The Stillwater High School Band’s trailer resides in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and is affectionately known as Ellie.
The trailer was first delivered in 2016, finished on the exterior, yet without any interior buildout.
After the marching season, The Clubhouse crew performed interior work on Ellie, transforming the empty inside space into a Clubhouse trailer.
In 2019, the trailer spent time at The Clubhouse getting outfitted with even more features and upgrades.
What has been your history and relationship with Clubhouse Trailer Company over the years?
My booster officers at the time and I came to know about The Clubhouse because of their work with their early trailers. As we were getting motivated and able to purchase a trailer, The Clubhouse’s designs and innovative approaches to maximizing the space available in the trailer was very appealing to us. Ever since our project got off the ground, we’ve enjoyed a remarkable relationship with The Clubhouse team. They’ve even come to find us at band contest weekends to make quick repairs or updates as needed, and they have always been incredible to work with.
What initially motivated you to want a trailer? What transportation process had you been using? What were the pros and cons of that?
Years ago, we had been asking our district for a trailer due to the growing nature of our program and the way the activity was changing. We needed more storage space for transporting our equipment. When I first started here, we were even having to transport our equipment for home football games, as they were not played on the high school’s campus. The transportation department felt we didn’t need a trailer, so they purchased us a used 24′ box truck. Our boosters made a very valiant effort at outfitting the interior to accommodate our program, but due to trying to cram everything we needed into that truck, we would end up with damaged equipment, and eventually we outgrew the truck anyway. Thanks to some great fundraising efforts on the part of the boosters, we were finally able to purchase our trailer.
Describe the process of meeting and first designing your trailer with Clubhouse Trailer Company. What stood out to you during those planning conversations?
At the time, we had a general idea of what we wanted, and The Clubhouse team was happy to help in any way they could. I do recall having some features we wanted to install, but were slightly out of our budget at the time. Unbeknownst to me, the boosters went and secured some additional funding from private donors so that when the install was complete, those features were added in time for the big reveal! One of the many things I appreciate about working with The Clubhouse was their attention to detail, and their willingness to make the trailer unique for us. I love the fact that when students walk into the trailer, the first thing they see is our school’s logo as they come up the stairs. It reinforces a sense of pride in the trailer and in our program.
Did you consider any other trailer providers?
We did not. We are fortunate to have The Clubhouse close to our program, and their reputation was stellar, even in their early days of the company. The other directors I talked to who had used The Clubhouse raved about their service and quality of their product. There was no question for me or my boosters about who we should use
What was going on in your mind throughout the build process? At what point were students aware that they were getting a trailer?
During the build process, I was just excited for everything to come together. The students found out about the trailer at a football game. After halftime, we took the students out of the home side stands, and had the trailer come into the parking lot under police escort. It was a great day, watching the students react to the trailer, which was branded with our logo and our name. For the remainder of that season, we used the trailer with nothing on the inside, and just tied everything down. Even with nothing inside the trailer, the students were thrilled to have a trailer of their own, but the best was yet to come!
What was it like when your trailer arrived? What was the student reaction after delivery? How do the students feel about the trailer now?
When we re-revealed the trailer after The Clubhouse had completed the interior work, the students were amazed. The crew that is responsible for loading and unloading the truck were so excited with the ease of the process, and everyone was impressed with the flow of the loading and unloading process. We’ve had a number of upgrades added since our initial install, and each time we’ve shown students the new additions, they’ve been incredibly excited. To this day, our students take great pride in the trailer. I hope they never take it for granted, and am thankful for alumni who can relay the stories of “back in my day,” when we only had that 24′ box truck and how we had to shoehorn everything into the space we had.
What trailer features have been most helpful for your program?
Having two levels inside the trailer is an absolute must. That was a huge space saver for us, and has made transporting all of our equipment far safer and more manageable. I think our first upgrade was adding uniform racks to the nose of the trailer, and those have been a great addition. Our most recent additions have been the hydraulic ramp on the back, which makes loading and unloading our pit equipment much easier, and instrument shelves on the upper deck. Prior to the shelves, we had been just laying our instruments on the top deck, but the ability to stack our instruments vertically makes maneuvering through the upper deck much easier. Finally, the director’s perch was on the initial build, and remains one of the best features on our trailer. It gives our staff an easy ability to address the full band after our performances, and is a great rally point for our students.
Anything unexpected about your trailer that you would like to share?
Again, I think the instrument shelves have been a great addition, and the director’s perch was almost not installed on the initial build, but our boosters felt it was something we needed to have, so they found the money to add it in. We’ve definitely adapted our loading process as we’ve added more electronics or needed props for a show, but by and large, a lot of what we do remains the same. That’s one of the reasons why The Clubhouse is a great company: They’ve anticipated how we operate, and designed the flow of the trailer to accommodate that.
What would you like to say to other band directors out there about what a trailer can do for their programs?
While the importance of safely transporting our equipment cannot be stressed enough, the trailer is about much more than that. It is a tremendous source of pride for our students, parents and community when they see the trailer on the road or parked at a contest. It is a great way to market your program and show your community the value and pride of having a strong band program in the schools.
I cannot overstate what an incredible team is available at Clubhouse Trailer Company. Drew and Jeff started the program as two band dads who just wanted to help their kids’ program find success, and since then they have built a phenomenal team that takes great pride in helping bands in any way they can. They are a terrific company to work with and they completely stand behind their products; but, more importantly, they are incredible people and I am very proud to call them my friends. I am thrilled with the support they’ve shown for me and the Stillwater Band Program!