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Fiddlin’ At the Twin Pines Ranch with Charlie Daniels

By Lauren Neale, Published May 2016 Tennessee Cattle Business


Country music legend and Tennessee resident, Charlie Daniels, passed away on Monday, July 6, 2020. Four years earlier, he visited with TCA's Lauren Neale and Charles Hord at his home on the Twin Pines Ranch in middle Tennessee. The feature story ran in the May 2016 issue of the Tennessee Cattle Business magazine. Special thanks to Thurman Mullins, Daniel's farm manager and thoughts to his family and friends.


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“When I think about home, I think about Twin Pines,” says legendary musician and owner of Twin Pines Ranch (TPR), Charlie Daniels. Situated in the rolling hills of Lebanon, Tenn., TPR has become the fulfillment of Daniels’ boyhood dream.



Charlie Daniels on his Twin Pines Ranch by Lauren Neale

FROM DREAM TO REALITY

Charlie was born in 1936 in Wilmington, North Carolina and grew up in a family that farmed tobacco and harvested timber. As a kid, Daniels and his friends would frequent the local theatre to watch the latest cowboy movies. Fascination with stars like Gene Autry and Roy Rogers led to a love of all things Western and a fantasy of owning a ranch.


Daniels’ incredible musical history spans decades. Rooted in country, gospel, rhythm & blues and bluegrass, his song writing and performance flair later helped develop a musical style that became known as Southern Rock. Recognized for his mandolin, guitar and fiddle playing mastery, Daniels and his band are known around the world, still perform concerts and record songs.


But in 1964 living out of a suitcase was already tiresome and no longer an option when Daniels married Hazel. They decided it was time to find a place to put roots down. In 1967, Daniels received an advance on a record deal in Nashville and bought a home in Mt. Juliet, Tenn. As he was becoming more prominent in the music industry, his yearning for ranch ownership grew as well.


While Charlie was on tour, Hazel investigated potential ranches near Nashville. None of the sites were satisfactory until one day when Daniels was home from tour, Hazel mentioned there was one more spot to visit. When they arrived at TPR, then about 51 acres, it became apparent that as soon as Daniels saw the pond, he knew the ranch was the perfect place. What made it even more special was that the land was flat on top of the hill, which meant they could build a home.


HIRING HELP

While Daniels was looking to expand TPR’s land in the mid-1970s, he became friends with then park ranger and Vietnam veteran, Thurman Mullins. Daniels invited Mullins to the property and told him of his dream of owning “horses he could ride and cattle he could rope.” He had a few head of Hereford cattle at the time. Daniels asked Mullins to be the ranch manager and Mullins happily agreed.


Because of their need for roping steers, TPR raised their own Corriente cattle. Mullins and Daniels became early members of the North American Corriente Association and Mullins served on the Board of Directors for several years, including a stint as president. The ranch became involved with roping clinics for the public, jackpot ropings and helped to put on full-scale rodeos. They also sold their Corriente cattle across the country.


To rope cattle, the ranch needed horses. Daniels and Mullins purchased a registered American Quarter Horse mare named Huggie Bear. She had a foal, which they named TP King Bear. He became the ranch’s foundation stallion and his genetics are in the current horse stock.


Daniels also hired Leroy Crawford as head cowboy and has worked for TPR for over 20 years.