San Antonio with Clubhouse Trailers
When Corey and I were in high school, we were band nerds, and I say that will every ounce of pride I can muster. Corey only stayed in band through our sophomore year before he went off to do other things, but I played in band all 4 years of high school. Being in band taught me all sorts of valuable life skills like leadership, hard work, discipline, and punctuality (because nobody wants to run laps at 6:30am when they arrive late to morning rehearsal!) that have served me well throughout college and my early career.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with the intricacies of a marching band operation, it takes a lot of people doing a lot of things to make it all work. I first got involved in the 8th grade as part of my high school’s “pit crew.” We little 8th graders would show up to football games and competitions to help unload the pit equipment – keyboard instruments like xylophones and marimbas, speakers, big drums like the bass drums and timpanis, etc – from the trailers, haul it onto the field for the performance and set it up, tear it down and haul it off the field after the performance, and pack the trailer back up. There were between 6 and 12 of us at every event, depending on our schedules, and we all had specific jobs. This is in addition to the high school percussionists that were actually in band, plus a few band parents. It was quite the operation!
Not only does the pit equipment have to be loaded and unloaded, but you also have all the band uniforms, the drumline equipment, and the big instruments like tubas that have to be hauled to football games and competitions. My (now) father-in-law, Jeff, and another band dad, Drew, decided there had to be a more efficient way to transport all that stuff than box trucks, small equipment trailers, and the backs of trucks, so they made it happen and founded Clubhouse Trailers. Check out the full story of the company’s beginnings on their About Us page. Bulldog One came to our high school my senior year, and it was incredible. It was a semi-trailer with room for everything – pit equipment on the first floor, cubbies for drumline stuff, uniform racks, a perch on which our director could stand and address us all, and a tuba-vater (winch to hook to the tuba cases to load them without carrying them up).
Since then, CHT has grown exponentially, and recently traveled to San Antonio, Texas to show off their stuff at the Texas Bandmasters Association annual convention! And, because they could, they brought an entire trailer and parked it inside the convention hall. Corey and I, as well as all of Corey’s siblings/siblings-in-law, traveled down with them to help chat with potential customers. While us kids aren’t employed by CHT and we don’t necessarily know all the details, we could be a friendly face, answer a few basic questions, and direct people that were seriously interested over to Jeff or Drew to talk specifics.
Rather than driving all the way to San Antonio in a day, we opted to stay in Austin with Corey’s older sister, Megan, and her husband, Patrick. It was so nice getting to spend some time with them, since we normally only see them at holidays! We had just about gotten to the Oklahoma/Texas border when Corey’s mom, Leslie, called us. As a giveaway, Jeff and Drew had ordered custom foam trucks with the CHT info on it. They were supposed to arrive on Tuesday, but Jeff got a notification that they had been delayed to Wednesday, the day we left. Leslie asked if we could pick them up and bring them with us. We hedged a bit, since CHT is located in Edmond, and we were a couple hours past Edmond already. But Leslie told us the trucks had been shipped to Megan/Patrick’s house, so crisis averted. We arrived to Megan/Patrick’s house at the same time the shipment of squishy trucks did, so we loaded up 12(!) boxes of trucks into Corey’s camper shell.
Thursday was a setup day for the conference. We arrived at the convention center and picked up our badges without much trouble. Jeff, Leslie, Corey’s older brother Kyle, Kyle’s wife Paige, Corey’s younger brother Tyler, Drew, and Drew’s wife Sharla were already setting up when we got there. Corey and I jumped right in, arranging furniture, hanging pictures on display racks, and organizing our display of squishy trucks. However, we realized that nobody had thought to bring business card holders. Jeff and Drew had their cards ready to hand out, but we didn’t have anywhere to put them! Luckily, every man in our family carries a pocket knife regularly, so Kyle carved out the top of a squishy trailer to hold business cards.
The convention itself took place on Friday and Saturday. Like I said before, our job was mostly talking to people. We all know the basics of the features we can put in trailers, what the function is, etc. Any details like pricing or scheduling we would go grab Jeff or Drew to discuss. We also gathered information from interested parties so Jeff and Drew could follow up with everyone after the convention. Corey and I could only stay through Friday, though – we had a party we were throwing at our new house that Sunday, so we needed to travel back on Saturday.
I wish we would have gotten to see more of San Antonio while we were there, but it was a fun trip, and I was glad we could go down and support Corey’s dad 🙂