Puente fulfills dreams, breaks record in Houston
Stockdale FFA member Jessica Puente proudly stands next to the lamb that earned her the grand champion lamb title at the 2013 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Joining Jessica are her parents, Jan and Mike Puente, and Houston Livestock Show Lamb Judge Scott Greiner of Blacksburg, Va. The lamb fetched a world-record price of $220,000 during the March 9 auction.
HOUSTON -- As thousands of Texas 4-H and FFA members took over Reliant Park to compete for top titles at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, one Stockdale FFA member saw her dreams come true.
Stockdale 4-H member Jessica Puente earned Grand Champion Junior Market Lamb honors March 8, during the 2013 Houston show, considered the world’s largest livestock show. Jessica said winning this award meant so much to her, because of her ties to agriculture.
“Winning grand champion means everything to me,” Jessica said. “I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s so awesome to get an award because showing is good for agriculture, and ag supports me. It allows me to live, breathe, and eat.”
The next day, the grand champion junior market lamb was purchased by the Hildebrand Family, in memory of Ruthe and Dr. Tommy Hildebrand, for $220,000, setting a world record.
Brittany Hildebrand said she is glad her family is able to support others in the name of her grandparents.
“We made a scholarship in memory of my grandmother,” Brittany said. “Then my grandfather passed away recently, so it is mainly to support what they loved to do. We love the rodeo just as much as they did, and this money goes toward a good cause and does amazing things.”
The 16-year-old daughter of Mike and Jan Puente, Jessica hopes to attend Texas A&M University to major in agriculture business or pre-law.
Mike said Jessica’s mother, Jan, served as “Jessica’s guide, partner, and mentor in the whole process.”
“Houston Livestock Show is one of the largest and most prestigious shows one could ever win,” Jan said. “There were 1,271 lambs exhibited at Houston this year. Jessica dreamt of winning this show ever since she stepped foot in the ring for the very first time back in 2005.”
This is Jessica’s first time to earn grand champion status in a major livestock show, Jan said.
Jessica would like to thank Wade Franklin Club Lambs for breeding such an amazing animal.
The Stockdale High School student has had a banner year; this win comes after she won the 2013 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Agriculture Speech competition Feb. 9. Last year, Jessica won the Sheep Skillathon and received a $10,000 scholarship from the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo.