2016 Homecoming King proposes to 2018 Homecoming Queen

Madison White and Francisco Castro

The JTAC Brittainie Cason
Wacey Horton proposes to Kayla Lucio at the 2018 Homecoming coronation on Oct. 20 at the half-time celebration in Memorial Stadium.

At the 2018 Homecoming Football game on Oct. 20, the Tarleton State University family was witness to a special union that will live on as a heartwarming memory. Following the crowning of the Homecoming Court, Tarleton graduate Wacey Horton approached his girlfriend of almost four years and nominee for Homecoming Queen, Kayla Lucio and offered her with a crown of his own. This “crown” came in the form of a diamond ring and was shown to the world as Horton got down on one knee in front of Lucio and asked her to be his queen. The stadium was filled with applause and cheers when Lucio said yes.

Horton and Lucio met in 2011 during their time in high school. According to Horton, it didn’t take long for both him and Lucio to develop feelings for one another.

“We met because we were both in FFA and showing animals together,” stated Horton. “We just got really close really fast. Going to her family’s lake house over the summer, I think that was when we really decided, ‘Like ok, we need to be more than friends. I know you like me, you know I like you. We need to stop playing around and see if this thing will work.’” 

Following the visit to Lucio’s lake house, both Horton and Lucio, with confidence in how they felt about one another, began dating. This kicking off during Horton’s senior year and Lucio’s Sophomore year. 

“We were actually a little hesitant,” said Horton. “We had been best friends at the time and we knew I was about to graduate and go to college at the time and she still had two more years left (of High School). We decided to give it a go, and we haven’t looked back since.”

“Wacey was my best friend in high school, and still is,” stated Lucio. “I think I’ve really known all along that he was the one.”

Horton explained that through the time he spent with her, either during school, at FFA or at Lucio’s family’s trips, he was able to grow more attached to her. 

“Anyone who has met Kayla (knows) she has a personality you can’t help but fall in love with and that’s what drew me to her in high school,” Horton stated. “As the year went on we got closer and closer and I started to see more of what Kayla’s real personality was like and how sweet she is and how caring she is for everyone. I mean, she’s always wanting to do what is best for others, even if that person is a complete stranger, she can help them and in some ways, she’s going to do that before she does something for herself and that’s how she’s always been.”

Following high school graduation, Horton began his Tarleton journey, studying for his degree in Agricultural Education while Lucio finished her last two years of high school. Once Lucio was closer to graduating and looking at colleges, Horton supported her in every way he could, keeping her happiness a top priority. 

“Kayla wasn’t sure where she wanted to go to school cause she wasn’t sure what her major was going to be,” said Horton. “But when she decided she wanted to do Ag Education, she knew she had to come to Tarleton but I always told her like, ‘don’t come here because of me. don’t think that we can’t make it work at other universities like you need to go where you’re going to be happy’.” 

Horton said that despite his thoughts, Lucio’s heart was set on going to Tarleton. 

“And so, she came (to Tarleton State) and it’s been awesome for the both of us,” stated Horton.

Horton and Lucio’s time as members of the Tarleton Family has been memorable for them. Horton explained that he and Lucio have been involved in many organizations together. From being Tarleton Transition Mentors to serving in Tarleton Round-Up executive team and acting as officers for Tarleton’s Collegiate Future Farmers of America organization. 

“Being TTM’s together was probably the best memory I’ve ever had with her,” stated Horton. “That was when I got to see the heart of service and just love and caring that she has. And see her work with those freshmen is the coolest thing in the world. Did me and her get to hang out that much? No. The reason it was such a great memory was because we were there together getting to do what we love and showing those kids how much we care about Tarleton, and just watching her pour out her heart and it’s one of those things (that) showed me like, ‘this is why I’m with this girl, this is why I’m going to marry her, and there’s no other girl better than her’.

“I thank God every day that she decided to show goat because if she never decided that I never would have met her. And that is the honest truth. She was a girl from Corpus Christi who was all about competitive cheer and I was a kid from Brownwood who was all about stock shows and our paths wouldn’t have crossed if she hadn’t decided that she was going to give showing a try.”

After being together for almost four years, Horton had decided to make it official. 

“The night I asked her dad to have his permission to ask her to marry me, just hearing him say what he had to say about me,” explained Horton. “I knew I was the man for her, he’s always told me what he expects out of a man that’s going to marry his daughter and how he expects them to be treated and to hold them up to what they are and to keep them in the lifestyle that they are used to. I’ve worked hard to find who I am as I got older, get myself in a good place in life and you know, now that I’ve graduated and I’m a high school teacher. Everything’s going very good in life, everything’s coming together and I know that I’m what Kayla’s needed. I’ve been able to help her through so much because we’ve been through very similar things together that others haven’t gone through and it sucks that we went through it but it helped us come closer. I 100 percent believe I’m the guy that was meant for her and she was the girl that was meant for me.”

For over a year, Horton has been planning and working through the details of how he would propose to Lucio. 

“(I’ve) just been trying to find out when was going to be the best time,” said Horton. “I always knew that whenever I did it, I wanted it to be something that it was going to be at a place that I and Kayla both loved.” 

One idea Horton considered was proposing at a stock show. Given how they first met and got to know one another through stock showing in high school, it was a meaningful idea. Horton was quick to reconsider, however. 

“Even though Kayla stock showed, I was the one out of the two of us who that was way more into it and I knew if I did something like that I’d be more exciting to me than her,” said Horton.

After further thinking it through and consulting his best friend, Lucio’s young sister, Horton decided that the best location to propose would have to be at Tarleton. 

“I knew that it needed to be at Tarleton but I wanted it to be something big,” explained Horton. “(Something) that everyone we loved would be around.” 

It didn’t take Horton long to connect the dots and realize that the 2018 Tarleton Homecoming had to be the place to do it, since all the people he and Lucio held dear to would be gathered in the one place they both loved. As if the stars were aligned, Lucio had been nominated and chosen into the Homecoming Court and thus giving Horton the idea to propose at half-time during the Homecoming Game. From there, Horton said he worked with the Student Government Association to plan and execute the proposal.  

“Getting to ask her to marry me and hearing her say yes is going to be the most memorable and coolest homecoming of my entire life,” stated Horton. “I will never forget it. And every time we come back, we’re going to know this is the day we got engaged, this is when we started our life together. And later down in life when we have kids and we get to bring them back and we get to look down that field and (tell them) ‘that’s where mom and dad (got engaged), that’s where we decided that this was going to be a thing.’”

Lucio knew a proposal was in the works but didn’t know when or how.

“I knew it was coming soon,” stated Lucio. “I knew something was up though because I didn’t see him for like two hours and I was about to walk onto the field and he wasn’t there. Knowing Wacey, it was going to be something big.”

The JTAC Brittainie Cason
Kayla Lucio shows off engagement ring right after her fiancé, Wacey Horton proposed.

Lucio, in shock still from winning Homecoming Queen, then realized what was happening. 

“I think it was like what is going on right now,” explained Lucio. “I had a feeling he was planning to do something soon but not that soon and in front of our friends, family, alumni and our whole university. When it happened I heard what he said to me when he first got to me and then once he got down on one knee and everyone started to cheer I couldn’t hear very much. I had tears rolling down my face and I didn’t even get a chance to look at the ring because we walked straight off and we’re  were greeted by friends and family.”

“We will for sure have a kid,” said Horton, when prompted on future plans, “Me and her are two people that have always talked about how excited we are to become parents. I’ve always wanted to be a dad and she’s always wanted to be a mom and I know that when she graduates college next year and she gets in the teaching field and has a job and we start settling down and find a place to live, that’ll be our next step. In five years, you’ll most definitely see us in our own house, both teaching high school kids about ag and hopefully have at least one little one running around.”