Q&A with Jordan Wisener by Sheila Adams, Lufkin ISD Ex. Dir. Communications

Q: Where are you from? High school, college, any activities you were involved in through high school and/or college?

Even though I was born and raised in Lufkin, TX, I am a graduate of Huntington High School where I competed in Region V High School Rodeo, participated in the FFA, showed animals, and was awarded one of eight seniors who made a difference in 2012. From there I enrolled into Stephen F. Austin State University in the Fall of 2012. I graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Agriculture Development and a Teaching Certification. During my time in college, I got to experience a little bit of the college rodeo life, announced rodeos, worked at a vet clinic, and made some great friendships.

Q: Tell me what inspired you to be a team roper?

David Wisener (Lufkin High School graduate), he was my dad. He rode bulls in High School Rodeo and qualified for the Texas High School State Finals. From there he competed in many bull riding events, built his own rodeo arena (Wisener’s Arena) with the help of his friends, and paid for my hospital bill when I was born after he won a bull riding event. So, it was destined for me to ride bulls. My dad had always pumped me up to get on a calf or steer and I would, but after I’d get home my mom wasn’t very thrilled. My dad also team roped, so he taught my sister and myself to rope the summer after 3rd grade. Hailey and I would have rope offs in the arena to see who would catch the most steers. And ever since, I have always enjoyed the sport. I live on the land where my dad built the arena and it’s actually considered my front yard, so as long as I have the arena, I can’t let it go to waste.

Q: What does a team roper do?

Team ropers have lots of responsibility when it comes to raising and training their horses, practicing, and traveling to events. Team Roping is the only event in rodeo that takes two people, a header and heeler. There are many rodeos to compete in, but also there are team roping jackpots, and team roping sanctioned events where it is only team roping. Team roping is a growing event where women can compete too.

Here is a brief summary of team roping; the header is the one who will nod their head when ready, so that way the gate man can let out the steer. The header will be the first to rope, roping at the head of the steer, where there are three legal catches; 1. around the horns, 2. a half head, and 3. a neck. The header will get a wrap around his/her saddle horn after they catch the head. Then the header will turn the steer giving his/her heeler a good handle to rope the feet. If the heeler only catches one of the two back feet it is a 5 second penalty. Once both ropers face each other and both have a dally around the saddle horn, the judge will drop his flag and the time will stop. Fastest time wins. As a team roper, not only do you need to be a good roper, but you have to have a good horse and a good roping partner to give you a chance at going to the pay window.

Q: Have you always loved horses? What’s the name and breed of your favorite one?

I have always enjoyed being around horses. After you raise and train one yourself it makes the feeling even better. One particular horse I own I call him Cash. He is a seventeen-year-old, black quarter horse gelding. He was born on the ranch my dad worked, out of my dad’s heeling horse on Easter Sunday in 2005. With the help of my dad’s boss, Patti, she helped me get him ready for the Angelina Youth Fair in 2007 as two-year-old. Then as a seventh grader I started to train him under a saddle. I competed on Cash in my junior year of high school. Ever since then we have won a couple of saddles, a few buckles, and I qualified for the World Series of Team Roping held in Vegas back in 2015. Cash and I have had our ups and downs in the roping pen, but my wife says we will own him till he takes his last breath here on Earth.

Q: Have you ever broken a bone?

The only time I have broken a bone was when I was in the first grade. I was penning some roping steers getting ready for our Sunday Rodeo at Wisener’s Arena. Dad was getting the gates and pen ready and I had already headed to the back pasture where the creek was to bring them up. Dad had his horse too, but I wanted to show him I could bring them up myself…a few moments later my big horse named Jake came running back to where my dad and his horse were in the pasture with me dragging on the ground. Going down in the creek a limb took me out of the saddle and my foot became stuck in the stirrup. One thing that I can remember till this day is that my first-grade class made me my own easter egg basket due to not being able to participate in the easter egg hunt.

Q: What do you do for Lufkin High School and how did you get here?

Here at Lufkin High School, I am one of the College Prep Math Teachers helping students get ready for the TSI or helping students get their last math credit. I am in a math department of 20 to 25 teachers. My wife has been teaching for two years at Lufkin High School and has enjoyed being at Lufkin High School. So, I am guessing she was my decoy to see if I would enjoy Lufkin ISD also. She had always wanted me to come work at Lufkin with her so now I am here. With having great administration support, an instructional coach, a team of math teachers, and great students, it helps tremendously being a teacher.

Q: What is your favorite part of being a teacher?

I wouldn’t say I have one favorite part of being a teacher, because there are many perks of being a teacher. But one of my favorite parts of being a teacher is helping students achieve success and being a part of their high school education. Those teachers I remember when I was getting my education meant something to me, they helped me, and encouraged me to get to where I am today. It is my duty to see that I pass that along as well.

Q: Who was one of your favorite teachers/mentors?

This particular teacher was my high school Ag teacher. His name is Larry Joiner. We had our ups and downs, and there were times where we didn’t see eye to eye, but he encouraged me to do my best. When you are in as many FFA related events as I was, you are around your FFA Advisor numerous hours and miles down the road. During those hours and miles, you get to learn a lot if you just listen and pay attention. I consider Mr. Joiner one of my greatest mentors who I still look up to, to this day. He always used to say, “You gotta be tough to be in the Rangers.”

Q: What do you do in your spare time?

Having this new job at Lufkin High School has given me more time to be around rodeo, whether it is announcing rodeos, helping individuals rope or ride, being able to put more time in training horses, and taking care of my place. I also attend church at Bald Hill Baptist and enjoy spending time with my family. I nearly forgot to mention that I am a big sports fan and I love to go support my students in their extracurricular activities. We have already been to the Lufkin Home Football Scrimmage and also got to watch the volleyball girls compete in the new PAC facility. I teach seniors, so I have lots of athletes to support. My dad was always a big Dallas Cowboys fan so I have stayed with that tradition and I look forward to this new season.

Q: Spouse, kids, pets?
I am married to my better half named Shelley Wisener, who again teaches Algebra 1, here at Lufkin High School. We have been married now for three years and counting. We have 6 dogs, two are my outside ranch dogs (Harley and Josie), and the other four are Shorty Jack Russel Terriers that are part of my wife’s breeding business (Dixie-Rose Jack Russels). We have 5 barn cats, 5 horses, and 13 head of roping cattle.
Q: Our theme is Celebrate Lufkin ISD – do you have anything coming up this year that you are going to celebrate?
This is a great year to join Lufkin ISD due to the fact there are many things to celebrate. Whether it’s getting things back to normal from Covid, football season is here, the new middle school being built, new PAC facility, and many different opportunities for students and staff. This year I am going on my 5th year in education and excited about completing this year in my hometown and being a part of my own community here in Lufkin, Texas.