Road to the county fair: Sibling contrasts balance out
June 10, 2016
The case and mat for Jordan Halley's 4-H gun — a .22 — are pink camouflage.
Their color is the reason she likes shooting, but rather than showing her excitement like she does for everything else, she whispered her reason.
Big brother Cole, 11, was calm and to-the-point when he said it's only regular camo on his shotgun gear.
Jordan is in her first year of 4-H. Cole is starting his third.
From Jordan's outgoing chatter to the way Cole is a little more reserved, the two contrast one another. When they're working with their livestock in Kersey to prepare for the Weld County Fair in July those differences just make the other stronger.
Sometimes Jordan will start to talk and big brother Cole will cut in and finish a comment. Other times, it's reversed. There's no sign of irritation when one takes over the conversation — the other just listens.
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Since it's summer vacation, Jordan and Cole spend 6-8 hours a day training for their various 4-H events and working with their sheep and goats, each playing up their strengths.
Mom and Dad — Gail and Alan Halley — help, but the goats Jordan takes care of from start to finish.
"He's done most of my sheep work," Jordan said.
But Cole was quick to add, "She's done most of my goat work."
While her big brother takes care of the sheep work, Jordan has a special connection to the ones the family raises.
"I like seeing them come out and see the world for the first time," Jordan said.
She also tells all of them the same message.
"I say, 'Welcome to the world, little one,'" she said.
It takes two to get through the preparation, and neither of them can prepare without the other.
At the end of the day, the lambs are Cole's main livestock. Jordan has her goats. It's Jordan's first year in 4-H and Cole's first time showing goats. But if little sis can do it he can too, right?
The smaller animals are an adjustment, though. Cole's Boer goat, Big, is about elbow-height, which means Cole has some trouble setting him.
"Goats are for short people," Cole said.
"Like me," Jordan said with pride.
But if anyone can understand height difference with livestock, it's Jordan. Even though Jordan said she was the tallest in her second grade class, she still needed to extend one of her arms as far as it could stretch to show tall her heifer is. The two were supposed to show cattle as well, but Jordan's height difference and the extra work required was too taxing.
The duo doesn't stick to livestock, though. The siblings also shoot — Jordan with a .22 and Cole a shotgun. Cole shot his first clay pigeon with the shotgun a few weeks ago and already has his sights on a "bigger, stronger gun." Gail laughed and told him his is big enough.
Jordan, on the other hand, had her first lesson of the season with the .22 only Tuesday, scoring a 40 of a possible 400 on one paper. The little girl puffed up with pride when she recalled the number.
But Jordan's favorite 4-H activity is sewing. Her eyes widened when she talked about the old-fashioned skirt she showed last year. She plans to enter a bag and a different skirt this year.
Jordan, whose purple nails and rainbow tennis shoes stood out against the dirt of the family's yard, has long blonde hair that her goats sometimes confuse for food. Her favorite color is — naturally — pink.
"If you've ever watched "Grease," I'm a pink lady," she said.
One of Cole's other 4-H activities is rocketry. He's interested in space, and that carries into his love for the "Star Trek" franchise
Some of his sheep were named after main characters of one of his favorite television and movie series, Kirk and Spock are only two of the names, but if you give him a little time, he can tell you which movies and series to watch, trivia, favorite episodes and lines throughout the "Star Trek" universe.
"I'm a bit of a nerd," he said, which surprised Gail.
Jordan, on the other hand is more into "Clueless" and "Revenge of the Bridesmaids."
But the siblings don't hold it against one another, and the goats and sheep don't care about the kids' taste in movies. ❖
Samantha Fox is a reporter and designer for The Fence Post. She will be following Weld County 4-H participants through their preparation and competition results at the 2016 Weld County Fair. Reach Samantha at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with her at @FoxonaFarm on Twitter.