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Marriage proposal is a hit
Mustangs crowd cheers as stunned woman says ‘Yes’
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Dakota Sander goes on bended knee and holds out a ring to propose marriage to Amanda McGuire in front of a sellout crowd at Friday’s Martinsville Mustangs game. She was surprised — and said “Yes.”At left is Mustangs President Jesse Cole, who was in on the surprise. (Photo by Ricky Dawson)
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Sunday, July 6, 2014

By HOLLY KOZELSKY - Bulletin Staff Writer

Amanda McGuire opened her eyes to discover her boyfriend on bended knee, proposing to her in front of 4,000 people.

It was between innings at Friday’s Martinsville Mustangs baseball game that Dakota Sander of Jackson, Mo., proposed to McGuire, of Bassett. McGuire’s parents were in on it, as was Mustangs player Kyle Carruthers, who is staying with the McGuires this summer.

The McGuire family has hosted Mustangs players for years, McGuire said. They go to all the games — there were 25 family members at Hooker Field on Friday night — and McGuire sometimes gets on the field to do the between-innings activities.

Friday, she did the “Dancing in the Dark” game. It starts off with four people who are blindfolded and dance. Martinsville Mustang President Jesse Cole, known for the bright yellow suit he wears, selects dancers one by one to stop. That leaves one person dancing alone, unaware he or she is the only one left.

McGuire and three others started dancing to a fast song. One by one the others were taken out, leaving just her dancing wildly, arms and knees bent and flailing.

Then the music changed to a slow song, “My Everything” by Keith Urban. Cole told McGuire to take off her blindfold.

Gasps and applause rang through the sellout crowd of 3,887 people as McGuire discovered Sander on his knee, holding out the ring.

The couple embraced heartily as Sander lifted McGuire up and twirled her, with the crowd cheering.

“I was amazed and so happy,” McGuire, 18, said afterward. The couple had talked about marriage, but she wasn’t expecting anything like that.

Sander, 19, had help setting up the surprise. McGuire’s parents, Tonya and David McGuire, loved the idea and coordinated it with Cole, he said. McGuire also is the daughter of the late Ronnie Wayne Hall.

Sander said he figured it would work out well. His girlfriend — now fiance — goes to all the games and always is willing to participate in an on-field activity. “She’s not a shy person,” he said.

He, however, had plenty of time to be nervous. It was a long 10-hour drive from Missouri on Wednesday, with the proposal on his mind.

Friday night, “I was a nervous wreck,” he said. “She kept asking me, ‘What’s wrong?’”

The couple has not set a wedding date yet. Both plan to finish school first. He studies heating and air conditioning and heavy equipment at State University of Missouri, and she studies business administration at Patrick Henry Community College. He said he likes this area and would move here.

The couple met at Myrtle Beach a month ago. Sander said there’s good precedent for such a quick engagement.

His parents married after knowing each other for only three weeks, he said.

“Today is their 28th anniversary,” he added. “It made it a special connection.”


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