The late Gordon Thomsen, founder of Trail King Industries, formally Western Ag Sales, was previously named Champion of Excellence and was recognized for his many contributions to Mitchell and South Dakota in the South Dakota Hall of Fame in Chamberlain, SD.
Gordon Thomsen exemplified an individual with dreams who can take a small home-based business employing four people and turn it into the nation’s largest manufacturer of specialized trailers, with an employment force of around 800 people. This adventure started as Western Ag-Sales and has been built into an empire known today as Trail King Industries in Mitchell, SD. Probably the most notable of the Western Ag expansion was Trail King’s development of what many at the time considered the best hydraulic detachable gooseneck in the industry- a system that made hooking up and unhooking a simple, one-person “60-second connection.”
The Thomsen/Trail King exhibit was slated to showcase his accomplishments for a period of two years. Last month, the exhibit was removed, and the Trail King gooseneck that was built for the exhibit was gifted to the Thomsen family, after being hauled back by the TK Team.
Other notable contributions and honors of Mr. Thomsen :
• In 1984, he purchased controlling interest in a radio station – KMIT.
• In 1989, he opened the Tumbleweed in Mitchell, providing a different type of shopping experience.
• Contributions to: projects such as the Youth Hockey/Ice Arena Project, Abbott House, Mitchell Vo-Tech Scholarship Fund, a scholarship fund at the University of South Dakota, Friends of the Middle Border Museum and the Prehistoric Indian Village, now known as The Thomsen Center Archeodome.
• Honors include: Small Business Person of the Year (twice), South Dakotan of the Year by USD School of Business and the Small Business Administration’s Exporter of the Year. The Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce honored Gordon for his generosity by giving him the Community Service Award.
See more- The Story of Trail King Industries