Former Big Red, WKU cheerleader get engaged

Kierstin Kirk

For Louisville graduate Zach Talton and Murray senior Madison Schwettman, WKU is more than just a place to further their education. 

“It’s the place where I decided to be a teacher, the place that inspired me to chase my dreams and do more than I ever imagined,” Schwettman said. “At WKU the spirit really does make the master.” 

 Talton made WKU’s campus an essential part in the next step of their relationship: the proposal. 

“I wanted it to be big and elaborate and make it a part of us,” Talton said. 

Talton and Schwettman first met through the Baptist Campus Ministry (BCM) in their early WKU years, but really got to know each other when she was cheering on the Tops as a cheerleader, and he was walking around, shaking his belly and eating fans’ heads as Big Red. 

“It’s the cheesiest meeting, I know,” Talton said.

Talton said he put a lot of thought into the proposal. As the planning went on, word got around in the community. WKU’s floral shop heard what Talton was planning and decided to get involved. 

The floral shop provided flowers for the occasion, and Talton hired a local horse and carriage service. The carriage was decorated with WKU memorabilia for the big day, Friday, Oct. 24. 

Schwettman said police involvement caused a bit of initial scare. 

“I saw that the cops were there and I was scared my friends were getting in trouble, but then I found out it was all part of the scheme,” Schwettman said.

Talton said, in the moment of the proposal, he was glad it was finally happening. After all the extensive planning, he was overwhelmed by Schwettman’s surprised expression.

“I was completely surprised because the night before he got sassy and told me he wasn’t proposing soon,” Schwettman said. “He was just trying to throw me off track.”

Schwettman is not only excited about the proposal. She was nominated for Homecoming Queen by the BCM.

“It’s been a blessing to be a part of something not a lot of girls get to do,” Schwettman said. “It’s a once in a lifetime experience I’ll never forget.”

 They were grateful that WKU played such a large part in the next step of their lives together.

“It means a lot, it’s my home and will become our home as we get married,” Talton said.