Chelly Hussey’s reign as Miss Tupelo 2010 came to an end Saturday night. But minutes after giving up her title, she gained something more precious: an engagement ring.
With the Tupelo Civic Auditorium stage packed with people after the closing of the 2011 Miss Tupelo and Tupelo’s Outstanding Teen pageants, Hussey and her boyfriend, Darius Garrett, found themselves in an empty spot on the runway at the front of the stage.
Garrett knew it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
So, he went down on his right knee in front of Hussey, pulled out a ring box, opened it and asked her to marry him.
Everyone in the civic center began watching the romantic scene being played out on stage. After composing herself from the sudden shock and excitement of Garrett’s proposal, Hussey said “yes.”
“Oh, my goodness,” an elated Hussey said. “It was a complete surprise.”
Garrett and Hussey, who have been dating for almost two years, are both 20-year-old Tupelo residents who attend Itawamba Community College.
Garrett waited until Hussey had fulfilled her duties as Miss Tupelo before popping the question. Hussey's reign ended when she crowned her successor, Miss Tupelo 2011 Lauryn Lee.
“I was planning on (proposing) this week, but I thought why not do it right after she’s given up the crown,” he said. “I thought I might as well go for it. I wanted her to have something after giving up the crown.”
Hussey, now sporting a shiny ring on her left hand, said she was touched by Garrett’s show of love in a public setting.
“Can you believe it,” she asked, smiling. “For him to do this in front of everybody ...”
Hussey was hoping Garrett would propose. "But I had no clue he would do this way,” she said. “It’s the best timing in the world.”
It’ll be some time before wedding bells will ring for the young couple, but they’re happy to share their good news with the world. Late Saturday night, they changed the Relationship Status line on their respective Facebook pages to “Engaged."
-Story and Photos by Bobby Pepper