Sooner Trailer Review
Sooner Trailer Review
Sooner invited me to their dealer convention in September and let me take a look "inside" their culture in Duncan, Oklahoma. There's been a lot of "buzz" about the Sooner name - how they were bought by a big company outside of Oklahoma and it's impact - and it's subsequent ownership returning to a local family about three years ago - which has been a very good thing for the company, the employees, the town, and hopefully, those who buy Sooner trailers in the future.
They were kind enough to send a trailer home with me . . . and for the past two months I've had the full "Sooner" experience. There's a lot to be said about a company surviving in this business for nearly 50 years.
I'll be honest, Sooner has taken their share of
knocks as their ownership changed over the past decade. So I was
excited when they invited me to their annual dealer awards convention in
September. I was looking for more than a re-engineered
namesake. I wanted to see how the company was doing - and how the
employees felt. After-all, name one person who doesn't recognize the
Sooner brand. I thought it would make good reading.
Sooner is back - and the Sooner you consider one of their trailers the quicker you'll shorten your "short" list to include them.
What do YOU look for?
People will often have a tough time explaining why they like a trailer, or if they are honest with themselves, they are too embarrassed to tell you. I'm not.
Many will make a final buying decision based on
looks, functionality and price. And in that order.
Surprised? I've taken too many informal surveys. You can take
all the "formal" survey's you like. It won't change my
And I have to admit. I like the Sooner logo. I'm sorry. Cosmetic I know. . . . but when I'm done here, I want you to have new confidence that the Sooner logo is more than just a pretty face. It will also add value to your trailer in the future.
I also look immediately for creature comforts - which I define as operating details I have to contend with every time I use my trailer. I think any trailer you have should include these:
1. The tiny step - In the dressing room
to help you crawl up into the goose-neck area.
Sooner has them all. Thank you.
Now for three more items on my basic wish
list which I would like to have if possible in a competitively priced rig.
Sooner has two out of three as standard. My demo model did not have an insulated roof, but unless you live closer to Minnesota than Texas, I would look into this option. Insulated roofs are the nicest thing you can do for your horses next to drop down windows. Most of us haul in the summer - we don't know where we might get stuck - and with an insulated roof and removable tack and dividers - you have a passable box stall for emergencies. Or room for your draft horses.
Heavy duty mats in the dressing room? Yup. No more trying to sweep "artificial gray turf" with a broom. And the dressing room door goes "FUMP" instead of "BANG" when you close it. You can hear quality.
Things you can't see
The floor in your trailer will take a beating - and often receives the least amount of attention from the owner after the day you buy it. So you should make sure you have a good one to begin with. The Sooner folks use an all-aluminum interlocking deck floor with "J" channel cross members ever 4 inches to eliminate any future "dip" between supports.
They also offer a lifetime warranty on their floor mats, which are ribbed on the bottom, so moisture won't collect. The other hidden work horse is your axle.
Sooner uses the Nev-R-Lube axles by Dexter. They are sealed at the factory and virtually maintenance free - and Dexter adds a 5 year or 100,000 mile warranty against defects in material or workmanship. Not sure how you would track your mileage however.
Few companies set out to make an inferior product you argue - every trailer you look at has "unique" features - so what sets the leaders off from the rest of the pack? My answer?
Look at the company. Few of us do. I did.
Sooner is "small town" in every sense of the word - and to me that means pride and accountability. Unfortunately they lost the small town pride and accountability when they sold out years ago to "out-of-towners" and were guided by the accountants only. Mergers can be good if local control and autonomy remains with the business. Recent information suggests that Sooner may again have merged in the last week of October and I'll update this article as the facts are learned.
I had dinner with the current owner - and his wife. They live in Duncan. They didn't need the company, but were convinced the community wanted it back. They were right, and I saw it in the enthusiasm of every employee, (and dealer), I met. It was a three year turn around, and the new Sooner appears better poised to address market needs. You won't be able to pick that up in the brochures you gather for the next trailer you buy. So take my word for it with Sooner. They will go the extra mile to make you a happy customer - or you can call me to complain.
Some additional features on my review trailer. It's for sale by the way.
1. New z-beam construction offers an unparalleled frame structure.
windows and doors from Creation offer a larger handle and a clamp ring
3. Mats on the floor in the dressing room replace the carpet allowing for easier cleaning.
4. Lifetime guarantee floor mats stand up to the maximum in wear and tear.
horizontal structure added resists torque in the trailer body which keeps
6. White skin above the kick plate in the stall areas brightens the stall area, scuffs less, and allows for easier cleaning.
7. A riveted roof system vs. a crimped assembly adds structure and durability.