‘Tell Us Your Love Story’ contest winners
Editor’s note: Your stories never cease to amaze the editorial staff that gets to read all the submissions for the Vail Daily’s “Tell Us Your Love Story” contest. We have well over two dozen written testaments that love is alive and well in the Vail Valley, whether it was found decades later, found on a random New Year’s Eve, or found via Bumble. Below you’ll find this year’s top stories. All other entries are on VailDaily.com. Thanks to everyone who poured out their hearts to us, and for those looking for love, let these real life happenings inspire you. Maybe you’ll be entering your story in next year’s contest.
‘We fell in love in the back of a cop car’ – Nick and Liz Kettinger
Prize: Couples Massage at Spa Anjali and the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa
New Year’s Eve 2009 I see this woman at the bar and instantly recognize her from the Vail softball league. I’m the umpire, she’s the 30-something first base woman who had been catching my eye all summer on Wednesday evenings. We danced the night away on the Garfinkel’s dance floor and at closing time she asks if I want to share a cab. Flirting, we jump into our cab and take off. Instantly red and blue lights surround the taxi and on the bull horn the officer requests, “will the man in the red jacket exit the vehicle.”
I matched the description of someone the police were looking for but I had been on the dance floor for the last three hours with this stunning woman, “it’s not me,” I tell them. Before you know it the cabbie kicks the first base woman out of the car and takes off to pick up another fare. We stand there in the Lionhead bus stop waiting for the Chief of Police to come exonerate me, as soon as he does the deputy offers us a ride. Sure, how much crazier can this night get? We voluntarily get into the back of the cop car laughing and smiling all the way to her West Vail apartment. As soon as we walk in the door, she pours two glasses of champagne and with the adrenaline pumping through my veins from the last hour of shenanigans, I slide in for a kiss. In my head I think, ‘how could this not work?’ Boom! I’m greeted with a palm in the face and she says “I danced with you, and shared a ride home in a cop car with you but that doesn’t mean you can get with me.”
Well, I’m proud to say it didn’t work that night, but 13 years later I think I was right, you should have kissed me on that first night. Here’s to our first car ride together all those years ago, our 10-year wedding anniversary is coming up quickly and here’s to all the less eventful cab rides in between. I love you Lizzy! You are the most beautiful, strongest, smartest woman I have ever known. Kisses! -Your man, Nick
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‘Still swiping right’ – Shelly Belknap and Doug Schwartz
Prize: Couples Massage at The Spa at the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail
It was September of 2018. My girlfriends and I were in a bar discussing the dating scene in Vail, or “Male Valley,” as they liked to call it. I had been in the valley barely a year after being lured here by the usual reasons. The girls told me I should try Bumble, an app that puts the power of dating in the hands of women. What could go wrong? I succumbed to their pressures and watched in horror as they created my profile, added photos and started swiping left and right like they were kids in a candy store with a $100 bill. Ugh…I’m too old for this.
A week later, as I sat in my apartment in Eagle assessing the damage, I started scrolling through profiles. A pic of a guy with a fish. A pic of a guy with a motorcycle. A pic of a guy with his shirt off. A pic of a guy with his shirt off on a motorcycle holding a fish. Swipe left. Swipe left. Swipe left. Ugh. Then a photo appeared that caught my breath: a guy with a truly genuine smile. A cute guy. Doug. Hmm… I scrolled through the rest of his photos. There was picture of him backpacking with two boys. He took his kids backpacking? Ok…swoon. I swiped right. He must have swiped right too because things happened on the screen that I didn’t understand. Flash! Ding! Confetti! We were a match. Now what?
I asked my younger friends how to reach out and not sound like an idiot. “Be natural,” they said. Right. I awkwardly messaged him about backpacking and fly fishing. I’ve dabbled in both. He took the bait and a couple of weeks later we went on our first date (that’s another funny story). A mere 400 words is not enough to tell you the whole of our incredible love story. But I have to say…for the four years, many adventures, dying, revival, surgeries, healing, moving in together and learning to love more deeply through it all…we wouldn’t change a thing. The universe aligned in such a way to put us together at that exact moment on Bumble. My, how things might have been different. A girl from Oregon and a guy from New York. We both put ourselves out there…and feel like we won the lottery.
A true Vail love story – Catherine Dews Edwards and Philip Edwards
Prize: Ride on the Leadville Train and gift card to Gessner Restaurant at Grand Hyatt Vail
When I was 10 years old living on Rockledge Road we went Christmas caroling up and down our street. We came to the last house on a snowy Christmas Eve to sing, “A Partridge in a Pear Tree.” The door opens and a very handsome, barefoot 20-year-old blonde boy opens the door. We sang the very long song and he did not slam the door on us kids.
Fast forward 32 years later … Three days after Christmas at a private party at Claggett Rey Gallery our eyes met again. It was love at first sight!
The next day was our first date. Phil showed up 45 minutes late but made up for it by bringing my dog, Fido dog bones. Phil took me to La Tour and we shared our first meal together (we still share every meal at restaurants). Then we went and walked around town and found a cozy bar and made out like teenagers. We also realized that night that they rented the house across from our house on Rockledge road during the 70s when the Christmas caroling event happened.
We dated long-distance for years, he lived in Detroit, I lived in Denver. I finally gave in and moved to Detroit (ugh!!!). I made it two years and sadly told Phil, “I am sorry Philip but I gotta move back to Colorado…I am a true Colorado girl.”
He looked at me and said…”I’m coming with ya, girl!”
We tied the knot next to the Gore Creek during the fall of 2010 at The Sonnenalp Hotel among all the golden aspen trees. Best day of our lives! This past fall, we bought our own house in Vail on the same day we got married, Sept. 25th. It was a full-circle moment for me and Philip. It is a true Vail love story!