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Photo submitted by Thru Him Photography Fred Swanson got down on one knee to propose to his girlfriend of just over a year, Kelli Case, at the turtle races last week. The pair had their first date at the races about a year ago, and have been regular volunteers ever since.

Groom-to-be comes out of his shell to make surprise public proposal

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Two ‘turtle doves’ who first found love at Perham’s International Turtle Races a little over a year ago came full circle with their romance last week, with a marriage proposal at the Wednesday races.

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Fred Swanson came out of his shell and made a surprise proposal to Kelli Case, happily stunning his bride-to-be and shocking tourists and turtles alike.

During the starting announcements of the races, Swanson was handed the microphone, and he turned to Case and said, “I love you and I want to spend my life with you. If you will do me the honor of being my wife, will you marry me?” 

She, of course, said ‘yes.’

Afterward, when asked what she felt at that moment, Case replied, “Complete shock! I knew what was happening, but I didn’t know what was happening!”

The pair had their first date at the turtle races, Swanson explained, so he thought it would be a very suitable place to propose.

On that first date, both Swanson and Case decided to enter their turtles in the race.  Their turtles performed terribly, the couple said, but sparks flew between the two of them, and their relationship blossomed from there.

Wanting to stay involved with the turtle races but knowing better than to try their luck with their own turtles again, the Perham couple decided to offer their time to the races, and became regular volunteers.

Kiowa Wieser-Matthews, For the Focus

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