Feathers fly at rodeo: Sophomore breaks world record, plans for future

Andy Ramirez

It is no secret that the rodeo culture is still very much alive and well, especially in Texas. With youth moving toward a technical society, students who still take an active part in these agricultural activities are harder to come by. However, Sophomore Tristen Sisson participates in showing livestock, and he recently added an impressive win to his record of achievements by breaking the record for the top sale of turkeys at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. With an astounding $110,000 sale, Tristen topped the previous record by more than $4,000.

“I was pretty shocked,” Tristen said. “Everybody was pretty shocked in the whole room. I didn’t know what to say to the buyers. I just kind of gave the [buyer] a hug, and we were both just standing there in shock.”

According to Tristen, investing so much into a particular project is important in order to be successful. He said that it is unrealistic to think that such a large return can be achieved with so little invested into it.

“Over the years I’ve probably invested around $8,000,” Tristen said. “Paying for all the feed and making the housing for them [was the hardest part]. Overall, you’re going to have to put effort into it it, don’t just be lazy. You have to try hard and focus on things.”

Although there is a significant cost involved, there are also significant yields, as well as some interesting moments in between.

“One time I was holding a turkey upside down, and I [let go of] one leg, and she started to flap and just slapped me in the face with her wings and ran off,” Tristen said, “[Also] in the county show, I was holding my ring up in the air, and the turkey was following me and she bit it and threw it 20 feet, it was funny.”

No matter how much planning and preparation is involved, the actual competition will always be a little scary.

“It was very intriguing,” Tristen said, “The judges try to trick you a lot, and make you think that you’re either last or you’re first. It makes you think.”

According to his teachers, the skills he has learned showing animals are helping him throughout his life.

“He is driven, so if he puts his mind to it, he is going to accomplish it and stick with it,” Teacher Amy Bruner said. “I think that that is probably the biggest asset right there.”

When it comes down to it, those who know Tristen say that his people skills and great personality are what matters most about him.

“He is a good kid,” Bruner said. “That is pretty much all it boils down to.”

With this new encouragement to do well again next year, Tristen has already made plans to compete again for as long as he can, and even plans on taking on different challenges.

“I plan on doing it for 2 more years, until I turn 18.” Tristen said. “I’m going to do turkey’s again, and also do chickens next year.”

Despite the intensity of the actual competition, Tristen says he has enjoyed the experience overall.

“I probably wouldn’t want to change anything.” Tristen said. “[The experience] helps me get a lot of money for college, and it’s easy.”