Tishomingo High School in southeastern Oklahoma was the proud recipient of the first-ever small trailer solution produced by Clubhouse Trailer Company. Small trailer solutions are 20-32 foot long, brand new trailers with gooseneck or bumper pull connections, featuring many of The Clubhouse signature products that are found in our semi trailers: solar powered LED lighting, instrument shelving, drum walls, uniform racks, a full width loading ramp and side door entry.
The Tishomingo Band’s 32 foot long gooseneck trailer was unveiled on August 14, 2020.
What initially motivated you to want a trailer? What transportation process were you using? What were the pros and cons of that?
Our previous band trailer was more than 20 years old. It was a bumper pull trailer made of old, heavy steel. It was strong and indestructible like an Abrams Tank, but it was a cramped space with no ramps and iffy lighting. Our program had outgrown it around 5 years ago.
Describe the process of designing your trailer with Clubhouse Trailer Company. What stood out to you during those planning conversations? Did you consider any other trailer providers?
We started shopping for a larger trailer that would be lighter and easier to use. Initially, I was looking for a large car-hauler. I dug around on the internet, called other band directors and trailer places that build trailers, and asked everyone lots of questions. I did the typical band director, self-sufficient, normal thing. I did my homework. When I visited Facebook band director pages and asked where others had good experiences with trailer shopping, several directors suggested I check out Clubhouse Trailer Company. So I went to their website. I was dazzled at all the awesome semi trailers, and I knew that wasn’t the right option for our small school.
When I connected with Drew and Jeff at The Clubhouse, we set up a meeting to look at my band’s needs. I gave them a tour of our spaces, and showed them our instruments and storage situation. They took photos, measurements and asked lots of questions. The Clubhouse presented options, and we talked about design, look and comfort. Having lots of choices helped me make decisions about the right trailer size, specifically for growth potential and my program’s future needs.
We spent a lot of time talking about price points and what small schools could afford. I felt I owed it to my peers to make sure the price points were fair. Most small schools just get a trailer and slap some decals on it or have it painted, then have band dads add shelves. Frankly, that is what we were considering doing. My goal was to work with The Clubhouse to create a trailer solution for small schools and save directors the hassle of getting one somewhere and then having it finished out somewhere else.
What was going on in your mind throughout the build process? At what point were students aware that they were getting a trailer?
My students, parent group and administration were all aware of every step we made in the process.
I knew that Drew and Jeff at The Clubhouse started as band dads. I knew that they were genuinely interested in helping us with a great solution to our needs. I knew they were listening and taking to heart my concern for other small school band directors down the road in the same situation. The free, open, honest communication back and forth was refreshing.
The new small school trailer solutions and price points are spot on. They will serve the market well.
How does it feel knowing that your program is our first small trailer solution?
We loved being the first to try this with The Clubhouse, and we were in all the way to make it a great reality. We were hoping to show our trailer off at the Oklahoma Bandmasters Association and Texas Bandmasters Association conventions this past summer, as well as during our own annual contest this fall. Sadly, COVID messed all of that up!
What feature or features of the trailer are you most excited about now that you have used it?
We ended up very, very pleased with our trailer! It is very tall. We can roll our fully loaded Jarvis uniform racks right up the ramp and strap them to the E track system. We have great solar powered lighting, lots of safe, beveled shelf space, an easy and safe ramp and a great look. Our trailer has given us room to grow at a great price point.
One word of advice: If you are purchasing a trailer with a long overhang at the back, like ours, ask it to be specked out with bogie wheels installed from the factory. Trust me, it’s worth the extra cost.
What would you like to say to other band directors out there about what a trailer can do for their programs?
There were times when I wanted faster answers, but I have learned that the team at The Clubhouse gives me great answers when I am patient.
Being the first recipient of a small trailer solution made us the guinea pigs, and The Clubhouse was very thorough, thoughtful and precise, professional and friendly, honest and homey. Like family.
I figure as an older band director I owe it to my peers to just be me. Honest, blunt, Hank. These guys are great to work with. Take the worry out of your experience and call them. Our trailer is perfect for us. We love it, and we feel it will last for many, many years.