Tristan Barker, livestock scale go all the weigh



Barker uses a dry cut chop saw to cut the 1” square tubing to correct lengths for the structure of the livestock scale. CHASE AND TABETHA BARKER

Barker uses a dry cut chop saw to cut the 1” square tubing to correct lengths for the structure of the livestock scale. CHASE AND TABETHA BARKER

Pleasanton High School junior Tristan Barker has been raising pigs since the seventh grade. So it’s no surprise that when the opportunity arose to enter the Ag Mechanics division of the local stock show, a pig scale was his project of choice.

It was his scale, also referred to as a livestock scale, that earned Barker first place at the Atascosa County Livestock Show, Division V – Livestock Equipment, in January. The same scale also took third place in the San Angelo Ag Mechanics Show and Rodeo on Feb. 6. Three weeks later, it placed third again at the San Antonio Stock Show.

At the ACLS Barker had also showed and placed second, fifth and sixth with his market swine. He made a second trip to San Angelo, Feb. 17-18 where he placed ninth with his York in the livestock show there.

The pigs he raised this year, Frank, Taz and Leroy, are just three of the 12 pigs the Pleasanton FFA member has raised over the last five years. “I will be raising at least three more for my senior year of showing next year,” Barker said. “My younger brother and sister show pigs as well, so there are always pigs to help take care of.”

Barker uses a HVLP spray gun to apply the oil-based enamel paint. CHASE AND TABETHA BARKER

Barker uses a HVLP spray gun to apply the oil-based enamel paint. CHASE AND TABETHA BARKER

Rather than sell his scale at one of the stock shows, Barker chose to keep it to sell locally. It is now for sale on the Texas Show Pigs Facebook group for $900 and will work for any small livestock animals such as lambs, goats and pigs, which can grow to weigh 700 pounds or even more, according to the National Geographic Kids website, kids.nationalgeographic.com.

In addition to its electronic screen and Fordtractor blue paint job, the scale has a plug and built-in battery so it can be charged, but is also portable. It is sturdy and built to last, but is light enough that just two people can load and unload it.

The construction of his scale is not the only building experience Barker has on his resume. He shared that previously, he raised his pigs in the Pleasanton Ag Barn, but this year his family built a show barn at their home. So it’s fitting that Barker’s posthigh school plans include attending college for mechanical engineering.

Barker wires the junction box that connects the load cells on the bottom of the scale to the digital display on top. CHASE AND TABETHA BARKER

Barker wires the junction box that connects the load cells on the bottom of the scale to the digital display on top. CHASE AND TABETHA BARKER

With his talents and achievements thus far, plus all he will accomplish his senior year, there is no doubt he has a successful future awaiting him. To anyone who has an idea or desire to try something new, Barker offers this advice, “Quit thinking about what you want to do and go ahead and get it done.”

Barker is MIG welding the wire mesh floor to the scale. CHASE AND TABETHA BARKER

Barker is MIG welding the wire mesh floor to the scale. CHASE AND TABETHA BARKER

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