Gordon and Shirley Thomsen founded Western Ag Sales in 1974. During the first few years, the company was primarily a distributor and sales representative for manufacturers of agricultural equipment.
In 1978, Western Ag Sales purchased another Mitchell-based manufacturing company, Plains Industries, and moved into their manufacturing facility. With this purchase, Western Ag also brought a new line into their product offerings called “Trail King.” During the next few years, Western Ag expanded this line to include trailers with many enhanced features to better meet customers' specific hauling needs, such as hydraulic tails and detachable goosenecks. The most notable feature 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." As the 1970's ended, the company's emphasis shifted away from the distribution of ag-related equipment to focus exclusively on manufacturing Trail King trailers.
Western Ag Sales officially changed its name to Trail King Industries in 1983. This focus on trailers led to an expanded product line. These trailers were designed to address construction-related applications and to meet the needs of the commercial and specialized hauling markets. Along with this product line expansion came increased sales, which naturally lead to increased production capability demands. To address this need, Trail King built a new manufacturing plant in 1987. This new 67,500 square-foot plant helped meet the ever-increasing demand for Trail King trailers.
The plant was expanded in 1992 when sales continued to grow, straining production capacity. Two years later, it was expanded again after Trail King acquired assets of Ti-Brook, Inc. Today, our facilities in Mitchell stand at 295,000 square feet. They provide state-of-the-art production capabilities for a workforce of over 450 employees.
In 2000, Trail King further expanded their product offerings after purchasing Red River Manufacturing based in West Fargo, ND. Red River had a well-deserved reputation for manufacturing outstanding live bottom and bottom dump trailers for the agricultural, waste, and construction industries. With the 2007 construction of a brand new 160,000-square-foot facility, it further increased Trail King's ability to meet market demand in an even more timely, efficient, and quality manner.
Trail King was acquired by CC Industries, Inc (CCI) in 2010. This acquisition expanded CCI's portfolio of leading industrial manufacturers and transportation equipment companies. It also afforded Trail King the expertise and support necessary to enhance Trail King's long-term strategic growth as North America's leading specialized trailer manufacturer.
In May 2015, Trail King expanded its product offerings and its production capacity when they acquired Dakota Trailer Manufacturing located in Yankton, SD. Dakota Trailers produced aluminum grain hopper trailers for the agriculture market. These trailers have complemented Trail King's existing line of live bottom agriculture trailers that are manufactured at its West Fargo facility.
In 2020, our plant in West Fargo sustained irreparable damage due to a collapsed roof after a massive snowstorm. The decision was made to fast forward a plan to expand and improve the property. A new building was finished in the summer of 2021.
Despite our growth and change—and all that surely lies in our future—we will continue to hold the same values and mission. We will always strive to lead the way in the trailer industry, delivering trailers that are engineered and manufactured to the highest standards of quality, performance, and reliability. We will continue to participate in organizations whose missions are to elevate the trailer industry and its related industries to new levels of innovation, professionalism, and integrity.