By Chase Rheam
STILLWATER, Okla. —
It’s not unusual to see improvisation in a theater setting, but most wouldn’t expect it from anyone other than the performers.
Rock Minghetti, a Ponca City police officer, decided he would test that theory, surprising his girlfriend by proposing at a recent Town & Gown performance.
“I’ve been at some ballgames where people propose on the (big screen) and everyone has seen the airplanes that fly the banner,” he said. “I’ve always seen these big productions with a lot of people watching.”
While some may consider asking for a hand in marriage in private, Minghetti had his own take.
“Because I come from a religious background, I believe you get baptized and when you get baptized you are professing to people, it’s an outward (action) for an inward decision,” he said. “I wanted to tell the world. And I know her world is Stillwater. It’s where she grew up. Everywhere we go, she knows somebody.”
Minghetti’s girlfriend, Kodi Riggs, attended high school and is attending college in Stillwater.
“She’s got three children, they are 2, 4 and 10,” Minghetti said. “When we first started talking, I never pictured myself being 40 and not having a big family. I came from a big family.”
Minghetti has a 20-year-old daughter, too.
The two met in November and had their first date at Boomer Lake.
“We have so much fun together,” Minghetti said. “We laugh and talk about everything and we have all the same interests.”
He said Riggs is young at heart, just like himself.
After three months, Minghetti decided that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Riggs.
After speaking with her parents, there was only one question they posed.
“They didn’t ask me how I was going to propose to her, they just asked when and I told them that I was wanting to do it on Valentine’s Day,” he said. “They thought that was really special and sweet.”
The couple began planning their Valentine’s Day together, starting with a dinner at a local hibachi grill and winding up the night by attending the comedy, “Greater Tuna,” at Town & Gown Theatre.
“Because of the timing of the date, I thought it would be perfect if the people at Town and Gown would include us,” he said.
Minghetti spoke to stage manager Paul Weber, laying out his idea. Weber spoke to Director Patt Ward Curtin and the cast. Everyone agreed.
“I thought the audience would enjoy it and I knew that it would fit right into the show,” said Curtin. “The actors were really pumped about it.”
Improvisation came into play as to where and when the proposal would take place, but the finer details remained unspoken.
“When we got there, (before) the live show started, they said they were looking for a volunteer and they picked me,” Minghetti said.
Moments prior, Minghetti set up a humorous moment between the two.
“When we first sat down, he said, ‘This isn’t improv or anything,’” Riggs said. “They’re not going to pull people from the audience, right?”
She assured him they wouldn’t do that right before he was chosen “randomly” as a volunteer.
“I told the girl next to me he’s going to be so mad at me because I told him it wasn’t going to be improv,” Riggs said.
After meeting backstage with the two-man cast, the show began and Minghetti came back out to center stage, asking for a volunteer himself. He selected Riggs. He dropped to one knee and popped the question.
“I just grabbed my mouth and was really surprised,” Riggs said.
Riggs said yes and the two remained throughout the show. Minghetti confessed he and Riggs didn’t remember one word from the show because of their excitement.
Riggs said an official date for the wedding has not been set, but they know it will take place before the end of 2013.
“She’s the most perfect person I can imagine for me,” Minghetti said.