Marcus Casaus is the winner of the 2023 Heritage Buckle for Sandoval County.

Recipients are chosen by submitting a 200-500 word essay on how they would continue their family’s agriculture heritage to better their community. Applicants must also be age 9-15.

Casaus wrote: “The crows foot ranch was started by me great grandfather Rudy Gutierrez, the father of my grandmother. He originally ran 1,500 sheep in the San Pedro Wildness. The sheep were later converted to cattle in the 1950’s. It came out to be 290 head of cattle being run in the San Pedro Wildness. Before my great grandfather passed away in 1994, he made the ranch a corporation. The share were divided among several family members … My father and I successfully bought the crows foot brand from the corporation and I have been working hard to buy and trade cattle slowly work up the crows foot ranch. I have had a lot of fun doing so because I enjoy the labor and making my grandmother proud of bringing her father’s ranch back from where it was. I now have eight cows with the crows foot brand and hope to continue growing the ranch not only for me but for our future ranchers.”

The Sandoval County Fair at night in Cuba, New Mexico. (Courtesy photo)

Marcos is from Cuba, New Mexico, and is the son of James and Olivia Casaus. He showed lambs and markets steers at this year’s county fair, which wrapped up over the weekend.

The New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association awards the buckles in each county. “We are proud of the essays that our youth exhibited in this year’s contest.  Our youth’s commitment to agriculture and its heritage is amazing and is a proud moment for us to know that traditions along with new ideas will be carried on with passion and purpose,” said Amanda Culbertson, chairman of the NMCGA Promotion and Marketing Committee.

NMCGA President Loren Patterson stated, “The Heritage Buckle program is strong because of the members that step up and support not only the program, but our youth.  We would like to thank all the sponsors and supporters of the program.”

Mossy Oak Realty is the sponsor of the Sandoval County belt presented to Casaus.