Dave and Sheila Crittall had many words to describe their feelings upon winning the Cattleman of the Year Award at the Lloydminster Stockade Roundup Oct. 31.
“Humbled, honoured, floored, aghast, shocked,” said Sheila. “There are many, many, many deserving people in this area. It’s truly an honour to be included among them.”
Kelly Sidoryk, a journalist who introduced the couple, said their greatest accomplishment, besides raising a family and running a ranch, is their store, Paradise Hill Farm Supply.
“People commented on how Paradise Hill Farm Supply is so much more than a store to buy goods at. The advice dispensed by both Dave and Sheila goes far beyond expectation,” said Sidoryk.
The store opened in 1974, when Dave’s dreams of running a ranch were on temporary hold. The couple started a business that would become more popular than either expected.
“I wanted something that was mine that I was working for. Everything was a challenge. It wasn’t easy to borrow money,” said Dave.
The harder he worked, the larger the business grew. Now they have customers coming from all over Sask-atchewan and Alberta, and Dave said it’s all because of the customers.
The Crittalls didn’t expect to get into the fertilizer business, but when a salesperson asked if they would sell his product, Dave agreed. That led to the opening of a state-of-the-art bulk fertilizer plant.
In 1988, tired of working 18-hour days, they sold the fertilizer business and bought their first herd of cattle.
The Crittalls have a love of livestock, but despite the jokes made during the presentation, Dave is not an Appaloosa fan. He is a cattle and horse kind of person, while Sheila, he claimed, has less discretion.
“Sheila likes anything that’s got four legs. It doesn’t matter if it’s a cat, sheep, cow or horse. Well, even chickens and they only have two legs,” he said.
Dave ranched near High River, Alta., before opening the farm supply business but discovered the woes of transport costs. When he decided to put his 96 head in the feedlot, barley prices shot up and he lost more than $18,000.
“It was a real learning experience. It was tough to get out of that. I worked hard to pay it off as fast as I could,” Dave said.
The couple plans to sell Paradise Hill Farm Supply so they can travel and continue to enjoy life.