Mike Bentley wanted to make it a big surprise.
The part-time track announcer for the Pig-N-Ford races at the Tillamook County Fair Friday evening made his move in front of a few hundred “friends.”
Between two races, Bentley asked Cheryl Spellman to come out of the stands.
She thought he was just going to introduce her and that would be it. She would be embarrassed for a moment.
Bentley had something more in mind.
He gave it away when he announced on the microphone that he loved her and then dropped to one knee.
“She’s always been in the shadows,” he explained later. “I am on stage quite a bit and she’s never had any exposure.”
That changed Friday evening.
She admitted that she had a fleeting thought as she climbed down from the stands that it could be a proposal, but then she dismissed the idea. “I thought he was just going to introduce me and I would feel embarrassed and that would be it.”
In fact, he had planned to have three additional witnesses in the stands that she did not know about. Bentley’s 16-year-old daughter was watching, as well as Matthew and Avery Spellman.
According to Bentley, the couple has been dating for seven years. He has been planning it for a while. He was able to get Spellman to try on rings when they visited Diamond Art Jewelers during the Cork & Brew tour earlier this year.
“I asked her which one she liked,” he said.
“Little did I know that the Cork & Brew would cost me so much money down the road,” Bentley, the operations overseer for Ken Fallon Logging, said.
His new fiancé, the co-owner of Hudson Insurance, has already admitted that she will be trying to top his proposal.
Bentley admitted the next step was Spellman’s. “I am going to do something to top what he did,” she promised. “I’ll try to shock him.”
Bentley, who grew up in Tillamook, admitted that everything was now out of his hands. “Whatever she tells me to do, I’ll do. She wears the pants now,” he added with a smile.