freddie987 wrote:What? This was totally out of the blue. A heap of posts by different people complaining about issues and no sign that Yoder was taking the complaints seriously, apart from saying any issues were user error and all of a sudden they have a range of fixes and have selected you to test them? Where did this come from? What makes you special that they are reaching out to you and not the rest of us?
When he said he could travel south to get to Perry, Oklahoma, I figured that put him in Kansas, right around where Yoder is located. I also figured that having a person in one's own backyard, to help evaluate equipment, is a pretty groovy thing for a manufacturer. Since he was in recent communication with them, well.............
I wound up becoming a beta tester for Big Green Egg Corporation some years ago: they sent me all kinds of cool stuff, which I got to keep, and were interested in my observations of the products features. Nice work, if you can get it! I'm not special to anyone except maybe my Mom, but happened to get transferred to an engineer at BGE when I called them for some reason or other. At some point in the conversation he expressed dismay that I was both from Oklahoma, and didn't sound like a (complete) idiot, and asked if I would help them with some products which were still in the design phase.
Figuring the guys at Yoder are at least/most as dumb as the guys in GA, I can see how they hooked with a local boy for some honest customer input from someone who would really like to see things succeed. He's probably special to his mom, too.
As for the RD Special smoker from Horizon, it is so named for "R"oger "D"avidson, the owner of the company, and thankfully, is not a R&D product. We own the 20" RD Special and did not order it with the top shelf option, as our local dealer pointed out that the top shelf on a smoker of this size would be quite narrow. This is the same maroon that told me the 24'" RD Special would just be "way too much smoker for you, and its real, real, heavy." As the quality of our cooks improved, so did the amounts of product we desired to cook at any one time. Man, do I ever wish I'd gotten that 24" cooker. And besides, I'll bet the optional top shelf on that one is up to the job as well.