Fame ... It doesn't last forever

Ryan Sheaffer lost "The Bachelorette," but found love away from reality television
Ryan Sheaffer poses with his new bride, Bonnie, in Sayulita, Mexico, where they were married Dec. 6. Nearly six years after his stint as a contestant on “The Bachelorette,” Sheaffer is enjoying life as a financial consultant in Seattle. Submitted photowww.fotodiana.com www.fotofrafov

Medford native Ryan Sheaffer is still living the final few seconds of his 15 minutes of fame garnered as a contestant on one of the hottest reality shows of 2005.

His stint as a suitor on ABC's "The Bachelorette" has carried Sheaffer on a roller-coaster ride from celebrity status to that-name-sounds-familiar to a settled-down, comfortable life after television.

When the 15 minutes ends

A series of followups on newsmakers in the Rogue Valley

Today — Ryan Sheaffer of Medford, 2005 contestant on "The Bachelorette"

Monday — Windfall, a black bear raised by two "mountain men" in Coos County

Tuesday — Ric Holt, former Jackson County commissioner

Wednesday — Northgate and Alba Village, developments planned on the former Medco property in Medford

Thursday — Matthew Johnson, Grants Pass psychologist who says he saw Bigfoot

Friday — Wes Cooley, former Congressman who lied about service in Korean War and was later indicted in money-laundering scheme

Saturday — Branden Rickman, Crater High School grad who won "Make Me a Supermodel" in 2009

In reality, Sheaffer is a financial consultant living in Seattle, climbing mountains and running the occasional Iron Man as he settles into a world where life doesn't end if the bachelorette doesn't hand him a rose at the episode's conclusion.

"Life is going good, no complaints," says Sheaffer, 34. "It was all kind of crazy, and fun. ... But I really feel good about where I'm at now.

"And I'm no longer living the single life," he says.

On Dec. 6 in Mexico, Sheaffer married his own bachelorette — Bonnie Sheaffer, a 34-year-old former Southern belle from Memphis who works in Seattle as a high school teacher.

And wouldn't you know it — there are roses in the wedding picture.

Whether Ryan would get a rose piqued the nation's interest for a string of six Mondays in early 2005 during the fourth season of "The Bachelorette."

On the show, Sheaffer was one of 25 bachelors vying for the affection of bachelorette Jen Schefft. The boys took turns romancing her around New York City, trying to impress her. Each episode culminated with Schefft handing roses to the bachelors who remained in contention.

A 28-year-old Southern California middle school teacher at the time, Sheaffer made it to the semifinals before Schefft cut him loose on an episode aired on Valentine's Day, no less.

At the time, Sheaffer said he was glad to get the boot — especially after realizing Schefft dissed his mother, Barbara Sheaffer, in the previous episode during a trip to meet Ryan's family in Medford.

Within a week, Sheaffer was hopscotching the country as he and his fellow bachelors became must-see TV celebs.

Celebrity radio hosts in Atlanta. Celebrity bartenders in Cleveland. A celebrity poker tournament in Seattle. Event emcees. Parties. Hey, Ryan, can I have your autograph? Will you pose with me so my friend can take our picture?

"It was six months of living the high life, enjoying that 15 minutes of fame," Sheaffer says.


He knew it was slowing down when he became a judge at a beauty pageant in Klamath Falls.

The reality was, Sheaffer already was planning his exodus from Southern California to Seattle.

Discussions about joining a Seattle financial-consulting firm were in the works before "The Bachelorette" aired, he says.

He started working there full-time, and recently set up his own company conducting business training, teaching seminars and giving occasional lecture stints at universities.

He met Bonnie, a Memphis native, in Seattle. They dated a little over three years before tying the knot in a small, private ceremony.

They are planning another ceremony New Year's Eve in Florida for extended family and friends.

Is he still recognized as one of "The Bachelorette" contestants?

"Occasionally," he says. "It's become less and less."

While teaching a week-long business class at the University of Colorado at Boulder, for the first four days it was strictly "Mr. Sheaffer" to the 90 or so students, perhaps because two-thirds were men.

On the last day, he looked into the class and saw only men seated.

"All of a sudden, all the women were in a procession," Sheaffer says. "Each one was carrying a rose in their hand and gave it to me."

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or e-mail at mfreeman@mailtribune.com.



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