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Crowd roars as F-M derby girl says 'yes' to marriage proposal

A.C. Christensen pops the question to Amy Johnson, also known as "Fleetwood Smack." Melissa Muehlbauer / Special to The Forum

A.C. Christensen always imagined that when he found the right woman, he would pop the question in an intimate manner - witty, subtle, no crowd around.

That was before Christensen met Amy Johnson, and before Johnson became "Fleetwood Smack."

The couple got engaged Saturday night on the floor of the Fargo Civic Center after a bout by the Haute Dishes, the local derby girl squad Johnson skates for as Fleetwood Smack.

Quietly passing out the signs at halftime, worrying it might tip Johnson off as his helpers held them up to look at them, Christensen enlisted a row of people in the audience to hold up letters spelling out: "Amy, will you marry me?"

After the bout - a win for the Haute Dishes, incidentally - Johnson was called to the center of the floor so Christensen could say his piece. But he didn't get past "Amy, you are by far the most important person in my life," before he started choking up and the cheers began to build.

Cat out of the bag, Christensen pointed behind his soon-to-be fiancé. Turning to see the proposal spelled out in the crowd, a stunned Johnson said she immediately got shaky as a leaf.

"I was like, 'Oh my gosh, oh my gosh,'" she recalled on Sunday afternoon. "It was awesome."

Surrounded by the other derby girls already on one knee, Christensen dropped to his left knee and pulled the tell-tale box out of his pants pocket.

"Her head was already nodding up and down. It was just remarkable, by far the most amazing moment in my life," he said Sunday.

The crowd roared as the couple kissed, Christensen lifting Johnson up so her green-wheeled skates flew in the air just before she was mobbed by teammates and opponents.

Despite a one-time reluctance to mount a public proposal, Christensen said he wanted to involve derby girls because they've become like family for Johnson, a Wyoming native.

The 29-year-olds, Johnson a dental assistant and Christensen a ninth-grade science teacher, have dated for about four years. So the proposal was not really out of the blue, though when and how were still up in the air, Johnson said.

The news traveled fast. By the time Christensen called his parents in the Twin Cities at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, they already had gotten the word.

"My mom answered the phone and said congratulations," he said. "Facebook beat me to the punch."