• Wanda Shanks | Season 2 | Episode 11

March 05, 2018 1 Comment

Wanda Shanks is a FarmHer with a passion for life.  At 84 years young, this lifelong FarmHer spends her days pursuing her passions and chasing her dreams.  Wanda grew up on a farm in Tennessee, working with her family everyday. She married her husband Walter and together they raised cattle and put up hay.  Walter was the superintendent of the local school district and Wanda worked in administration. They had three sons and taught their boys the value of hard work, raising them on the farm.  Her sons excelled at sports, Wanda often leading the boys in games of basketball there on the farm. The boys grew up to become successful educators and coaches themselves, with her oldest, Wayne even coaching a state champion basketball team.

Just over twenty years ago, Wanda’s husband passed away unexpectedly one morning as the couple was driving to church.  His heart gave out. In the aftermath, as her sons wondered if she should keep the cattle, but Wanda wouldn’t hear of selling them off.  She learned how to do all of the necessary animal husbandry herself, even castrating calves through her own patented process if needed.

In addition to farming, Wanda has never given up her love of sports and a number of years ago decided to get a team of ladies together to play basketball.  In true Wanda fashion, they didn’t just stop with a few pickup games at home, but worked together, with Wayne as their coach to eventually become the National Senior Games over 80 basketball champions.  Yes, that’s right a team of women over the age of 80, tearing up the court!

On the day I caught up with Wanda (and I really mean caught up - Wanda doesn’t stop) she was ready for a day of work at the farm, some fellowship with her community and a basketball practice all on the lineup.  We started out moving hay, and then went on to feed the cattle. From there Wanda and Wayne, her oldest son who is working to care for the farm with her, castrated a brand new calf. When the dirty work for the day was done, Wanda headed inside to clean up a bit and then took off down the road to go to the monthly birthday lunch at the Buffalo Center community center.  Wanda’s friends and neighbors gather at the former school monthly to celebrate anybody who has a birthday, and this celebration was a little more special; shining the light on Wanda, the national basketball champ. As this spunky FarmHer proudly showed off her medals and enjoyed the fellowship of her family and friends, it was clear that her community is part of who she is.  

From lunch we took off back down the road, headed to church and a group of ladies who were waiting for Wanda to practice their sport.  I watched as this group of strong and supportive women worked together on the court and was absolutely amazed. It’s been quite a few years since I had played back in high school, but Wanda’s enthusiasm was catching and I had to don some shorts and tennis shoes so Wanda could give me a few tips, followed by a game of COW, which of course, she handily won.

My day with Wanda was a special one, that won’t soon be forgotten. She has a zest for life and refuses to let any hurdles become barriers.  She moves through her farm work, and up and down the basketball court with a sense of strength, a spirit that can’t be beat and the energy of someone a third of her age.  Wanda cares deeply for her family and for her community, both leaning on them in times of need, and holding them up when she can, and always leading by example. She cuts a path and leaves a trail behind her, shining bright on her journey through life.

Wanda's episode can be watch at 9:30/8:30 pm ET only on RFD-TV. Watch web clips here.  

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March 09, 2018


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