Day and Homburger previously owned Extreme RVs, which manufactured toy haulers in Caldwell, Idaho. Extreme RVs also shuttered operations in 2008, but the two men retained ownership of the Caldwell facility from which Extreme Warrior now operates.
Toy hauler pioneer and self-described “desert rat” Mark Warmoth is pictured next to his ATV.
Day and Homburger currently oversee Extreme Warrior’s day-by-day production in Idaho. Warmoth, a self-proclaimed “desert rat,” prefers to stay near his favored desert haunts while serving as a consultant and trailer designer from his home in Canyon Lake, Calif. Extreme Warrior’s management is focused on maintaining steady upward growth. However, its future successes won’t come by the same business model that Weekend Warrior lived and died by, Warmoth readily admits.
The new Warrior company is crawling through its infancy period, but also experiencing some early success. It began producing units – starting with two wide-body trailer floorplans – in early 2011. The manufacturer has since compiled a five-month production backlog and a waiting list of dealers who want to pick up the Extreme Warrior product line, according to Warmoth.
RV PRO recently spoke with Warmoth at length about his transition from Weekend Warrior to Extreme Warrior.
RV PRO: Some might consider you the father of the toy hauler industry. Would you agree?
Warmoth: No, I don’t really consider myself the father of toy haulers.
By the time I’d started Warrior, people were almost home-building their own because there was no place for them to go buy one. The need was there. Empty cargo box trailers had been popular for a few years – people were starting to put K-Mart cabinets, and fresh water tanks, and lights in these empty cargo boxes. People were paying cash for everything and building it in their garages, so they didn’t have any resale value and they were expensive.
Really, what I brought to the table was resale value and a level of quality, because when you build something on the assembly line, it builds a level of quality that’s better than home built.
Back to your question, I was the one who brought it to the RV industry and it became huge because (Weekend Warrior) paved the way for that.
RV PRO: Why did you decide to get back into the industry?
Extreme Warrior currently offers toy haulers in four flooplans and has plans on the drawing board for four more models, many of them smaller, lighter-weight units. Currently, the company is manufacturing three units per week.
Warmoth: I kept my eyes on it. I still went to the shows and still looked at what was going on. I was dealing with quite a bit of fallout. Losing a company the size of Weekend Warrior created a lot of legal issues, both personally and company-wise. It’s still going on. It’s going to take a couple more years before it’s all done.
In 2003, Warrior bought 50 percent of Extreme RVs up in Idaho. Although that company crashed, too, we developed relationships with people up there who were expert trailer builders.
I was dying to build trailers again and so were they, so we just got together and said, ‘Let’s go do it.’
RV PRO: What is your role with Extreme Warrior?
Warmoth: I’m a consultant. I have complete say over product development and the attitude of the company’s policies.
RV PRO: Did you mull the pros and cons of keeping “Warrior” in the name of the new company, given its natural association with Weekend Warrior?
Warmoth: Absolutely. My heart and soul is Weekend Warrior and I’m very proud of the units that we built. They are still, today, the most sought-after used product in the industry’s history. It was just a natural to revive that and finish my life’s work.
RV PRO: What is Extreme Warrior’s mission?
Extreme Warrior manufactures RVs in Caldwell, Idaho. Another toy hauler manufacturer, Extreme RVs, previously made RVs at the site.
Warmoth: One of the mistakes I made at Weekend Warrior was too many models and too many choices. Quality turns out to be a product of refinement. And when you’re developing new models all the time, you have less ability to refine them.
With the new company, I want to choose only the most popular floorplans and I want to keep building them until they’re perfect. Refinement is the new company’s attitude.
RV PRO: How many different Extreme Warrior floorplans are now available?
Warmoth: We have four floorplans now and we’re working on four more.
I’m designing the trailers one at a time. We produced the wide-body pull trailers in a 26-foot and then a 30-foot. And then we did the Super-lites, which is another complete series of trailers that are lighter for half-ton or bigger trucks. They’re a little bit smaller and a little bit lighter.
The next series on the drawing board is a lighter trailer, almost an ultra-lite, which is even smaller and lighter.
RV PRO: What standard features are available in current floorplans?
Warmoth (right) is pictured with Graham Lord, formerly a graphic artist with Weekend Warrior, who continues to lend his design talents to Warmoth.
Warmoth: When you start over, you really search your soul to find out who you are. At Extreme Warrior, we see ourselves as a cargo company.
The first priority will be on useful full-width cargo. That’ll always be our premise: We’re a cargo company first and then an RV company second. Even the smallest trailer we build has 12 feet of full-width cargo, and then we put the shower, bedroom, and bathroom in there.
A quality unit has a blend of features – not just the ones you can see, but behind the scenes what you can’t see as well. This is coming from an industry that puts more priority on what you see than what is behind the scenes.
I want to build trailers with overrated tires. I don’t like the tires to be the weakest point on the trailer. Three things I like: high-rated tires, heavy-duty suspension and big brakes. We put grease belts on all the suspensions so those points don’t wear. The new Warriors are trailers that are built to go more mileage and heavier-duty on the running gear.
RV PRO: What’s your manufacturing volume?
Warmoth: We’re building three units per week right now. To give you an idea, in Weekend Warrior’s heyday, we were doing 25 per day.
Right now, we’re on our way to getting to our first milestone of producing one per day.
I really don’t have any goals on how big we want to get. One of the lessons I learned at (Weekend) Warrior was we had grown way too fast, in too short a period of time. Our main attitude (now) is: We do want to grow every year a little bit, but never too fast.
RV PRO: Why is mitigating Extreme Warrior’s growth so important?
Warmoth: I learned something riding dirt bikes. When you’re racing and trying to win a championship, you ride on the edge of
falling to be in the lead. If you’re pleasure riding, you ride at 75 percent of your ability and you never crash. Well, that’s kind of the new attitude of the new company: I never want to be on the edge again – we’ll run it 75 percent of our real abilities and stay in control all the time.
Weekend Warrior was hung out on the leading edge of growth and stability. Through the whole company’s life, we were growing as fast as we could. As the company grew big, that turned out to be its volatility and how I lost control of it. This time it’s a much more regimented growth.
RV PRO: How many units have you sold this year?
Warmoth: We sold about 20 as of the Pomona show. We’ve probably done sold around 50-55 units so far this year.
RV PRO: What is Extreme Warrior’s primary geographical demographic? And what does your dealer network look like, currently?
Warmoth: It really is a U.S. nationwide and Canada market, although a majority of it is on the West Coast – from Utah to the West Coast.
We have about a half-dozen dealers, which covers about 10 locations right now in Oregon, Idaho, Washington, California, Arizona and Colorado. I still have Utah and Nevada to go.
We’re talking to a few dealers all the time. But, right now we’re sold out for the next five months. The market could change between now and then. Even the dealers we’re talking to, we can’t supply them until after the beginning of the year 2011. We’re adding (dealers) slowly as we continue to build our production levels, our experience, and add our product lines.
RV PRO: Why should dealers consider buying Extreme Warrior units?
Extreme Warrior toy haulers feature large cargo areas.
Warmoth: Warrior is a tremendously well-known name. And although we’re not the only Warrior out there anymore – there’s a few other people that try and use the ‘Warrior’ name – I really am the original guy. We really are the ‘real deal.’
The other thing is our ability, or our willingness, to network with our old customers – to solve problems and tell the story.
Other than that, we’re competitively priced and we make a nice looking trailer.
This is a strong statement: This new generation of Warrior trailers is the best I’ve ever built. It’s not that impressive if you look at, every year, I built a better trailer than the year before – that’s really my nature. But this trailer was designed — every nut and bolt — by me, from the ground up, one at a time.
It’s been a long time since I put that much effort into designing a trailer. And I did it at a time when I’m scared to death. What if I build a trailer and nobody wants it?
RV PRO: Is that fear driving you?
Warmoth: Absolutely [laughs]. It really has never been about the money for me. It’s been about making customers happy. (Weekend) Warrior did a really good job of making customers happy. Even though we became a mega-company, we were still sought-after. I literally was behind the scenes trying to make sure that we lived up to our reputation, because on something like that, our reputation started to exceed our abilities.
RV PRO: Will Extreme Warrior continue to make toy haulers exclusively?
Warmoth: Ramp trailers will be our main focus, but we may eventually build mainstream RVs. Extreme RVs was a mainstream RV manufacturer, too. They have the drawings, they have the equipment, they have the engineering – it’s all done – and it’s just a matter of reviving it after a three-year hiatus and developing it.
We’re also developing our first line of fifth wheels. They will be mid-range fifth wheels – we’ll call them super-lite fifth wheels. They’ll be in the 28-foot to 34-foot range.
After we make the mid-range fifth wheels, we’ll make the big-dog, flagship fifth wheels. That’s actually the hottest segment of the market right now.
RV PRO: How are you received by former customers?
Warmoth: They are absolutely wonderful. Once in a while I get hammered by a customer.
The website has a place to make a comment. It’s not necessarily a conversation back-and-forth, but it’s where people can make a comment. It was designed to get closer to the bone on what’s really out there in people’s attitudes.
(I’d say) 99.5 percent of the people are very, very gracious and glad we’re back and wishing us luck. Even the people who have had warranty issues start off being very gracious, and I have to drag it out of them to find out what issues they really had. Most people won’t just tell it.
RV PRO: You’ve said that these are the best “Weekend Warrior” units you’ve ever made. Do you see your new products as Weekend Warrior units or do you see them as the new “Extreme Warrior” brand?
Warmoth: The last generation where we ended the Weekend Warriors, they were very complicated units – hard to keep dependable. These trailers today are simpler. But they’re not extreme; I don’t consider them extreme.
‘X Warrior’ is the logo, and later on that ‘X’ will morph to say ‘Extreme.’ When I talk about Warriors, I have to say ‘first generation,’ because I call them all Warriors. I consider them my trailers – they’re my heart and soul.
RV PRO: About when will the ‘X’ in your logo be replaced with ‘Extreme’?
Warmoth: When the market changes a little bit and we start building more. Maybe when we get to the flagship fifth wheel – there’s a good chance that one will be an Extreme Warrior. It’ll be in the $50,000-plus range.
There are a few units out there that are pretty special. We’ll go right after them and build it better than what they got. It’ll be the best one out there. Every unit I build is going to be the best one out there. When I get into the big-dog flagship fifth wheels, they will be my best ever – better than everything else, too.
RV PRO: What are your goals for the company during the next five years?
Warmoth: When you get to start over, you get to decide what it is you want to do and how quick you want to do it. The five-year goals are not really etched in stone. In a way, I’d like things to happen faster, but I’m really OK with paying our dues and starting over.