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'Always a winner': Man proposes at Hastings Rivertown Days tennis tournament

Nick Peters Photography1 / 2
Shane Rother proposed to Kelli Peterson at the Rivertown Days tennis tournament. Nick Peters Photography2 / 2

Shane Rother may not have won his tennis match at the Rivertown Days tournament, but according to him, he was still a winner Saturday.

"I may not have been a winner today, but I will always be a winner with you in my life," Rother told his girlfriend of two years when he dropped to one knee and asked her to be his wife.

Rother said that it was kind of improvised. Rother said that he was planning to propose before the match but he had to change his plans because his girlfriend was a little late to the tennis match.

Kelli Peterson, Rother's fiancé, had been running errands that morning. She said that she was not expecting a proposal over the weekend.

"I was caught off guard," Peterson said.

Rother had just lost his match and was walking off the court. Peterson said that she was expecting him to be a little cranky because he had lost, but instead he was in the best of moods. He came off the court and immediately dropped to one knee, she said. Peterson was so surprised that she dropped everything she was holding in her hands, Rother said.

The proposal came exactly two years after their first date. The two had met online and met at the Mall of America for dinner and ended up spending two and a half hours together.

"We knew it clicked right away," Peterson said.

Rother has been playing in the tennis tournament since around 2000 but when his father passed away in 2006, he played as a way to honor his memory. The weekend has always been dedicated to his father and even a piece of the proposal was in memory of him. Peterson said that her engagement ring actually belonged to Rother's father.

Peterson said that family is important to both her and Rother so being able to honor his father along with getting engaged was great.

Michelle Wirth

Michelle Wirth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013 with a degree in journalism and web design. She worked as a web content editor for a trade association before coming to the Hastings Star Gazette in 2016.

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