Village News Reporter
The Critz twins obtained the two highest market beef awards at the San Diego County Fair's market livestock show.
Clayton Critz raised the supreme grand champion steer. Landon Critz raised the supreme reserve champion. The Critz twins are members of Fallbrook High School's Future Farmers of America chapter and completed their junior year at Fallbrook High School in June.
"Very proud and very shocked, and I'm surprised and very thankful for the people who helped me," Clayton Critz said.
"It was nice," Landon Critz said.
Clayton Critz raised a Maine cross he named Cabo. Cabo was acquired from Trimbach Show Cattle, which is in the southwestern Ohio town of Franklin, and was 16 months old during the county fair. Cabo weighed 1,307 pounds on the fair scales.
Landon Critz had two steers at the market livestock show. Both were 16 months old and Charolais crosses. Turbo 1 was bred by Sousa Show Cattle, which is in the Merced County town of Hilmar, and weighed 1,208 pounds. Turbo 2 weighed 1,093 pounds and was obtained from Lautner Farms in Adel, Iowa, which is about 25 miles west of Des Moines.
Fallbrook FFA exhibitors took first place in all five FFA market beef weight classes. Cabo placed first in the weight class for steers from 1,286 to 1,338 pounds. Turbo 2 was the champion for the class from 1,047 to 1,093 pounds. Turbo 1 was the top FFA steer between 1,208 and 1,268 pounds. Mallory Sehnert raised Stoney LaRue, who placed first among steers from 1,356 to 1,402 pounds. The weight class for steers between 1,146 and 1,193 pounds was won by Blaze, who was raised by Jezabella Uribe.
"I was very proud and I felt very excited because I knew from there he would have done pretty well, and I was extremely relieved that the judge liked him," Clayton Critz said of Cabo winning his weight class.
Based on past shows Landon Critz expected Turbo 1, his white steer, to do well, but didn't have as high expectations for Turbo 2. "With my brown steer I was kind of shocked," he said.
The FFA weight class champions and reserve champions then compete for FFA grand champion and FFA reserve champion. Cabo gave Clayton Critz the FFA grand champion distinction while Turbo 1 was chosen as the FFA reserve champion to give Landon Critz that banner.
"I felt really good," Clayton Critz said.
"It was good because then I got to compete with my brother," Landon Critz said.
The FFA grand champion and reserve champion, the 4-H grand champion and reserve champion, the Grange grand champion and reserve champion, and the independent grand champion and reserve champion compete in the championship drive for supreme grand champion and supreme reserve champion. This year's champion drive took place June 22.
"I was thinking this is kind of unreal," Clayton Critz said of being in the champion drive. "I felt very, very nervous because I wasn't sure how I would do."
The Critz twins are the middle of four sons. Last year, Landon Critz also showed against one of his brothers in the champion drive; Landon Critz raised a 1,306-pound steer who was selected as the 2022 FFA grand champion while Dustin Critz, the youngest of the four sons, was the independent champion. Kiara Konyn of 56 Ranchers 4-H raised last year's supreme grand champion steer while a steer raised by Ethan Rockwell of Valley Center 4-H was the 2022 supreme reserve champion.
This year, the champion drive had five steers. Konyn raised a 1,236-pound steer which was the 4-H grand champion. Valley Center 4-H member Christine White and her 1,081-pound steer received 4-H reserve champion designation. Jeweleighann Diaz had the only independent steer, which weighed 1,432 pounds, at this year's market livestock show and no Grange member showed a steer.
The judges handed Clayton Critz this year's supreme grand champion banner. "It feels good to enjoy the win with my brother and my friends," he said. "I'm very proud and I put in a whole bunch of work every single day."
Landon Critz was given the banner for supreme reserve champion. "I thought it was good," he said. "It was nice, but I kind of knew how I was going to do because I've shown around these steers all over."
The twins were born May 25, 2006. The family moved from Vista to Fallbrook four years ago. The twins began showing animals when they were 9 and were in 56 Ranchers 4-H before becoming Fallbrook FFA members.
Their father, Robert, moved to Vista from Durango, Colorado, during his childhood. Robert Critz was in Durango 4-H before becoming a member of Vista High School's FFA chapter. Their mother, Kasey, is originally from Lake Elsinore and was in Elsinore High School's FFA chapter.
The market livestock auction occurred June 24. Cabo was purchased by Chicken Charlie's, which has a significant presence at fair booths and a year-round restaurant in the Rancho Bernardo area of San Diego, for $20 per pound. Ultra Cal, which is in Valley Center, purchased Turbo 1 for $9 per pound.
A junior livestock exhibitor can only sell one large animal at auction (although if the same person earns more than one organization grand or reserve champion award, both animals are taken to the auction block); two buyers collaborated to purchase Turbo 2 for $5 per pound.