By Lois Tomazewski

COLUMBIA CITY — No one will argue with the statement that the Whitley County 4-H Fair creates memories. And for Jordan Craft, a rising sixth grader and 4-H member, the 2019 fair provided a life-time memory, thanks to his goat Mystic.

Jordan is the son of Robert and Kimberly Craft. They live in Monroe Township. Jordan attends Pierceton schools, a part of Whitko Community Schools.

This was Jordan’s first year as a 4-Her, his mother said. It was also a successful fair in that Jordan and Mystic, a junior doe, won best in show and showmanship honors.

“One of my best friends did it last year and it seemed like he had a lot of fun so I wanted to do it with him,” Jordan said. Four of his friends competed this year, showing different animals.

As a member of the Cleveland Showmen and Goat Club, Jordan spent his inaugural year in 4-H learning how to take care of and train his goat. A junior doe is described as a kid goat under 3 months of age.

“Goats seemed like an easy thing to start with since I was beginning and Mystic seemed like a good goat to show,” Jordan explained.

According to 4-H guidelines, livestock is judged on criteria associated with their age, breed and purpose, such as meat or dairy. Showmanship refers to how the handler presents the goat to the judges, whether he or she maintains control and the attention to detail demonstrated in grooming and the presentation of the animal.

One key to accomplishing showmanship was for Jordan to develop a bond with Mystic. Her traits of being “very lovable and loyal,” as Jordan describes her, made that possible.

His parents saw him changing along the way, too.

“I could see him forming this bond with her and he was starting to take more responsibility with things at home as well as with his goats,” Kimberly said.

Jordan identified his challenges this year as training Mystic to walk beside him in the show ring and the time and effort it took to groom her for the show. Those efforts paid off. Jordan earned a champion title and then won Grand Champion, Best in Show.

His mother reflected on Jordan’s first year in 4-H.

“It was challenging for him yet amazing in the end,” she said. “He worked hard and winning like he did was a great life lesson that hard work pays off in the end.”

The end results of this experience were a surprise to Jordan.

“I was very amazed because I thought the girl next to me won champion, but then he walked up to me saying I had won it and I was excited and got a little emotional cause I worked so hard,” Jordan recalled. “Then when I won Grand Champion, Best In Show I was really excited because I won a plaque, chair and all kinds of ribbons.”

The success of Jordan’s first 4-H experience left his parents more than a little surprised.

“We were surprised because we just wanted him to have fun and enjoy having this experience with some of his friend,” Kimberly said. “When he won and not only had shock on his face, but got emotional, it made us realize this is what 4-H is all about. Seeing these kids get to experience their hard work paying off is everything and more.”

Mystic and Jordan will return to the fairgrounds next year as Jordan continues in his 4-H journey.

Jordan’s other interests include art.

“He loves to draw and if he has any free time that’s usually what he will do,” she said. “He’s really into computers and is part of the Jr Tech Team at his school. He also is on the archery team.”