governor’s proclamation.

The motorcoach and motorcycle, as well as a game of cornhole, provided photo and networking opportunities for members. Following the program, a “REALTOR® ride” through the majestic Black Hills was led by Parcell and South Dakota REALTORS® Past President Kevin Kuehn. The ride stopped in the town of Sturgis—just ahead of the 83rd Sturgis Motorcycle Rally—where members visited Main Street and the Gold Star Veteran’s Memorial. The ride then continued along scenic Highway 385 and concluded with a lighting ceremony at Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

“I am so impressed with the event South Dakota REALTORS® organized,” Parcell said. “Not only was it a once-in-a-lifetime event but I was also able to spend quality time with incredible REALTORS®. I can’t thank them enough for all they do for the REALTOR® brand.”

–Dana R. Holben, member programs director, South Dakota REALTORS®

Osage Beach, Mo.: Showing Unity Under the REALTOR® Brand

It’s one thing to say you’re united under the REALTOR® brand, but it’s another thing to show it.

Members of Missouri REALTORS® from across the state converged on the Show-Me Emerging Issues Real Estate Summit in Osage Beach on July 16-18 to celebrate their shared connection under the REALTOR® brand. There was a fervor in the air as the Riding with the Brand tour bus pulled into the festivities.

“How many other industries gather together in mutual affection for their industry?” said REALTOR® Party Director Colin Mullane. “This is what it’s all about.”

The summit brought together industry leaders to discuss new ways of doing business in today’s real estate market. WAV Group cofounder Victor Lund led a broker panel about market development and technology selection, optimization and adoption. Additional sessions offered valuable insights and strategies to tackle emerging challenges in the real estate industry. During session breaks, attendees raced over to the Riding with the Brand bus to continue the dialogue.

After the first day of the summit, attendees embarked on a Riding with the Brand boat cruise across the Lake of the Ozarks. There, they seized the opportunity to connect and strengthen bonds as professional peers and friends.

On the final day, Missouri REALTORS® heard from Zillow cofounder Spencer Rascoff and Curaytor founder Jimmy Mackin. They addressed crucial topics like the health of the housing market, the significance of inclusive business practice, and the importance of self-care. Through engaging sessions and networking events, attendees demonstrated what it truly means to ride with the brand. By bus, by boat and through their day-to-day practices, these REALTORS® exhibited unity, growth and a shared vision for the future of real estate in Missouri.

Missouri REALTORS® President Andrea Sheridan reminded the crowd of a Jane Goodall quote: “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

“From residential, commercial and technological trends to belonging, mental health and creating an amazing customer experience, attendees were able to leave the summit fired up and ready to continue making a difference in the world of real estate,” Sheridan said.

–Cara Harmon, vice president of communications and member engagement, Missouri REALTORS®

West Virginia: A Day of Fun and Fundraising

There have been many different takes on Riding with the Brand events this year.

For the West Virginia Association of REALTORS® event, the mark of success was the smiling faces of members and their families who gathered June 22 at Rocky Gap Casino Resort in Flintstone, Md., for a day of celebration. Among the 150 in attendance, many were members not typically seen at association gatherings.

Corn hole, bocce, golf, fishing, food and fellowship all were on the menu—along with a healthy dose of REALTOR® pride. Toni Carone, 2023 president of WVAR, explained the concept of Riding with the Brand and thanked attendees for taking part. Members also heard from NAR Vice President of Advocacy Pete Kopf of Cincinnati; Regional Vice President Gail Renulfi, a Hockessin, Del., broker; and RPAC Participation Council Chair Jonathan Dolphus, an agent from Lake Worth, Fla.

Attendees enjoyed a wine-and-food pairing that raised funds for RPAC, as well as an ice cream social. The smiles, thank yous and hugs were all indicative of a great event.

Thanks to NAR President Kenny Parcell for giving us this opportunity to Ride with the Brand. 

–West Virginia Association of REALTORS® CEO Raymond Joseph

Hyattsville, Md.: Celebrating REALTORS® Through Service

Maryland REALTORS® turned their Riding with the Brand event June 17 into an expo for home buyers, which included classes and networking sessions reinforcing the importance of a REALTOR® to the public. The Maryland REALTORS® association partnered with the Prince George’s County Housing Authority to host the Welcome Home Showcase at the Wayne K. Curry Sports and Learning Center in Hyattsville, Md.

Access to affordable housing for middle-income buyers is one of the biggest challenges in the state, so the expo had two missions: advocate for greater inventory and bring together consumers and experts to discuss homeownership resources. Even before the event, Maryland REALTORS® put out radio commercials and TV ads to spread information about REALTORS® vs. real estate agents and why the Welcome Home Showcase would be a huge opportunity for consumers to begin visualizing a path to homeownership. 

“It’s amazing being here and seeing what Maryland REALTORS® are doing,” said REALTOR® Party Member Involvement Liaison Kurt Thompson. “Really engaging with homeowners and would-be home buyers to really understand the process of getting into responsible homeownership and that they are partnering with qualified REALTORS® to help guide them through that entire process. Probably one of the most impactful events that I have seen today.” 

A series of classes and workshops touching on fair housing, home inspections and financial literacy were available for the public. For the REALTORS® in attendance, CE classes were available as well as networking with food and concessions, cornhole and photo opportunities. Maryland REALTORS® also provided homebuying and selling toolkits for members to help their clients on their journey.

Thompson joined Maryland REALTORS® President Yolanda Muckle and HGTV star Egypt Sherrod at the end of the day to stress the positive reasons for buying a home and how it creates generational wealth. With more than 1,000 visitors to the expo, the event was a huge success.

–Kelli Beard, content specialist, Maryland REALTORS®

Warwick, R.I.: 75 Years of Brand Stewardship

The REALTOR® brand was celebrated in grand style at the 75th anniversary celebration of the Rhode Island Association of REALTORS® on June 14. More than 300 members poured into the Crowne Plaza in Warwick, R.I., to honor the association’s longstanding commitment to serving communities and the real estate profession, the essence of Riding with the Brand.

Despite the weather forecast calling for heavy rain, leaders from RIAR and the National Association of REALTORS® kicked off the day’s activities alongside Rhode Island Lt. Gov. Sabina Matos. RIAR CEO Phil Tedesco and President Bryant Da Cruz welcomed the crowd with messages about the industry’s vast impact on Rhode Island’s economy and the role members play advocating for issues like removing barriers to housing development. NAR First Vice President Kevin Sears recounted the national association’s involvement in key advocacy issues on Capitol Hill. Sears told members to not only be proud of what they do but also share their story. “Our brand is so much bigger than any one individual. Any one of us can bring the brand down, but it’s up to all of us to lift the brand up,” he said.

Ron Phipps, a past president of NAR and a Rhode Island native, pumped up the crowd with similar sentiments, followed by Matos, who closed with a citation of thanks to the association for its leadership and training of Rhode Island’s real estate professionals.

The branding theme flowed through the event, with opportunities for REALTORS® to visit with local and NAR branding partners, including website development, social media, video services and RPR®. Attendees had access to resources that not only help them build the REALTOR® brand but also their own business brand.

Local CBS affiliate WPRI-12 rolled out the red carpet—which featured the “That’s Who We R” theme—and interviewed REALTORS® on camera. The interviews will be featured on social media, and the REALTOR® with the most compelling answer to the question “Who are you?” will get the chance to be featured on The Rhode Show, a daily morning show in the Providence market, along with Da Cruz.

The Riding with the Brand tour proved to be the perfect complement to the Rhode Island association’s 75th anniversary. Reinforcing the values of the REALTOR® brand was the perfect anniversary gift to carry the association into the next 75 years and beyond.

–Sabrina DeRensis, marketing manager, Rhode Island Association of REALTORS®

Columbus, Ohio: A ‘Vitally Important’ Profession

Ohio REALTORS® celebrated the arrival of the Riding with the Brand motorcoach in Columbus on June 16 with a sold-out event at Ohio Stadium—home of the Ohio State University Buckeyes—which attracted hundreds of members and their families and friends. The event gave REALTORS® an opportunity to celebrate their profession and strengthen the common bond of helping people find a home, facilitating businesses to open their doors and, most importantly, playing a key role in building strong, vibrant communities.

“What we do on a daily basis is vitally important,” said Ohio REALTORS® President Ralph Mantica. “Whether we’re assisting buyers and sellers in their pursuit of the American dream, sharing our expertise to improve the REALTOR® association or embracing opportunities to make our individual communities stronger, REALTORS® continually make a meaningful difference.”

During the day, leaders from Ohio REALTORS® and the National Association of REALTORS® used the Riding with the Brand bus to boost the REALTOR® profile with visits to key locales throughout the city, including the Ohio association’s headquarters and the Ohio Statehouse. NAR President Kenny Parcell, Treasurer Greg Hrabcak and Vice President of Advocacy Pete Kopf were in tow.

At Ohio Stadium, REALTOR® marquees were displayed on the scoreboard, and members toured the stadium and bus while listening to live music and presentations. The event also attracted a number of Ohio lawmakers, including Secretary of State Frank LaRose and members of the General Assembly.

The evening’s activities featured Mantica presenting a $25,000 check to the REALTORS® Relief Foundation. Mantica recalled that the foundation played a significant role in providing more than $533,000 to Ohioans whose homes and lives were affected by a series of tornadoes that devasted the state’s Miami Valley region in early 2019. “The REALTORS® Relief Foundation was our partner from day one in helping us rebuild lives and communities,” Mantica said. “Ohio REALTORS® is pleased to make this investment in the foundation so it can build upon its remarkable work.”

–Allison Wiley, director of digital marketing, Ohio REALTORS®

Concord, N.H.: Showing the Difference REALTORS® Make

On the same day the New Hampshire Association of REALTORS® released a report showing a record high median home price of $465,000 in the state, members gathered on the steps of the state Capitol building in Concord to demand change. “The American dream of homeownership is becoming a pipe dream for too many in our state,” NHAR President Ben Cushing said on the steps June 8 while flanked by more than 150 New Hampshire REALTORS®.

Members were there not only to support the REALTOR® agenda during NHAR’s Legislative Day but also to celebrate Riding with the Brand. “We couldn’t be in a better place to talk about these issues than the state house,” Cushing said. “Policymakers need to understand that we truly are in a crisis, that the crisis is rooted in a lack of inventory and that steps need to be taken right here in this building if we’re going to dig out.”

Cushing was joined by National Association of REALTORS® First Vice President Kevin Sears, REALTOR® Party Member Involvement Liaison Kurt Thompson and NHAR Public Policy Chair Chris Norwood. Their message was unified and clear: There is real power in the collective voice of 1.5 million REALTORS® nationwide—and of more than 7,000 in New Hampshire. “It’s so important for REALTORS® to be involved in advocacy at the local, state and national levels,” Sears said. “Your hard work, dedication and advocacy illustrates the REALTOR® difference.”

REALTORS® have shown their strength in the state, working with Gov. Chris Sununu to give the real estate industry “essential” status in New Hampshire in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and, more recently, sending more than 7,000 emails to legislators to help shut down legislation in March that would have allowed anyone to legally practice real estate without a license.

Today, REALTORS® can help fight back against the housing crisis still firmly gripping New Hampshire, Sears said. “It will take both the state and the private sector working together to create the estimated 50,000 housing units needed this decade to meet demand,” he added.

More than 300 state lawmakers ignored the drizzly weather and joined REALTORS® for lunch, and the New Hampshire House leadership referenced the event during their session that day. That included a nod to former state Rep. George Lamprey, who also was a past NHAR president. Lamprey, whose father, Stewart, served in the state Senate and House and is widely considered the father of real estate license law in New Hampshire, attended the Riding with the Brand event and was seated in the House gallery when he was recognized and given a standing ovation.

  –Dave Cummings, vice president of communications, New Hampshire Association of REALTORS®

Lansing, Mich.: REALTORS® Advocate for More Housing Supply

REALTORS® from all corners of Michigan were in Lansing on June 6, meeting with members of the state legislature, as well as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, for Michigan REALTORS® Capitol Day. Attendees enjoyed a picnic lunch with their legislators on the lawn of the state capitol building while providing updates on the local housing market—and celebrating the REALTOR® brand.

Speaking on the organization’s most pressing issue, Michigan REALTORS® President Natalie Rowe told the gathering: “We need more housing supply. Zoning reforms will help create more Michigan housing.”

In addition to advocating for policies to increase housing, Michigan REALTORS® are working on legislation to:

  • Establish a statewide septic code
  • Support short-term rentals
  • Define post-closing occupancy agreements
  • Regulate right-to-sell agreements
  • Require more fair housing continuing education for licensees

The association and its members are also working overtime to protect the independent contractor status of real estate agents. 

Besides hearing from state association leaders, the 400 REALTORS® attending the event had a chance to hear from National Association of REALTORS® Regional Vice President Gary J. Reggish, a broker-owner from Novi, Mich., and NAR President Kenny Parcell. And although legislative advocacy was the main focus on the day, with the customized Riding with the Brand motorcoach and motorcycle in town, REALTOR® pride was a central theme of the event.

“Why ‘Riding with the Brand’? The brand is you,” Parcell told the crowd. “The brand is us. We all bring something to the brand.” He highlighted the positive impact that members make within their communities and the difference REALTORS® make when they engage with events like Michigan Capitol Day.

With the capitol building as a backdrop, REALTORS® enjoyed the interactive Riding with the Brand program displays. Photo opportunities in front of the large REALTOR® “R” block, the motorcycle and the motorcoach were fan favorites. During and after the event, the REALTOR® brand was trending on social media. As the event concluded, Michigan REALTORS® toured the newly refurbished Michigan Capitol with state historians and association staff. 

This was the 24th tour stop of the Riding with the Brand campaign.

“Today, President Parcell and hundreds of REALTORS® from all over our state were able to demonstrate a really inspirational dedication to their industry and role in the American dream of homeownership,” said Michigan REALTORS® CEO Rob Campau after the event, expressing his gratitude his own membership and staff at that of NAR. “It was great that our political leaders, from the governor on down, were able to see it firsthand. We’re genuinely proud to work for this brand.”      

With national support, local association partners and efforts from volunteer member leadership, the REALTOR® voice is heard by Michigan consumers and elected officials. Increasingly, Michigan REALTORS® and its 35,000 members are recognized as the chief advocate on real estate and private property rights in the state and as professionals committed to excellence and quality service to the public.

–Joe Kras, director of communications and marketing, Michigan REALTORS®

Indianapolis: REALTORS® Reaffirm Commitment to Ethics

The 90-degree heat that gripped downtown Indianapolis did nothing to dull the enthusiasm of nearly 300 Indiana REALTORS® and guests gathered outside the Indiana Association of REALTORS® headquarters on June 2. They were there for a Riding with the Brand rally, and when 2024 Regional Vice President Bernice Helman, a past state president, took the microphone to begin the midday program, the assembled crowd was ready to help deliver her trademark line:

“It’s a great day to be a REALTOR®!”

Pride in the profession and the REALTOR® difference were on full display as attendees gathered outside the historic REALTOR® building, across the street from Indiana’s capitol building. IAR President Lynn Wheeler gestured to the statehouse rotunda looming above the Riding with the Brand tour bus as she highlighted recent legislative successes.

“Indiana has an inventory crisis, and REALTORS® have pushed for solutions,” Wheeler said. “Our next state budget includes historic levels of investment in housing development, helping local governments address housing-related infrastructure costs and recognizing new residential projects as economic development priorities.”

Wheeler also noted that REALTORS® continue to advocate for homeowners.

“REALTORS® led the charge for the property tax reforms that have directly saved homeowners nearly $8 billion over the last decade,” she said.

Wheeler introduced National Association of REALTORS® President Kenny Parcell, who seized on her comments to emphasize the importance of advocacy on issues like housing affordability and private property rights. Advocating for the industry and for consumers is one of the higher commitments that sets REALTORS®, members of the National Association of REALTORS®, apart from nonmembers, he said.

To reinforce the REALTOR® difference, Indiana’s Riding with the Brand event kicked off with Code of Ethics education. Then, members and guests gathered for the outdoor rally, which featured local food trucks, music and games for an afternoon of family fun.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett captured the spirit of the tour, issuing a proclamation naming June 2 as “Riding with the Brand Day” in the state capital. The event ended Friday afternoon with an energized group of Hoosier REALTORS® ready for a busy first weekend of National Homeownership Month and grateful to NAR for bringing Riding with the Brand to the “Crossroads of America.”

–Chris Watts, vice president of public affairs, Indiana Association of REALTORS®

Williamsburg, Va.: A Brand Steeped in History

Nearly 600 Virginia REALTORS® gathered May 18 to welcome the Riding with the Brand motor coach to historic Williamsburg for an event during which members not only celebrated the REALTOR® brand but also had the opportunity to earn CE credits and hear from elected state officials and NAR leaders.

Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears was joined by NAR President Kenny Parcell and NAR Regional Vice President Gail Renulfi to talk about the collective power REALTORS® hold in influencing housing policy. Earle-Sears noted that the real estate industry not only has an incredible economic impact on the state but Virginia REALTORS® also have the important job of explaining to home buyers why they should live in the commonwealth.

Earle-Sears also shared that she once served as the association executive of the Blue Ridge Association of REALTORS® in Virginia.

Attendees enjoyed an afternoon of education, inspiration and a celebration that reminded them of the significant impact they make every day. The event amplified the resounding message that REALTORS® “ride” with a brand that protects homeownership and property rights while ensuring professionalism within the industry.

–Robin Spensieri, vice president of communications and media relations, Virginia REALTORS®

Hartford, Conn.: REALTORS® Are ‘Our Best Asset’

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont joined hundreds of REALTORS® to celebrate their brand and their collective voice on housing policy during the CT REALTORS®Riding with the Brand event in Hartford, Conn., on May 15. The event at the Connecticut Convention Center, which was dubbed “Work Well, Live Well, Play Well While Riding with the Brand,” focused on business tips and wellness in members’ professional and personal lives.

During the “Work Well” segment of the day, Marki Lemons Ryhal, a Chicago broker and host of REALTOR® Magazine’s Drive With NAR podcast, showed attendees how artificial intelligence and ChatGPT can be useful tools in the real estate industry. Safety instructor Robert Siciliano discussed the importance of cybersecurity in an evolving landscape of digital scams.

The “Live Well” segment stressed the importance of health screenings, with representatives from the Early Detection and Prevention Program at the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute offering educational information. They also scheduled free mammograms and PSA tests for members, regardless of insurance coverage. CT REALTORS® celebrated all cancer survivors in attendance and brought them together for a special group photo.

The day concluded with the “Play Well” segment and a networking reception featuring a live band. Attendees got the chance to tour the Riding with the Brand motor coach and to climb onto the motorcycle and snap the perfect picture to show off their REALTOR® pride. NAR REALTOR® Party Committee Liaison Kurt Thompson also explained the vision of the REALTOR® brand and the importance of voting, acting and investing.

Several members explained the impact of the CT REALTORS® Riding with the Brand event:

  • “This event helped highlight to members that their association hears them, wants to support them and provides them with the resources to be successful,” CT REALTORS® President David Gallitto said.
  • “Riding with the Brand means to be the best professional I can be, representing my industry, my community and offering my clients the best choices for homeownership,” said CT REALTORS® member Shanyelle Young.
  • “Riding with the Brand represents the strength we have with the 1.5 million REALTORS® throughout the country fighting for property rights and homeownership,” said NAR Regional Vice President Joanne Breen.

The event also highlighted REALTORS®’ commitment to serving their communities. The CT REALTORS® Foundation collected donations for the Backpack Nutrition Program at Hands on Hartford, which helps children who receive free lunch at school and often don’t have enough to eat on weekends. Volunteers provide backpacks with meals, drinks and snacks to the kids each Friday. Attendees donated more than 330 pounds of food items and more than $1,200 to support the program.

Gov. Lamont said at the event that REALTORS® are the people telling the Connecticut story. “You are our best asset,” he said. “I’m trying to be there as your partner. We partnered together during the worst of COVID. We’re partnering now. We’ve got the wind to our back, and that’s why I’m here today.”

–Kristi Olds, director of communications, CT REALTORS®

REALTORS® Legislative Meetings: Knocking It Out of the Ballpark

As many as 11,000 REALTORS®, members of Congress and congressional staff donned blue Riding with the Brand T-shirts and descended on Nationals Stadium in Washington, D.C., for a massive “block party” on May 9 to celebrate the power of the collective REALTOR® voice.

Set to a ’90s cover band that played hits from Alanis Morrisette, the Cranberries and the Spice Girls, the 2023 REALTOR® National Block Party gave members the opportunity to kick back, dance, mingle with NAR leadership and take part in baseball-themed activities like batting cages and a fastpitch contest. The event also served as a giant networking session, and attendees even used the moment to support a vital cause—raising $1,300 for the REALTORS® Relief Foundation.

The block party was held during the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings, a five-day conference during which attendees raised an overall $7,600 for RRF.

The nation’s capital—the pinnacle of the national Riding with the Brand tour—is also the home turf of the DC Association of REALTORS®, which joined NAR at Nationals Park to host the pitching cage and celebrate the REALTOR® brand. The Riding with the Brand motor coach was parked on the stadium's field, giving attendees an opportunity to tour the inside of the bus and hold impromptu gatherings.

One highlight of the night: NAR President Kenny Parcell joined the Presidents Race, a Washington Nationals tradition featuring the team’s mascots—George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt—competing in a relay. Parcell “won.”

–Erica Christoffer, REALTOR® Magazine

Sacramento, Calif.: Making a Difference for Working Families

The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® closed down an entire Sacramento, Calif., city block on May 2 for a Riding with the Brand event showcasing the value of REALTORS® and the importance of real estate and REALTORS® to local communities. The event took place during C.A.R.’s 50th Legislative Day in Sacramento.

More than 1,800 REALTORS® participated in the C.A.R. Riding with the Brand Block Party, which featured food trucks and drinks, a disc jockey, games, and photo opportunities to celebrate the real estate profession and the collective goal of creating pathways to homeownership for all Californians.

“The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® was proud to host its first-ever Riding with the Brand Block Party. It was a joy to gather with so many passionate professionals and REALTOR® colleagues to celebrate our brand,” said C.A.R. President Jennifer Branchini, a REALTOR® practicing in Pleasanton, Calif. “REALTORS® working to make a difference for working families is something of which we can all be proud. It truly begins with us.”

Attendees enjoyed the opportunity to connect with fellow REALTORS® and National Association of REALTORS® leadership, Branchini said. NAR’s 2023 President-elect Tracy Kasper, a broker from Eagle, Idaho, was on hand to thank C.A.R. members for their commitment.

The fun and momentum continue next week in Washington, D.C., for the REALTOR® National Block Party on May 9 at Nationals Park. REALTORS® from around the country will host their Congressional representatives and staff, highlighting how REALTORS® from every district are protecting the American dream of homeownership.

–DeAnn Kerr

Springfield, Ill.: Speaking With One Voice

Triumphantly raising the Riding with the Brand belt buckle above his head, Illinois REALTORS® President Michael Gobber told more than 600 members who were gathered near the state capitol building in Springfield on April 25 that their voices are powerful. During the state association’s Capitol Conference and Lobby Day—which brought members face to face with their elected officials to discuss housing policy—the REALTOR® brand loomed large.

Gobber emphasized the importance of statewide advocacy efforts aligning with NAR’s nationwide initiative to ensure a well-oiled machine supporting the REALTOR® voice. “Our Capitol Conference today is a proud recognition of our statewide advocacy efforts and reminds us of the value we bring to our communities and this industry,” Gobber said.

Jennifer Wauhob, NAR’s newly appointed vice president of association affairs, spoke to the crowd about the importance of authenticity to branding. “When you share your stories—really show people what you do—that helps protect our brand,” she said.

After inspiring speeches and meetings with state representatives, members still had time for interpersonal connection and fun. Many took photos with Riding with the Brand signage, enjoyed a live band and played cornhole. They posted selfies and reels on various social media platforms, showcasing their support for the campaign.

Monica Nia Jones, who was crowned Miss Illinois in 2022, made a surprise appearance at the closing reception, expressing her admiration for the Riding with the Brand campaign after learning more about it. Nia Jones also posed for photos with members and leadership. It was a pleasant end to an inspirational day.

–Anthony Hebron, vice president of marketing and communication, Illinois REALTORS®

Helana, Mont.: A State That Understands Branding

Montana REALTORS® put on their dancing boots to welcome the Riding with the Brand motorcoach to the state association’s Spring Business Meetings, which were held April 19-20.

Even in the April snowfall, 110 members of the Montana Association of REALTORS® clamored for photos with the bus and the REALTOR®-branded motorcycle. Jay Bodner of the Montana Department of Livestock’s Brands Enforcement Division kicked off the event with a speech about the power of branding—Montana style. The state’s approach to brand enforcement is similar to NAR’s trademark enforcement program, and members had the chance to learn more about the history of livestock brands in Montana. (And for those who watch the TV show “Yellowstone”—no, a livestock agent is not a real job.)

NAR President-elect Tracy Kasper and Regional Vice President Connie Fogle were on hand to promote the power of the REALTOR® brand not only at a national level—but right in our communities and neighborhoods. “The energy and enthusiasm from members at this event was contagious, and it was fantastic to see so many of our members taking the opportunity to engage with NAR leadership,” said Mark Dobrenski, president of the Montana Association of REALTORS®. “Many of our members who are thinking about joining state leadership were certainly inspired by what they heard from NAR leadership at our event.”

–Nicole Riebe, communications director, Montana Association of REALTORS®

REALTOR® Broker Summit: Passing Down the Power of the Brand

The philosophy behind Riding with the Brand was on full display April 17-18 during the 2023 REALTOR® Broker Summit in Kansas City, Mo. The more than 400 brokers who turned out for the event—many of whom were first-time attendees—marveled at the sheer volume of tools, resources and support NAR provides members. They also shared their pride for the real estate profession and learned new ways to connect their agents to the REALTOR® brand.

“This is incredible,” said attendee Michelle Grafton, broker-owner of Talan Properties in Toccoa, Ga. Grafton, who oversees 17 agents, said she learned insights at the summit that will help her agents better understand the value of being a REALTOR®. “It’s pretty amazing that our membership gives us access to all these tools and resources. This is exactly what I needed to communicate to my agents why we are REALTORS®.”

NAR President Kenny Parcell and CEO Bob Goldberg reminded attendees at the standing-room-only event that the REALTOR® brand wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the participation of members. Riding with the Brand represents the symbiotic relationship between members, who are at the forefront of the real estate business, and the association, which provides support in the background, Goldberg said. “Part of Riding with the Brand is remembering that you—our most successful professionals—are the brand. You provide the value to the brand,” he added.

Marki Lemons Ryhal, host of REALTOR® Magazine’s Drive With NAR podcast and managing broker of Exit Strategy Realty in Chicago, said two of the most important benefits of being a REALTOR® for her and and her team are education and advocacy. “The reason that I’m here 20 years later is because of the education that NAR has provided me,” Lemons Ryhal said. “We stand over 1.5 million members strong. There’s power in numbers, and together, we have made homeownership more affordable and more accessible. We’re saving buyers and sellers money.”

That message also resonated with Wyoming REALTORS® President Scott Richard, who is also broker-owner of Richard Realty in Cody, Wyo. Riding with the Brand “is bringing our REALTOR® family under the single idea that it’s not just about you and it’s not just about me. But together we make up the brand.”

Richard added that the more he gives to the association, the more he receives back. His travels, education and speaking engagements as a part of the association have made him a more skilled and knowledgeable real estate professional. “Through all of this, I’ve learned more and more about how the industry works, and I’ve found that the opportunities are incredible,” he said.

–Nicole Slaughter Graham, REALTOR® Magazine

Boise, Idaho: REALTORS® as Shepherds of the Great Outdoors

Idaho’s scenic outdoor wonders inspired REALTOR® pride as the Riding with the Brand motorcoach rolled into Boise on a brisk morning April 13. More than 200 Idaho REALTORS® gathered around the bus at the state Capitol not only to celebrate the REALTOR® brand but also to show their numbers on a bike ride along the Boise River Greenbelt, which was led by Idaho REALTORS® President Denise Lundy and Kenny Parcell, president of the National Association of REALTORS®.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little and NAR President-elect Tracy Kasper—an Idaho REALTOR® based in the town of Nampa—joined Parcell to discuss topics such as advocacy and brand identity. The event also included a variety of activities and contests, such as cornhole, putt-putt golf and even a mechanical bull. A raffle was held, with winners taking home prizes such as a new Traeger grill, a cruiser bike in REALTOR® blue, tickets to a local rodeo and passes for a whitewater rafting trip. Touring the bus was a highlight of the day, providing members with a unique opportunity to connect with colleagues, snap photos and learn more about the Riding with the Brand message.

The afternoon bike ride was a meaningful culmination of the day: NAR leadership interacted directly with Idaho members, which epitomized the philosophy behind Riding with the Brand. The REALTOR® brand has come to be known as a family of community representatives who are connected on local, state and national levels.

“Idaho was thrilled to host Riding with the Brand and bring together our members to celebrate REALTOR® pride and community involvement,” Lundy said. “Between the activities, prizes, and our incredible speakers, we had an amazing celebration for Idaho. Thank you to everyone who joined us on the Capitol steps.”

–Pete Katsilometes, membership director, Idaho REALTORS®

Salem, Ore.: ‘When REALTORS® Show Up, We Get Results’

About 500 REALTORS® greeted the Riding with the Brand motorcoach as it pulled up to the Oregon state capitol building in Salem on April 11 to support the REALTOR® Day at the Capitol, an annual Oregon REALTORS® event that brings members and state lawmakers together to discuss housing policy, private property rights and their communities’ needs.

Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek was on hand to provide an update on the state’s housing affordability efforts; Pete Kopf, vice president of advocacy for the National Association of REALTORS®, discussed the association’s legislative priorities; and Jonathan Jwayad, cofounder of local sports apparel company Baseballism, explained the importance of branding and how to make it and keep it successful.

The RWTB bus, which was parked in front of the capitol building, served as a giant symbol to state legislators that REALTORS® were present and were using their collective voice to affect change. “When REALTORS® show up, we get results,” said Oregon REALTORS® President Grace Bergen. “We are a united front that comes together to do what is best for homeownership, private property rights and our community. The Riding with the Brand bus served as an epic symbol for all to see what we have and can accomplish as REALTORS®.”

Oregon REALTORS® also were able to use the bus itself as a meeting space with several legislators as well as a backdrop for photo opportunities, networking and even as a resting spot to get off their feet for a few minutes. Bergen said that the RWTB tour stop was a perfect addition to such an important day. “The big blue bus, decorated with the iconic REALTOR® logo, became the centerpiece of the event and symbolized the pride and strength of REALTORS®,” she said.

–Benjamin Caulder, director of communications and marketing, Oregon REALTORS®

La Vista, Neb.: Riding a Blue Wave

REALTOR® blue swept through the center of the country April 3 as hundreds of Nebraska REALTORS® turned out for an exciting Riding with the Brand event during their 2023 Convention & Expo in La Vista, Neb. The dinner event was a huge success, giving Nebraska REALTORS® a chance to connect, network, and learn more about the value of the REALTOR® brand, said Doug Dohse, president of the state association.

The Swamp Boy Blues Band performed, and NAR First Vice President Kevin Sears joined the festivities, speaking briefly to thank Nebraska REALTORS® for “riding with the brand.” Members enjoyed numerous branded photo opportunities with the Riding with the Brand swag, especially the motorcoach and motorcycle!

“The Nebraska REALTORS® Association has always been at the forefront of providing professional development opportunities for its members,” says Dohse, an agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Ambassador Real Estate in Omaha, Neb. “The Riding with the Brand event is a testament to the association’s commitment to creating unique and engaging experiences for our members.”

–Hanna Oltman, communications director, Nebraska REALTORS® Association

Reno, Nev.: A Gathering of Leaders

More than 300 REALTORS® and guests participated in Riding with the Brand festivities April 10, kicking off the Rocky Mountain Region 11 Conference in Reno, Nev. The conference brings together leaders from Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming to address regional challenges and advance common goals.

Regional Vice President Kevin Sigstad, CCIM, CPM, welcomed National Association of REALTORS® President Kenny Parcell and First Vice President Kevin Sears to the RWTB event, which took place poolside at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno. Sigstad, who served as Nevada REALTORS® president in 2015, is broker-owner of RE/MAX Premier Properties in Reno.

Combining a networking mixer, cornhole tournament, and variety of RWTB props for photo-taking, the event brought participants together to share stories, tell jokes and talk about what it means to be a REALTOR®. After a winter with record-breaking snow and rain, REALTORS® were pleased to welcome in the first warm spring day as they met new friends and colleagues from across the region. 

–Dan Eckles, communications director, Nevada REALTORS®

Tallahassee, Fla.: REALTOR® Brand in the Sunshine

More than 1,000 Florida REALTORS® gathered around the Riding with the Brand motorcoach when it pulled up near the state capitol building in Tallahassee on March 30—just as a historic housing bill was signed into state law.

The Live Local Act, a comprehensive, statewide workforce housing plan, marked a hard-fought success for the Florida REALTORS® association, which has been advocating for such a law for more than three decades to help alleviate a growing housing crisis. The powerful presence of the REALTOR® brand at such an important moment in state housing history was felt throughout the crowd.

“I can’t stress enough how amazing it was to be able to rally around the REALTOR® brand in the backdrop of such a historic event for our state,” said Florida REALTORS® President Mike McGraw. “This bill would never have happened if it wasn’t for the REALTOR® voice. It made this year’s event all the more special, demonstrating that as a profession, we are strong, we are influential and, most importantly, we are united in our efforts to bring the dream of homeownership to all.”

The arrival of the motorcoach coincided with Great American REALTOR® Days, an annual Florida REALTORS® event that takes place during state legislative sessions. GARD provides an opportunity for REALTORS® throughout the state to visit their capital and speak directly with lawmakers as they advocate for real estate industry priorities. Though always an energetic and meaningful affair, the presence of the RWTB bus took things to a whole new level.

“Our members always look forward to GARD each year because it gives them a chance to get directly involved in Florida’s legislative process,” McGraw said. “Their camaraderie is always strong, but what I witnessed when that bus arrived knocked my socks off. Members were smiling from ear to ear as they high-fived, hugged and generally beamed with REALTOR® pride.”

Typically a three-day event, GARD consists of dozens of hill visits with lawmakers, legislative briefings for different member groups and a huge street party next to the capitol building. Members were handed blue block “R” shirts as they took over Adams Street. Two blocks were closed off specifically for the street party, which also housed the RWTB motorcoach. The result was a sea of people in “REALTOR® blue” playing cornhole, taking pictures, shaking hands with lawmakers and dancing the night away.

“The really cool thing about our annual GARD street party is that legislators get a first-hand view of the passion and commitment of REALTORS® to their profession and their state,” says McGraw. “And when I say ‘literal,’ I mean it, because they looked out their office windows of the capitol, and all they saw was this wall of blue surrounding this huge block R-branded bus. It was a sight to behold. There is no way that a Florida lawmaker witnessed that and thought to themselves that REALTORS® are a group to be ignored.”

–Tom Butler, public policy communications director, Florida REALTORS®

Austin, Texas: ‘Sea of Purple’ Shows Commitment to Policy, Not Politics

The south mall of the Texas capitol building in Austin turned into a sea of purple March 22 as REALTORS® showed their passion for protecting property rights and championing housing policies in the state—an issue that largely brings people in the blue and red corners of the political spectrum together.

The Riding with the Brand motorcoach was flanked by about 3,500 members of Texas REALTORS®, some of whom traveled more than 500 miles across the state for the association’s REALTOR® Day at the Texas Capitol. Attendees started the day with a rally on the capitol’s steps, which was led by leaders from Texas REALTORS® and the National Association of REALTORS®, before holding meetings with elected officials.

Texas REALTORS® Chairman Marcus Phipps thanked the crowd, decked out in purple jackets, shirts and shoes, for being part of the “purple solution.” “Our policy positions are never red; they are never blue,” Phipps said. “Our positions are based on policy, not politics.”

In meetings with 181 legislators and statewide leaders, Texas REALTORS® discussed the association’s legislative priorities, including reining in property taxes through effective, sustainable and equitable methods; protecting property owners from undue burdens; making investments in the state’s infrastructure; and supporting the day-to-day business activities of REALTORS®.

Resolutions were read in the Texas House and Senate, declaring Texas REALTORS® Day at the State Capitol and praising REALTORS® for their vital role in their communities. “We are more than a transaction,” said NAR Regional Vice President Cindi Bulla. “We are building communities across the nation.” Bulla, NAR President Kenny Parcell and NAR President-elect Tracy Kasper greeted REALTORS® who took tours of the Riding with the Brand bus and motorcycle, played cornhole and talked about a range of topics.

“I wanted to be here in person,” said a Texas commercial real estate specialist who was a first-time attendee at the REALTOR® Day at the Texas Capitol. “It’s one thing to interact with your association from a computer, but there’s nothing like being here.”

–Marty Kramer, director of communications, Texas REALTORS®

Atlanta: Georgia Has REALTOR® Pride on Its Mind

More than 800 Georgia REALTORS® greeted the Riding with the Brand motorcoach as it pulled into Atlanta on March 1 for the state association’s annual REALTOR® Days at the Dome Legislative Conference. A longstanding tradition for the Georgia Association of REALTORS®, the conference provides members a chance to get face time with their elected officials and discuss issues pertaining to private property rights, homeownership and the real estate industry in Georgia.

GAR President Lisa Scully notes that members raised $100,000 for RPAC at an auction the night before the RWTB event, excitement was in the air from the first moment. “As soon as everyone arrived at the [RWTB] event, they went directly to the bus and started snapping photos, recording videos and sharing them across their social media channels,” Scully says. “I was eager to check it all out myself—and even got the chance to ‘drive’ the bus!”

Joey Tucker, member services liaison for the National Association of REALTORS®, kicked off the event with a rousing speech noting the intersection of real estate and policymaking. “I’m thrilled that Riding with the Brand was able to interact with two of our audiences: our members and our elected officials,” Tucker says. “When our legislators were done speaking to our group, many of them walked over to check out the bus and motorcycle. Attorney General Chris Carr recorded a message for his social media followers in front of the REALTOR® bus, and Gov. Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp stopped by as well. [RWTB] was definitely a popular addition to the conference!”

Both Scully and Tucker visited Kemp’s office to present him with a Riding with the Brand belt buckle.

GAR members enjoyed having a new element to explore during the event. Members took turns taking selfies with the REALTOR®-branded motorcycle, exploring the motorcoach and playing cornhole between meetings with elected officials. There also were a couple of bus photo ops inside the event, which were a huge hit.

Rodney Rawls, a member from Savannah, says he was thrilled to see NAR have a bold presence at a GAR event. “I am so grateful that NAR decided to put REALTOR® Days at the Dome on the Riding with the Brand schedule,” he says. “It takes an event that is already great up another notch.”

One memorable moment was when conference attendees filed out of the venue for a large group shot. “I think this will encourage Georgia REALTORS® to attend NAR events,” Scully says. “By coming to us on this tour, NAR is building pride and cultivating active and engaged members at every level of the REALTOR® organization.”

–Brandie Miner, director of communications and marketing, Georgia Association of REALTORS®

Little Rock, Ark.: The Power of Uniting Behind a Common Purpose

More than 250 REALTORS® assembled at the Arkansas state capitol in Little Rock on Feb. 21 for a Riding with the Brand event as part of the Arkansas REALTORS® annual REALTOR® Day at the Capitol. REALTOR® Day at the Capitol highlights the association’s legislative and advocacy efforts, while providing the chance for members to meet with their state legislators and talk about advocacy goals.

Pete Kopf, 2023 vice president of advocacy for the National Association of REALTORS®, was on hand to talk about what it really means to ride with the REALTOR® brand.

“We thoroughly enjoyed having Pete with us to remind our members of the importance of always ‘Riding with the Brand,’ as well as the impact we can have when we come together and unite in our purpose,” says Arkansas REALTORS® President Paulette Richie. “Fighting for private property rights in Arkansas is something we take pride in, and having 250 REALTORS® show up to meet with their state legislators just reinforces our commitment to fighting for Arkansans across the state.”

Kopf presented a Riding with the Brand belt buckle to Frankie Rivers, ABR, GRI, an agent with RE/MAX Elite in Benton, Ark. Arkansas REALTORS® leadership chose Rivers—for her work at both the local and the state level—as someone who truly embodies the REALTOR® spirit.

In addition to Kopf, Arkansas Speaker of the House Matthew Shepherd, Arkansas Senate President Pro Tempore Bart Hester, and Arkansas State Rep. Clint Penzo, a REALTOR® from Fayetteville, Ark., joined REALTORS® for the event.

“Having members of the legislature and special guests from NAR in attendance was such a special treat for our members,” says Richie. “The Riding with the Brand event is the perfect way to showcase that REALTOR® spirit and show off all the hard work our members put back into their communities each and every day.”

– B.J. Matthews, director of public relations and meeting planning, Arkansas REALTORS®

Lexington, Ky.: REALTORS® Find They Have Advocates, Too

The Riding with the Brand motorcoach stopped in the Bluegrass State on Feb. 17 during the annual Kentucky REALTORS® Legislative Meetings in Lexington, Ky., with more than 200 members gathering to take selfies with the RWTB bus and motorcycle, play cornhole, and discuss the power of the REALTOR® brand. Members crowded onto the bus throughout the chilly morning for meetings and photo opportunities. They were asked to show off their REALTOR® pride on social media.

Some members got a sneak preview of the RWTB setup while participating in an RPAC mixology event, where they taste-tested signature cocktails at the Malone’s Prime venue in Lexington. Later, members crowded into the venue to hear NAR First Vice President Kevin Sears and Vice President of Advocacy Pete Kopf discuss what being a REALTOR® means to both the real estate industry and consumers. It was the first time ever that the Kentucky association had two NAR leaders in the room at the same time. It also was Sears’ first time visiting Kentucky, so members enjoyed introducing him to the state’s famed bourbon.

The Riding with the Brand event capped off the weeklong Kentucky REALTORS® Legislative Meetings, where members conveyed the importance of homeownership and consumer protections in meetings with their legislators at the state Capitol. “The brand encapsulates who we are not only as REALTORS® but industry professionals who have the best interests of our communities at heart,” says Kentucky REALTORS® President Elizabeth Monarch. “When a member of the public sees the ‘R,’ we want them to know that REALTORS® are on Capitol Hill fighting and advocating for the importance of homeownership.”

Kentucky REALTORS® viewed the Riding with the Brand tour as creating synergy between the local, state and national associations, and it emphasized that members have advocates for their business at every level of the REALTOR® organization.

–Kentucky REALTORS® COO Kyle Tetzlaff

Oklahoma City: REALTORS® Put the ‘Home’ in ‘Oklahoma’

Welcoming National Association of REALTORS® Treasurer Greg Hrabcak, Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, and former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, more than 200 REALTORS® from across the state of Oklahoma were Riding with the Brand in style Feb. 14.

The Capitol Conference kicked off with a welcome reception at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, where Oklahoma REALTORS® had the chance to network with fellow members as well as state senators and representatives. A western theme got REALTORS® ready for Riding with the Brand.

NAR Treasurer Greg Hrabcak kicked off the next morning with a message about the power of the REALTOR® brand and the financial strength of the National Association of REALTORS®. Afterward, Oklahoma REALTORS® heard from Pinnell, who recently used his leadership position to build the state of Oklahoma’s brand and show that Oklahoma is more than just “OK.”

From there, we headed to the state capitol to meet with state legislators and other elected officials. Our REALTORS® were able to promote the REALTOR® brand to their state representatives and senators, as well as Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and House Speaker Charles McCall, who both stopped by the Riding with the Brand motorcoach when it was parked in front of the state capitol.

Last, we headed back to the museum for a keynote lunch with Cornett. Named one of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” by Fortune in 2018, Cornett shared his expertise in building Oklahoma City’s brand during his four terms as mayor and talked with REALTORS® about how to build their personal brands. 

Being a REALTOR® in Oklahoma is something that our members should be proud of. Oklahoma’s state motto is labor omnia vincit, or work conquers all. As REALTORS®, we know the truth of that, showing up every day to help our clients reach their dreams. 

As for Riding with the Brand, we are not finished just because the event ended. This ride is a lifelong journey, from protecting property rights to promoting the American dream of home ownership. That’s the REALTOR® brand. That’s who we are.

–Oklahoma Association of REALTORS® President Julie Smith

Denver: Rocky Mountain High on REALTOR® Spirit

Climbing more than 5,000 feet in elevation, the Riding with the Brand motorcoach came to the Rocky Mountains, pulling into Denver’s bustling downtown to the fanfare of more than 220 Colorado REALTORS®. Members from every corner of the state came together Feb. 8–9 for the Colorado Association of REALTORS®’ Economic Summit and REALTOR® Day, which also drew state lawmakers and industry experts who outlined their predictions for the real estate market.

Throughout the two-day event, CAR President Natalie Davis, AHWD, SRES, C2EX, and CEO Tyrone Adams, CAE, RCE, discussed with members how the REALTOR® brand impacted their careers as well as how to embrace and prepare for change, achieve work-life balance and make a difference in the real estate industry. Economists spoke about ways in which Colorado is leading the nation in affordable-housing development and credit-building programs. Eleni Angelides, deputy legislative director for Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, joined lawmakers from the state House and Senate to talk about housing policy and bills currently under consideration. And Kristy Hairston, EPRO, SFR, C2EX, NAR’s RPAC fundraising liaison, explained the importance of supporting REALTOR® candidates for state and local offices.

Colorado REALTORS® raised more than $53,000 for RPAC at the REALTOR® Day reception.

The Riding with the Brand motorcoach, which was only a block from the Colorado state capitol building, attracted both REALTORS® and Denver residents alike. CAR members were encouraged to post a photo of themselves with the bus on social media and talk about why they are proud to be a REALTOR®.

“We created an opportunity to showcase the value of a REALTOR® with our members as well as with our local elected officials and community partners,” Davis says of CAR’s Riding with the Brand event. “One distinct difference about working with a REALTOR® can be found in our advocacy work. This year, we had the opportunity to identify proposed bills that could directly impact homeownership and property rights for Coloradans. When it comes to Riding with the Brand, REALTORS® are the brand—and the brand is us. Together, we are working to protect private property rights and advocate for housing availability and attainability.”

“We came together to share perspectives, gain insights on our state and national economy, meet with our state’s elected leaders and celebrate the strength and power of the REALTOR® brand and our work on behalf of consumers across the country,” Adams adds.

–Lisa Hansmeier, vice president of member engagement and public relations, Colorado Association of REALTORS®

Columbia, S.C.: Learning From a REALTOR® Champion

The memory of NAR leader Margo Wheeler, who died of cancer Jan. 28, was on the minds of the more than 300 REALTORS® who welcomed the Riding with the Brand motorcoach to Columbia, S.C., on Feb. 2. The bus pulled into the South Carolina REALTORS®’ annual Capitol Conference & Leadership Training, a two-day event that highlights the association’s legislative and advocacy efforts and supports future real estate leaders.

NAR Regional Vice President Amy Hedgecock, who serves Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, kicked off the leadership training day with a tribute to Wheeler and a passionate speech about the purpose and importance of the REALTOR® brand. Columbia Mayor Daniel Rickenmann and Rob Woodul, president of the state association, also were on hand during the welcome event.

SCR CEO Nick Kremydas presented Woodul with a set of spurs as a gift from Wyoming REALTORS®, which hosted the previous stop on the tour. Kremydas also gave away two Riding with the Brand belt buckles and held a drawing for a grand prize, a Cowboy electric bike.

“We were all so excited to be a part of the nationwide Riding with the Brand tour to spread the word about the REALTOR® volunteer spirit, community spirit, commitment to excellence, Code of Ethics and relentless defense of property rights—all of which encompass the REALTOR® brand,” Woodul said.

At the end of the event, he symbolically passed the torch to the next stop on the tour, Denver, by tossing a football into the stands of Williams-Brice Stadium in downtown Columbia.

–Sharon Delia Stone, senior vice president of communications and marketing, South Carolina REALTORS®

Cheyenne, Wyo.: A Small but Mighty Force Lifts the REALTOR® Brand

Wyoming REALTORS® may be a small association, but its members are a tour de force. More than 200 descended on the capital of Cheyenne—some traveling hundreds of miles across the state in snowy conditions—for the Riding with the Brand event at the association’s annual legislative meetings Jan. 23.

Tracy Kasper, president-elect for the National Association of REALTORS®, gave a powerful and inspiring speech about what it means to be a REALTOR®. Then, attendees met with industry leaders, toured the Riding with the Brand motorcoach and played in a fundraising cornhole tournament before greeting their legislators and community leaders that evening. “Wyoming knocked it out of the park,” Kasper says. “They were so gracious to everyone who attended. It was so perfectly stated that Wyoming’s association may be small, but they’re mighty.”

Wyoming REALTORS® raised more than $20,000 for RPAC during the event, which shows the power even a small association can wield. As the president of Wyoming REALTORS®, I can say that our legislators, members and community leaders witnessed firsthand the meaning of “REALTOR® Strong.”

–Wyoming REALTORS® President Scott Richard

Phoenix: REALTORS® Have a ‘Field Day’ Celebrating Their Brand

From the Jersey Shore to downtown Phoenix, the National Association of REALTORS®’ Riding with the Brand motorcoach drove cross-country, arriving at Chase Field, Home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, for REALTOR® Day on Jan. 10.

This first-of-its-kind Arizona REALTORS® event, formerly known as REALTOR® Day at the Capitol, combined real estate, political advocacy, and Riding with the Brand—providing approximately 500 Arizona REALTORS® an opportunity to meet with their state legislators, learn about advocacy goals for the 2023 legislative session and hear insights from NAR Political Representative Jack Greacen, and 2023 NAR President Kenny Parcell.

“It was exciting to see how many of our members, elected officials and community leaders embraced Riding with the Brand through a better understanding of the importance of real estate and REALTORS® throughout Arizona,” says Arizona REALTORS® CEO Scott Drucker.

The Riding with the Brand pop-up added a unique and exciting experience for members, who descended in droves to climb aboard the REALTOR® motorcoach, play a friendly game of cornhole and take selfies in front of the branded REALTOR® motorcycle parked near home plate.

“Whenever you have the Speaker of the [Arizona] House, NAR President Parcell, and Arizona REALTORS® President Gibbs under one roof, engaging everyday REALTORS®, it’s a win,” says Arizona REALTORS® Government Affairs Director Matthew Contorelli.

Aside from the exhilarating Riding with the Brand experience, REALTORS® had the opportunity to consider what their brand truly means and their role in driving home the REALTOR® difference.

“What excites our members the most is that Riding with the Brand is not something that Kenny Parcell and NAR leadership is doing for us. Rather, it’s something they are doing with us, which makes this event even more special,” says Drucker. Members left REALTOR® Day empowered and unified, with the knowledge that the brand is not defined by one person but rather by a shared responsibility. “We are the Brand; and we can make a difference in our communities, and our state at large.”

“What an honor it was to have President Kenny Parcell and NAR with us for REALTOR® Day at Chase Field,” says Arizona REALTORS® President Eric Gibbs. “The Riding with the Brand experience reminded us of who we are: REALTORS®. We’re thrilled to continue Riding with the Brand in 2023 and beyond.”

–Teleia Galaviz, social media manager, Arizona REALTORS®

Atlantic City, N.J.: Road Trip Begins

The REALTOR® brand rode into Atlantic City, N.J., in early December as part of the National Association of REALTORS®’ Riding with the Brand member activation tour.

More than 6,500 REALTORS® from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania were gathered for the Triple Play REALTOR® Convention and Trade Expo. In the expo area, members followed the Riding with the Brand logos on the floor to reach the branded motorcoach and motorcycle and to connect with state association leaders and 2023 NAR President Kenny Parcell.

Over the next 12 months, the Riding with the Brand tour is engaging with members nationwide to highlight their role in shaping the REALTOR® brand and emphasize opportunities to strengthen market conditions for U.S. consumers. The campaign kicked off at NAR’s REALTOR® Party Conference in Philadelphia, Nov. 29–Dec. 1, before heading to the Jersey Shore.

“It was truly an honor to be the second stop for NAR's Riding With the Brand campaign,” said New York State Association of REALTORS® President Jennifer Vucetic. “Members who attended our tri-state convention in Atlantic City felt supported by our national association, and it made Triple Play [now in its 21st year] that much more special. We appreciate the opportunity to be part of the campaign.”

“Triple Play is a unique experience where we are able to connect with members from all over the tri-state area,” said NJ REALTORS® 2022 President Robert White. “Welcoming the national brand and association into that mix created an even more meaningful and successful convention.”

‘Protect the Realm’

Brand building was a big theme of Triple Play. Keynote speaker Bethenny Frankel, founder and CEO of lifestyle brand Skinnygirl, spoke to a packed room about staying true to your authentic brand.

“Before my success, I didn’t think of the word ‘brand.’ It wasn’t discussed, but it is really important,” said Frankel, who gained fame as a cast member of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of New York.”  In addition to founding Skinnygirl, Frankel is a New York Times bestselling author and a TV producer. She hosts a business podcast, Just B, and founded and launched BStrong, a worldwide initiative in partnership with Global Empowerment Mission to collect aid and donations to help people affected by natural disasters.

“The concept [of brand] is so important,” Frankel said, “even if it’s your own moral compass. I always know what my brand is: Protect the realm.”

That’s just what Riding with the Brand aims to do.

“Our members look forward to attending Triple Play every year to network with each other and gain valuable business insights,” said Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS® President Christopher Beadling. “Hosting NAR President Kenny Parcell, the Riding with the Brand bus and motorcycle, and keynote speaker Bethenny Frankel added an extra level of excitement to the event.”

–Colleen Oliver, director of public relations and marketing, NJ REALTORS®