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Could You Say ‘I Do’ Amidst 1,500 Sheep?
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Monday, October 11, 2021
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

It’s hard to upstage 25 years of Big Sheep Parades. But 24-year-old Jake Peavey managed to do just that Sunday as some 1,500 wooly buggers strutted down Ketchum’s Main Street.

Jake Peavey helped family members bring some 1,500 sheep to the intersection of Sun Valley Road and Main Street during the Trailing of the Sheep Festival parade. Then, as his brother Cory and others held back the sheep, he separated his girlfriend Megan Koonce from the wranglers, dropped down on one knee and proposed in the middle of the street.

Knowing the sheep were breathing down her neck, the 21-year-old Shoshone woman jumped into his arms, kissed him and went back to work keeping the sheep from running helter-skelter down the street. But this time she did so holding her fiance’s hand.

“I figured there’s a lot of good symbology in the Trailing of the Sheep Festival. I’ve always loved the festival. I love sharing it with my family and friends. And I love bringing the sheep down the street—especially when they jump around and show off, said Peavey, grandson of Festival Co-Founders John and Diane Peavey.

“It’s something my family built up from the ground and it’s something I’ve always loved so why not propose in the middle of it?!”

Peavey first spotted 21-year-old Megan Koonce of Shoshone a few years ago when she walked into the office where he was working for the Forest Service.

“I said, ‘She’s really cute.’ And my co-workers told me that she would be filling my spot on my days off so maybe they could expedite things,” Peavey recounted.

Koonce must have thought Peavey really cute, too, because she has familiarized herself with life on the Flat Top Sheep Ranch, picking up extra work on the ranch and even shearing sheep with Jake’s brother Cory.

As the 25th anniversary of the Trailing of the Sheep Festival approached, Jake Peavey told Koonce’s  parents that he had “a kind crazy idea” about proposing during the sheep parade. They were thrilled and took pains to find the perfect place along the parade route from which to watch the proposal.

With her parents’ blessing, young Peavey slipped a ring made with diamonds from his mother’s ring and earrings and metal from his father’s wedding band during the trailing.

“It should make a nice place holder she can wear out in the field,” he said.

Cory Peavey, meanwhile, kept the sheep at bay to give his brother time to pop the question. By the time he turned around, Megan had tears in her eyes.

“I was so overwhelmed,” said Koonce, who was taking part in her first Trailing of the Sheep Festival.

The couple hasn’t figured out when the wedding be or where it will be. Nor have they given any thought yet to whether they might honeymoon in a sheep wagon.

But Jake Peavey now has another reason to love the Trailing of the Sheep Festival. And so does Megan Koonce.


 

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