story by Ruth Nicolaus After her first semester of Nebraska Junior High School Rodeo, Charli Coats is loving it. The Juniata, Neb. cowgirl just started […]
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Meet the Member Tristan Hunter
story by Ruth Nicolaus
Tristan Hunter is his dad’s right hand man.
The thirteen year old cowboy lives on the family ranch near Ardmore, S.D., just five miles from the Nebraska border, and works alongside his dad on their ranch.
He’s also a member of the Nebraska Junior High School Rodeo Association, where he competes as a tie-down roper, team roper (heeling for Wacey Flack) and ribbon roper (roping for Fayth From.)
He will be a freshman at Sioux County (Neb.) High School this fall. During his junior high years he played football and basketball and was active in 4-H, showing horses, cattle, and pigs.
But this summer, he’s working alongside his dad, taking care of their herd of mama cows and yearlings. He can be found fixing fence, driving tractor, raking hay, baling, windrowing, roping and doctoring calves, and irrigating. And if that wasn’t enough, his granddad owns the sale barn in Crawford, Neb., so if it’s a big sale day, Tristan heads over there to help sort and pen cattle. He’s gained quite an eye for cattle; often his 4-H club will guess their value as they go through the sale barn.
Tristan is a good worker. When he was eight years old, he was responsible and mature enough to be by himself in the hayfield running the rake. And when it’s branding time and the neighbors call asking for help, they tell Ross and Trisha, his parents, that if they can’t be there, go ahead and send Tristan. “If you can’t make it, that’s fine,” the neighbors say. “Just send Tristan.”
Trisha appreciates how hard he works and how kind-hearted he is. “He’s really good at helping with the younger kids,” she said. He’s friendly, too. “He doesn’t know a stranger. He’ll walk up to anybody and shake their hand and start visiting with them.” He can do a man’s job. “He can run a Bobcat and stack bales of hay better than most adults, including me,” she said. The time spent in the saddle and around cattle has made him a very good horseman and cattleman.
When he grows up, Tristan plans on attending Casper (Wyo.) College and being on their livestock judging and rodeo teams. After college, he would like to come back to the family ranch and help run it.
He has a younger brother, Jack, and a younger sister, Ashley.