The night the Phelps family was contacted to inform them Wayne had been selected for induction into the Hall of Fame his wife stated he was still out plowing. Not bad for someone who had turned 90 years old just months earlier, and he has no plans to retire as long as he remains in good health.
Wayne did not attend a formal university but learned his trade, crafts, and expertise in farming from his father and older brother who did attend college at Cornell University. He stayed at home to work on the farm with his father, learning by doing. Over the years, the Phelps farm has grown from 257 acres to over 800 acres, and it is currently operated by Wayne and his two sons. Wayne has kept up with changes in agriculture by being active in farm organizations which keep him up to date in his operations.
In 1996 Wayne was recognized as Farmer of the Year. As an active member of local, state, and national Grange, Wayne represented Grange and World Affairs by going to Pakistan for 6 weeks in 1979. Wayne is also a member of Farm Bureau and Farm Extension Committee. In 1983 Wayne was named Shepherd of the Year, and continues to be an active member of the Indian Falls United Methodist Church. Wayne's community involvement includes serving as a member of the Town of Alabama Board, Justice of the Peace from 1952-1965, and Supervisor of the Town of Alabama from 1966-1973.