Crago Cattle Co. Named AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder of the Year

South Dakota family honors its ranching heritage with a national award.

The American Quarter Horse Association

Clete and Kristy Schmidt aboard homebred Crago American Quarter Horses.

Crago Cattle Co. of Belle Fourche, South Dakota, has been named the 2017 AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder of the Year. The award, which is presented by the American Quarter Horse Association and the AQHA Ranching Committee, recognizes the Ranching Heritage Breeders who continue to uphold the ranching tradition.


Crago Cattle Co. is operated by the Crago family, which is headed by Margaret Crago and her sons Bruce and Ralph. They are joined by Ralph’s wife, Becky, and his daughter Kristy Schmidt and her husband, Clete; and Bruce’s son, Colby and his wife, Tanya.


The Cragos ranch land that was first settled by their family in 1887. They currently oversee a 1,200-head cow-calf operation, another 700 head in the feedlot and 1,200 head of stockers. They also keep 400 head of sheep and raise about 2,000 acres of hay.


Ranching Heritage Breeders since 2012, the Cragos have bred good American Quarter Horses for more than 60 years. Their horses are not only quality ranch horses, but also successful in the show pen, rodeo arena and in Zoetis AQHA Ranching Heritage Challenges.


“We congratulate the Crago family for their dedication to the ranching industry,” said AQHA Director of Ranching Kim Lindsey. “They are well-known for the quality of their livestock and their ranch horses, and we believe they are excellent representatives of the spirit of Ranching Heritage Breeders.”


This award is open only to Ranching Heritage Breeders who exemplify the ranching lifestyle. Ranching Heritage Breeders are working cattle ranches ranches that produce five or more registered American Quarter Horses each year for ranch work. Nominees for the award are chosen by their peers, with final voting done by the AQHA Ranching Committee.


The 2017 Ranching Heritage Breeder of the Year award will be formally presented to Crago Cattle Co. at the 2018 AQHA Convention in Jacksonville, Florida. The Cragos will receive a custom-designed buckle from AQHA’s Awards Recognition Concepts to mark the achievement. For more information on the AQHA convention, visit


To learn more about the AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders program, visit  


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