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Tampa woman gets the 'Bachelor'

By SHARON FINK, Times Staff Writer
Published November 25, 2004

Both say they believe everything happens for a reason. He says he believed he ended up on The Bachelor to find his soul mate. She says she agreed to a second appearance on the show because she didn't want to wonder, "What if?"

This meeting of the cosmic mind-set ended up with Byron Velvick proposing to Mary Delgado of Tampa on the finale of the ABC series Wednesday night and Delgado accepting. And for one of the rare times in reality TV, it looked like a moment filled with real emotion and joy.

"I feel blessed," Velvick told Delgado during his proposal. "Everything I've been looking for is embodied in you. I'm the luckiest guy in the world. ... I cannot see myself spending another minute without you as my wife. ... We're going to be together forever. I know this."

"I love you Byron Paul," Delgado told him. "I want to spend my life with you. ... This is finally my fairy-tale ending."

Velvick, 40, a pro bass fisherman from Boulder City, Nev., choose Delgado, 36, over Tanya Michel, 31, a teacher from Plano, Texas. In another display of a contestant having no clue about what this show and reality romance TV is about, Michel told Velvick, "I'm speechless ... for a lot of reasons. I feel like a fool, like I've been lied to. My heart's broken."

Delgado, co-owner of a Tampa real estate business, got the man this time after being cut loose by Bob Guiney in the fourth Bachelor last year after she made the final three. She was not among the original group of 25 women picked for the sixth season, taped during the summer. She and Heather Cranford, from the second season, were brought back when 10 women were left to shake things up.

In a media conference call last week, while still not allowed by the show to name his choice, Velvick said he hoped he had found the woman he would spend the rest of his life with but that he and she were well aware that they had not been a normal couple yet.

"We are looking forward in next few months to being normal, if there is such a thing," he said.

In the live show after the two hour finale, he said they were flying to Tampa this morning to spend Thanksgiving with Delgado's family. In a separate interview last week with the St. Petersburg Times, Delgado, also not allowed to talk about the outcome, said she fell for Velvick because he treated all the women with respect, was honest with her and had a "childlike quality about him."

Sharon Fink can be reached at 727 893-8525 or fink@sptimes.com

[Last modified November 25, 2004, 00:11:11]

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