A foot in the door: Crump Red Angus gives away a heifer every year

Ruth Nicolaus
for Tri-State Livestock News
Riley Lutts, of Baker Montana, was the winner of the Crump Red Angus heifer raffle in 2017. The twelve year old bred his heifer last year; she is expected to calve within the week. Photo courtesy Erin Lutts.

There’s a reason the kids show up at the Crump Red Angus sale, and it’s not totally because of the cotton candy.

At their annual bull sale, Jesse and Charity Crump of Arvada, Wyo., give away a heifer to one lucky young cowboy or cowgirl.

The husband-wife team began the giveaway four years ago, giving each kid ages five to eighteen at the sale a ticket, and drawing for the winner at the end of the sale.

It’s the brainchild of Jesse, said Charity, to give kids “a foot in the door of agriculture.”

“We don’t care if they leave it at the sale barn and sell it the next week. Whatever works for their family.” Charity Crump

She adds, “It’s not to be a burden to the parents.”

There are no strings attached to the heifer: the Crumps put absolutely no restrictions on what the youth does with the animal. “We don’t care if they leave it at the sale barn and sell it the next week. Whatever works for their family,” Charity said.

Getting into ag wasn’t easy for the couple. “We had a hard time,” Charity remembers. “A lot of time you can get a loan for the land and or the cows but you can’t make a payment on both. If we can help kids get a start at a young age, build a small herd from this gift, they can pay for college or have some equity to purchase a piece of property.”

The heifer recipients in 2015, 2016 and 2017 have all kept their heifer; one of them showed her at a county fair and all three have bred them.

The 2015 raffle winner was Dane Hansen of Sheridan, Wyo.; the 2016 winner was Kade Benton, Buffalo, Wyo., last year’s winner was Riley Lutts of Baker, Mont., and this year, the Crumps gave away two heifers, to Kaden Miller of Rozet, Wyo., and Wynn West, Sheridan, Wyo.

When Kade Benton won his heifer in 2016, he already had four cows in his herd at home. The eleven-year-old was surprised when his raffle ticket number was called, but he didn’t move. “He looked around and didn’t say anything,” his mom Jackie said. “It was crickets in the sale barn, waiting for the kid (to identify himself.) They called his number again and he said, ‘Mom, I think I won.’ Then he jumped up and ran down there.”

The Bentons own a black Angus herd, but Kade has started his herd of Red Angus, because of Ruby, his heifer. “He bought another red heifer, and she had a red calf. He’s got his own herd in the middle of our black herd. You can pick them out,” his mom said.

Kade and his older brother Kale have a business, KNK Livestock, with their cattle, club lambs and show steers. The brothers have a bank account and pay their quarterly feed bills and other expenses. “Winning a heifer was pretty important,” Jackie said. “He realized what it was worth. Kade has always wanted red cows, and he was over the moon excited. Now he’s trying to make his own little red herd.”

Riley Lutts, who lives in Baker, Mont., won the heifer in 2017. The heifer, named Chris, will calve any day now and an ultrasound revealed that she will have a heifer.

Lutts has attended all six of the Crump sales, along with his dad, Roy, who usually travels with auctioneer Seth Weishaar, a college friend of Roy’s. Riley will keep growing his herd, his dad said. Chris is the first cow Riley has owned. His mom is Erin Lutts.

The Crumps, who have been married fourteen years, ran 600 to 800 yearlings before they began their registered Red Angus herd. Their experience with a variety of genetic combinations caused them to believe that the Red Angus breed was the best. Animals with Red Angus influence “performed better for us,” Charity said. “They gained better, had better dispositions and we didn’t doctor as many. When we had the chance to move into the cow/calf sector, that’s why we went into Red Angus.”

They started ten years ago with twenty head and now have 250 commercial and 300 registered cattle. One of their biggest moves with their herd was purchasing the Paint Rock Angus herd, owned by Martin Mercer of Hyattville, Wyo. “Martin is an outstanding cattleman and his herd had a thirty-year program behind them,” Charity said.”

At first, people questioned the couple’s youth and inexperience, especially when they held their first bull sale six years ago. “There were seventy year olds purchasing from us, and one of their biggest questions was, how can the herd of someone so young and new in the business benefit mine?” Charity said. “With Martin’s herd, we added a herd that was backed by a thirty-year program. It really helped us and moved us forward quickly.”

When the Crump children turn ten, their birthday present is a heifer calf chosen from the registered herd. Their children: sons John David (12), Carter (10), Titus (8) and twin daughters Willow and Echo (7) are involved with and interested in cattle. At bull sales, the kids would pick the top selling bulls, and “we’d have a $10 bet about it,” Jesse said.

Adults at the Crump sale are entered in raffles, too, for gifts such as dart guns and vaccination coolers, and this year, at their sale on February 17, the Crumps gave away cotton candy. They like to see the kids at the sale. “It’s always been fun to see the kids there,” Jesse said. The raffle is a way to “reward them and give them incentive into looking into our program.”

Jesse’s goal is to give away a pot load (about ninety heifers). He’s a visionary, Charity says. “That’s why we’re successful. He’s not confined by rules and he always thinks outside the box.”

Jesse loves the heifer raffle. The kids, he says, “will never forget it. It’ll leave a lifelong impression.”