09/02/2014 10:47AM

Western Kentucky breeder Garvin dies at age 71


David Garvin, a Thoroughbred breeder and founder of the Camping World retail chain, died Saturday from injuries sustained from an accidental fall off the roof of his home on Ironwood Farm in Bowling Green, Ky. He was 71.

In 1966, Garvin founded Camping World, opening his first franchise at Beech Bend Amusement Park in Bowling Green when he was 23 years old. It grew into a leading provider of parts and services for recreational vehicles and camping supplies.

During the 1980s, Garvin focused his attention on the Thoroughbred industry, purchasing Ironwood Farm.

Among the most successful graduates of his breeding program were Arkansas Derby winner Rockamundo, Grade 3 winner and veteran sire Ide, French Group 3 winner Agol Lack, and stakes winner Sneaky Quiet, who finished third in the 1995 Kentucky Oaks. He co-bred multiple Grade 3 winner Belleski, Japanese Group 3 winner Grass World, and stakes winner Squadron Leader in various partnerships.

Horses running under Garvin’s name were trained by Bill Mott. He often sold his yearlings and weanlings through consignor Three Chimneys Sales.

Garvin, a native of Bowling Green, graduated from Western Kentucky University and Harvard Business School. His parents founded Beech Bend, and Garvin was instrumental in the implementation of a drag strip and oval track for auto racing on the property.

Garvin is survived by his wife of 45 years, Charlotte Mann Garvin, sisters Martha and Kathy, children Katherine, Kimberly, David, and Arthur, and seven grandchildren.

Visitation will be held on Thursday from 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Central at Hillview Heights at 3219 Nashville Road in Bowling Green, Ky. A private celebration of life will be held for family and friends at a later date.