Where did the baby name Quisto come from in 1984?

The character Quisto Champion from the TV western/soap opera "The Yellow Rose" (1983-1984).
Quisto from “The Yellow Rose

The curious name Quisto debuted in the U.S. baby name data in the middle of the 1980s:

  • 1986: unlisted
  • 1985: unlisted
  • 1984: 9 baby boys named Quisto [debut]
  • 1983: unlisted
  • 1982: unlisted

While Quisto was only in the data once, it debuted impressively enough to tie for top one-hit wonder boy name of 1984.

Where did it come from?

The short-lived nighttime soap opera/western The Yellow Rose (1983-1984), which was set in West Texas on the sprawling “Yellow Rose” ranch. The ranch had been built by the late Wade Champion, but was now being run by Wade’s young widow Colleen (played by Cybill Shepherd) and his sons Roy and “Quisto” (real name Ramon).

I don’t know how the character acquired his nickname (if anyone out there watched the show and remembers, please leave a comment!), but I can tell you about the cowboy slang term quisto. It refers to a quirt — a woven-leather whip with a short handle and “a lash of three or four heavy, loose thongs.” The word quirt is derived from the Mexican Spanish word cuarta, “whip,” which comes from the Spanish word cuerda, “cord.”

And Quisto wasn’t the only Yellow Rose character to have an impact on baby names. Chance McKenzie — a “lanky, taciturn” ex-convict and ranch-hand played by Sam Elliott — gave the baby name Chance a boost in 1984:

  • 1986: 508 baby boys named Chance [rank: 368th]
  • 1985: 650 baby boys named Chance [rank: 313th]
  • 1984: 880 baby boys named Chance [rank: 249th]
  • 1983: 230 baby boys named Chance [rank: 555th]
  • 1982: 186 baby boys named Chance [rank: 636th]

What are your thoughts on the names Chance and Quisto? Which one would you be more likely to use?


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