Dickie Reese and Rufus Reese. SUBMITTED

The Reese name has been one in the same with hard work, family values, and good business for nearly 100 years now.

The journey began in the 1920s with Rufus Reese, Sr. starting the family’s long and deep traditions within the mule trading business that has carried on four generations now. Dickie and Rufus Reese are the third generation to continue their family business and stretch it from mules being used to pack, as outfitters, traverse the Grand Cannon, and even used in the military. 

The mules arrive at Greenwood Farms and are taken into the family’s massive grey barn to be saddled, clipped, or harnessed and prepped for their jobs and lives ahead.

Some are bought for show, others for their brute strength in aid of many in the Amish communities in and around Middle Tennessee. As far as the Pennsylvania crops to the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana the Reese mules are used and depended on everyday.

Nationwide, the Reese Brother’s Mule Company can be seen providing park services in the Midwest, giving carriage rides in California, and quail hunts in South Georgia. Many other business families buy mules from Greenwood Farms and in turn sell them to others as such in Montana individually or to other businesses.

These animals have many functions that Dickie and Rufus capitalized on to ensure the well being of future family members.

When the brothers took over the family business it was due to a horrific accident resulting in the loss of their father in 1979. The brothers picked up the business with a skill and finesse that not many could achieve. Dickie took over the accounting side having graduated from The University of Tennessee with an Animal Science degree and Rufus, with his no-nonsense attitude, took over the trading of the mules and auctioning.

The brothers were, and are, the power houses of the mule trading world and work exceptionally well together.

Dickie said, “We never really fought, Rufus is absolutely the perfect partner.”

They worked hard every day together, learning from one another and gaining the respect of men and women world wide.

Rufus said, “We don’t consider ourselves mule trainers, we keep our operation simple and sell what we buy. The less we have to handle a mule the more profit there is in him.”

The ability of the two brothers to save and keep their family business has resulted in the newest generation, Richard Reese, Rufus’ son.

Dickie and Rufus retired for the most part in 2018 and have granted the farm to Richard to continue for many years to come. Dickie still works the three big mule auctions and Rufus can be seen in the barns working with and ensuring the mules are taken care of.

Article submitted by Michaela Reese.

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