Katie Grube was ready for an adventure when she graduated from college in the spring of 2010. She didn't know that the adventure would begin only 6 months later through a chance meeting on FarmersOnly.com. FarmersOnly.com is the leading online dating site for single farmers, ranchers and others with down-to-earth values who cherish a rural lifestyle.
Katie grew up on a farm in Meyersdale, PA. She attended college in Indiana, earning her degree in music education.
"I thought, 'If I'm going to have an adventure in life it should be now,' so I applied for jobs in 15 different states," she says. She landed a job as a band director for a Kansas school district. A close college friend had already returned to Kansas, so she took the position.
Katie loved her job, but found she had little time to meet people.
"I signed up on FarmersOnly.com as 'CountryGirl1987.' I joined initially as a way to meet people in a new state who share the values I was brought up with on our farm," Katie says.
Katie often just viewed profiles of other people who were logged in at the same time. Kevin Howard was one of those people. Kevin was 'WVfarmer08.' He lived nearly 1,000 miles away in Moundsville, WV.
They exchanged online flirts and Kevin sent the first email on Jan. 13, 2011. The couple soon found they had many things in common. Katie grew up about two hours from Kevin's hometown. Both were raised on family farms. They both raised sheep when they were younger. They enjoyed tractor pulls and livestock shows. Most importantly, they made faith a top priority.
"Our emails became books. We would ask two questions and the answers would be pages," say Katie. She would check her email before school, at lunch and in the evening. Kevin would check between his jobs as a landscaper and farm work.
"It was incredibly exciting. I was thrilled any time I would see an email from him," Katie says. Their emails were replies to the original email from Kevin, so she has one long electronic memento of their first exchanges.
They transitioned to phone conversations in a few weeks. Their first phone call lasted four hours.
"I don't remember thinking about what was going to happen next. I just knew that I was going to marry him. I loved him long before I met him."
They realized they had to figure out a way to bridge the geographic distance between them. Katie loved her job in Kansas, but welcomed a chance to return to her home area. She started searching for teaching positions.
In March, she saw a listing for a middle school position based just 20 minutes from Kevin's home. Kevin's aunt just happened to be the principal.
"It was God's plan," says Katie.
She flew out and first met Kevin for the first time - in a grocery store parking lot.
"He was being goofy and drove circles around my rental car in his flatbed truck. He was the Kevin that made me laugh on the phone," Katie says.
They stayed up late that night talking, and Kevin introduced Katie to his parents the next morning at church.
"They gave me a huge hug and said 'Kevin talks about you all the time.'"
The couple spent that day driving around town and helping Katie prepare for the interview.
On Monday morning, Kevin went to work and Katie went to the interview.
"Kevin's parents said they were praying for me. They also told me that morning that they hoped I would someday be their daughter-in-law."
She learned she won the job two days later and moved to Moundsville after the school year ended. Now, Katie and Kevin had a new challenge - learning how to be a couple in person. Katie admits they had some rough times.
"At one point, I thought I might have made the biggest mistake of my life, but I also had a sense of peace. I knew that I was supposed to be with Kevin," she says.
Their mutual interest - the county fair - pulled them back together in midsummer despite some friction. Kevin, Katie and his parents purchased weekly passes and they went to many events together.
"We talked about steers and not our relationship and that helped," she says.
They spent more and more time together that fall. They went to church activities and auctions, had dinner with Katie's married friends, and spent time riding four-wheelers at Kevin's farm.
A turning point came in early November, when they went to Louisville, KY for the North American International Livestock Exhibition. During the drive there they talked about their relationship, their fears, and their love.
"From there, things snowballed. Kevin started dropping hints about how many kids we should have and what would be a good time of year to get married. He finally said, 'Let's get married,' and we soon told his parents."
A few days later, they picked out a ring together and he officially proposed in her apartment.
"He told me that he loved me with his whole heart and got down on one knee," Katie says.
Katie and Kevin are now busy planning a wedding on July 7, 2012. Katie's mom is designing their invitations. The colors are purple and orange and they're making barn and tractor-shaped soap favors.
They'll drive away from the church in her dad's Farmall Super MTA tractor.
"All I can do is grin. It's been a whirlwind, but everything has been perfect. We just had a few things out of order," Katie says.
Best wishes, Katie and Kevin, for a beautiful wedding from FarmersOnly.com