Lucas Crutcher shines in the show ring
Lucas Crutcher learned the basics of showing cattle before he was even old enough to step into a kindergarten classroom.
“I started showing bottle calves when I was 4 years old,” Lucas recalled. By age 7, the enthusiastic showman was ready to jump into competitive classes at county fairs.
Now a junior at Fair Grove High School, Lucas’s passion for agriculture continues to develop and lead him down many different avenues. At home, Lucas’s primary responsibility involves caring for the family’s show cattle on their farm, Crutcher Cattle Co., in Fair Grove, Mo. Lucas along with his dad Matt, mom Amanda and sister Ryanne, raise purebred Charolais cattle. Their emphasis is on producing highly competitive show calves.
Lucas appreciates the hard work needed to get his white-haired Charolais heifers show ready.
“The Charolais is a more traditional breed. They are popular right now, but kind of a different type of popular. Not like a fancy steer jock type of calf, like a Maine Anjou or a Simmental, where you can get a bunch of hair on them really quickly in a cooler,” Lucas explained.
It takes more time and elbow grease to get show-quality hair on his Charolais cattle. But that is one of the things Lucas likes about Charolais cattle. “I know everyone works really hard, but it feels good when I win with the cattle from our cow families and to see the hard work pay off,” Lucas said.
The purple banners that line the Crutchers’ show barn walls are a testament to the reward of Lucas’s hard work. Lucas shows his cattle on a local, state and national level. He has attended every Charolais junior national show since the age of 7. His show ring successes with Charolais include several champion titles at the Missouri State Fair, Ozark Empire Fair and fifth overall female at the American International Junior Charolais Association (AIJCA) Junior Nationals.
However, the most memorable achievement for Lucas is winning Reserve Grand Bred and Owned Female at the AIJCA Junior National show.
“That was an even bigger deal to me and Dad, because that was a show calf we had raised. We were really proud of that heifer,” Lucas commented.
Recently, Lucas ventured into showing Angus, Simmental and SimAngus cattle as well, attaining many accomplishments. In addition to many champion titles at county and state shows, Lucas had a Simmental heifer that won Grand Champion Simmental at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. The heifer went on to secure Reserve Division Champion Simmental at the National Western Stock Show.
“We have been extremely lucky with the network of people who have helped us through,” Lucas said.
Though Lucas has also had showring success on the national level with other breeds, Charolais remains his favorite. Crutcher Cattle Co. operates with 25 momma cows. The Crutcher family utilizes embryo transfer to zero in on superior genetics.
“I think embryos are a good deal for us because instead of our cows having one calf a year, they can have three or four calves,” Lucas explained.
At times, the Crutcher family attends production sales to find new genetics to infuse into their herd. Instead of paying a premium price for a heifer or a cow, Lucas prefers to purchase embryos. “It is a lot more cost effective for me to buy the embryo and put it in one of my recip cows,” Lucas said.
During the current pandemic Lucas has discovered a new opportunity to share with others about farming.
“I have had more people start to ask me questions about where their beef comes from because they have seen a reduced amount of meat on the shelves in the past few months. It has given me the chance to help advocate on behalf of the agricultural community,” Lucas explained. Lucas enjoys talking to classmates and other members of the community about what farmers go through to make sure people have the food and products they need.
Lucas balances his farm life with many other activities. He is a starter on the Fair Grove High School football team, Missouri Junior Cattlemens Association Board Region 7 Vice President, Fair Grove FFA Vice President, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Membership Vice President, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) member and Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) member. He has won awards in district and state FFA and FBLA competitions. In 2018, he was a member of a 4-H livestock judging team that represented Missouri at the North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) in Louisville, Ky.
Though Lucas values the hard work, responsibilities and lessons he learns through farm life, he is most grateful that it allows him to spend time with his family.
“Me and my dad are close, me and my mom and me and my sister are really close too, but I spend more time with my dad than I spend with any other person. I am very thankful that my dad helps me do this and that we can do this together,” Lucas reflected.