Employees of OPen Range RV Inc., Shipshewana, Ind., stand with their new SURV, Rolling Thunder.

Employees of Open Range RV Inc., Shipshewana, Ind., stand with their newly introduced Rolling Thunder Sport Utility RV.

Open Range RV Inc. marked its second anniversary Thursday (Oct. 1) with the debut of the Rolling Thunder sport utility fifth-wheel (SURV) and a luncheon for its 105 employees catered by regionally famous Nelson’s Golden Glow.

”We wanted to show appreciation for our employees,” said Randy Graber, president of the Shipshewana, Ind., company. ”We’ve continued to grow. We’ve never laid anybody off because our product is very well accepted out there. We build a product that is affordable, lighter weight and the consumers love our designs and interiors.”

A fairly high-end towable, the fiberglass-and-aluminum Rolling Thunder initially will be available in three 35- to 42-foot triple-slide floorplans, the heaviest of which will be 11,900 pounds dry weight — 2,000 pounds lighter than a traditional toy hauler, Graber said. ”We have a slideout system that takes a lot of weight out the slideouts and the frames,” he noted. ”We will be advertising that we take a ton of weight out of our toy hauler.”

Rolling Thunder, with retail prices from $55,000 to $70,000, features Corian countertops, glazed all-wood cabinets doors, full queen beds with wrought iron headboard, two flat-screen TVs and an electric four-point leveling and stabilizing system. ”You can level Rolling Thunder with the push of a button or with a remote,” Graber said.

An optional double bunk system featuring a convertible sofa is available for the 10- to 12-foot deep garages featuring ramp doors that are arched to provide easier access.

”One of the things that makes us stand apart is that this is an Open Range with a garage,” Graber said. ”Rolling Thunder doesn’t have the `sporty’ look that most toy haulers have because we focus more on the woman. ”She’s getting her Open Range and he’s getting his garage.”

During the lunch, meanwhile, Mont Arnold made a fund-raising appeal for Habitat for Humanity of LaGrange County. ”We asked our employees to donate to Habitat or to volunteer,” Graber said. ”There was quite a response.”