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Holbrook family crowns third-generation King Citrus, first Queen Citrianna

History arrived at the Texas Citrus Fiesta coronation Thursday evening as Russon Holbrook became the third generation of his family crowned as King Citrus. His daughter, Elle, also made history after winning the title of Queen Citrianna LXXXVIII.

“It’s fantastic, but it’s also humbling,” said Russon Holbrook after he’d received the crown. “There are many great men who have come before me that have been great contributors to the citrus industry in south Texas.”

With family roots in the citrus industry and row crop farming, Russon’s understanding of Texas Citrus Fiesta was a family affair. Each of his three sisters served as the Duchess of Rio Red Grapefruit, with one serving as Princess Anna in 1990, another as Princess of Lime Blossom, and later Princess of Orange Blossom.

The 45-year-old Mission native first participated in TCF at six years old, volunteering as the royal crown bearer. The crown he held those years ago foreshadowed the role he would take in the future.

His grandfather and father, Don and Dennis Holbrook, are former King Citrus crown holders.

“My grandfather was king [in] 1965, my dad was King Citrus [in]1985, and now I became [king] this year,” said Russon.

In 2014, after 12 years of working in finance and investment, he sought a career change and returned to the Rio Grande Valley to work with his dad, Dennis, at South Tex Organics, a company 40 years in the making.

Not only did Russon continue a family tradition as King Citrus LXXXVII, but so did his daughter, Elle Holbrook, earning the title of Queen Citrianna LXXXVIII at the end of the night.

(From left to right) Russon and Elle Holbrook stand together inside the Mission Event Center on January 25, 2024. Photo by Alexander Austin.

In tears, Elle accepted her bouquet alongside her royal court, embracing her dad and family. She is the first Queen Citrianna after three generations of Holbrook men taking the crown.

“I’m so grateful to be the first Queen Citrianna in my family after our long history,” she said.

In the past, family members have served one after the other on the Royal or Tangerine Courts, such as the Flowers family, with Jud Flowers as King Citrus in 2004 and his daughter, Summer, becoming Queen Citrianna just two years later.

But the Holbrooks are the first father-daughter duo announced as royalty on the same night, a surprise for Texas Citrus Fiesta history.

“I couldn’t be happier or more proud for her and of her,” Russon said. “She’s put in a lot of work to prepare herself, to represent herself, and she’s a wonderful young lady.”

He continued, occasionally glancing at his daughter speaking with family by the catwalk.

“I had no part in her success tonight. I was just a supportive dad, and I love her. I’m proud of her. And I look forward to supporting her when she serves her reign in time.”

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