Bermuda King was born in the late 1950’s in Willard Duffy’s barn near Okarche, Oklahoma. Willard was working for the Okarche Grass Company and needed an automatic grass-sprigging machine. At that time, the only spriggers (planters) available were hand-fed and did not operate smoothly. Willard got busy and designed the first machine that automatically planted sprigs. A neighbor saw the machine and wanted to buy it. Willard sold it to him then built another; and sold it. A business was born.
Full production of harvesters and planters began in 1965. Willard’s wife ran the office and his four children helped in one way or another. In 1968, Willard hired Louis Klingsick who continued to work for Bermuda King until his passing in January 2001. Current employees, Jim Gray, Glenn Gray, and Allen Glaser were also hired by Willard and combine for over 60 years experience in building and operating Bermuda King harvesters and planters.
By 1972, Bermuda King had become one of Kingfisher County’s prize businesses for worldwide sales, posting $1 million. Willard continued to operate Bermuda King at the same location into the 90’s at which point his health began to fail. He decided to sell his Bermuda King business. Richard Reynolds, a Kingfisher real estate agent, was contacted to sell the properties. After little success selling the business, Willard, a man of action, said, “Richard, why don’t you buy it?"
On November 1, 1993, Richard Reynolds became the new owner of Bermuda King. Willard passed away soon after and his gravestone tells the story of Bermuda King. He was very proud to have made a lasting contribution to conservation around the world.
Since 1993, Bermuda King has developed three new machines that have greatly expanded its ability to meet customer’s needs. In 1994, the Road Ready Harvester was invented and patented. By making a simple adjustment to the elevator, this machine can be changed from a traveling position to an operating position – especially helpful for the commercial operator who needs to move from field to field. In 1996, Bermuda King began manufacturing a Fairway Planter, which has been especially useful for planting golf course fairways because it leaves the ground surface fairly undisturbed so that the courses can be used immediately after planting. Constantly looking for ways to improve it’s line of equipment, Bermuda King produced a No-Till Row Planter in 2001. This met another special need of customers by allowing them to plant sprigs in existing vegetation.
In September 1999, Bermuda King moved its entire operations seven miles north to Kingfisher. This move greatly improved the workplace and the efficiency of operations. Bermuda King has produced machines not only for farmers, but also for sod producers, golf course construction companies, athletic field superintendents, reclamation project managers, mint growers, and flower bulb growers.
Richard Reynolds sold the company to current owners, Brian and Brent Henderson in 2002. Bringing a fresh new outlook to Bermuda King, they continue to serve the customer just as Willard did more than half of a century ago.
Bermuda King has a strong presence in the Mid-south and Southeastern region of the United States, but is not limited there. Many other countries, such as Australia, Brazil, Fiji Islands, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Spain, South Africa, Venezuela, and Zambia have purchased Bermuda King harvesters and planters. With the development of more cold-tolerant Bermuda grasses, Bermuda King is looking to increase sales in the Mid-Western and Mid-Eastern states.
Bermuda King continues to manufacture high quality reliable planters and harvesters that are easy to operate. The future of Bermuda King looks bright and their staff is eager to be of service to you and your Bermuda grass planting and harvesting needs.