by John Unrein
Grant Ward is a junior at Grain Valley High School balancing a hectic schedule. Ward is a 5’ 11” 210 pound defensive lineman on the Eagles black shirt defense whose season highlights include a tackle for loss. Ward also manages his hybrid learning as a student athlete to coincide with the work he does in the show barn at Valley Oaks Angus Farms. What might seem like too much for most teenagers is a labor of love for Ward, as he genuinely enjoys trying to excel at academics, football, and showing cattle.
The headquarters for Valley Oaks lies on 700 acres between Grain Valley and Oak Grove. This location is home to 150 registered cattle as well as Valley Oaks show cattle.
Grant Ward identifies himself as one of the Ward family grandchildren who proudly works with the red shirt Angus show herd. Angus cattle have notable popularity in the United States. The breed’s desirable characteristics include being described by farmers as low maintenance, having a docile nature, marbling (measure of quality), and a reputation for calving ease.
“My work includes traveling with our show cattle around the state and competing at shows. The best cattle we show are ‘pretty,’ meaning they conform well to breed standards,” Ward said.
Ward was not shy in crediting his family for allowing him to participate in everything he would like while trying to stay on top of his schoolwork.
“I get to pack a lot of living into being just 17 years old. My mom is a big help. Between making sure I get my homework done, to getting me places on time, she’s on top of all that stuff,” Ward said.
Ward was all smiles following the Eagles Class 5 District Championship win over Raytown. Grain Valley defensive line coach Eric Stone gathered his position group to pose for a picture in front the scoreboard following the contest.
Ward kept it uncomplicated in sharing what he enjoys most about football.
“I enjoy getting to hang out with my buddies. Playing defense in football allows me to hit people and you can’t do that too many other places.”