The first five seasons of The Bachelor
were not, to put it mildly, a rousing success. Not a single one of them directly resulted in a lasting love match for its star.
But hope springs eternal, and so when two friends signed professional bass fisherman and self-professed “hopeless romantic” Byron Velvick up for the show, the 40-year-old divorcee thought this might be his chance to find The One.
Most likely, he mainly thought this because he was, he has said, completely unfamiliar with The Bachelor
as a program and therefore was unaware of its track record.
But maybe in this case ignorance was bliss, as finally, The Bachelor
resulted in a lasting relationship for its star. We think.
As mentioned, it wasn't Byron's idea originally to try out for The Bachelor
. He has said “Two of my friends -- who had friends in L.A. involved in reality TV -- put my name in. I'm the only guy out of 5,000 guys who applied who didn't know what The Bachelor
So why did this outdoorsman and self-described “recluse” agree to go along with the idea to look for love in potentially the world's most public venue? Byron said, “As it got closer and closer to me actually being the guy, I thought there must be a reason for this. I've had some very close friends pass on in the last few years. I consider them like guardian angels and spirits for me. I believe this weird reality must have a purpose to it or something. I didn't look at it as a way to raise my public image. I looked at it as a chance to find the person I might spend the rest of my life with.”
However, it wasn't just Byron's decision this time. Bowing slightly to the pressure to switch things up after five seasons of failure, the producers added a new twist to this show. Possibly because of the greater success of The Bachelorette
(at the time the show was being produced, Meredith Phillips was still with Ian McKee), they decided to give a little bit of control back to the ladies.
So Byron made it to the show, but he still had a little competition of his own to get through before he could have the ladies fighting over him. Jay Overby, a successful East Coast businessman, was Byron's rival for the official spot of The Bachelor
The first episode of the show had the two men mingling with the women and angling for their votes. It's country mouse vs. city mouse for the women. But Byron had more to offer than just the rugged nature guy persona. He also has a degree in English with a concentration in philosophy and has done some modeling in the past. Although one of the women actively campaigned against his selection because “how much can a fishermen make?”, he wound up winning the vote, 18-7.
And after that twist, it was back to business as usual for The Bachelor
. Once again, it came down to the final two women, Mary Delgado, a real estate agent, former NFL cheerleader, and two-time The Bachelor
alum (she had previously appeared on Season Four with Bob Guiney); and Tanya Michel, a teacher from Texas. Unfortunately for Tanya, Byron informed her in the final rose ceremony, he had one “problem:” “I haven't fallen in love with you.”
As for Mary, though, he told her, "I can't see spending another minute without you as my wife, we're going to be together forever…You have my rose. You have my heart."
And so far, the two do seem to still be going strong, although the 2006 wedding that Byron had alluded to in interviews didn't appear to materialize. However, he recently mentioned that she is moving to Texas with him as he develops a resort at Lake Amistad. He told a local reporter that she is working on getting a real-estate license in the state of Texas.
She's also started joining him professionally. Byron continues to bass fish professionally, and has also hosted ESPN's Bass Center. Mary just acted as a “co-angler” at the Sunshine Showdown, where Byron was also competing. So maybe The Bachelor couple that plays together is going to stay together, even if their long-awaiting nuptials haven't actually taken place.
And at least one report from the same event the past weekend called Mary Byron's “wife.” Now, Byron's own website still states they're engaged, so most likely this is a typo or misunderstanding, but we will keep our eyes out for any confirmation of this. Who knows? Maybe the fans of The Bachelor who are, like Byron, “hopeless romantics” will finally have marriage for one of the fellows to celebrate.
'The Bachelor' Rewind: Season 5
'The Bachelor' Rewind: Season 7
- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Sources: TV.com, BassFan.com, SWTexasLive.com, Bankrate.com, ByronVelvick.com, Fansof RealityTV.com, StarTribune.com, MSNBC, Small.to, AOL TV, Game Show NewsNet, RealityTVWorld
(Images courtesy of TV.com, BassFan.com, AOL TV)