Story By David Slone, Times Union
Monday night’s episode of ABC’s romance reality show “The Bachelor” was the one Warsaw had been waiting for since October.
Ben Higgins, this season’s “Bachelor” and a 2008 Warsaw Community High School graduate, brought the six remaining women to Warsaw in October, but the episode featuring that week finally aired Monday night.
Rex’s Rendezvous had a viewing party of “The Bachelor” last night. Though attendance was light, it did bring Lauren Eby, 23, Goshen; Susan McTague, 49, Fort Wayne; Kris Schlagenhauf, 48, Fort Wayne; and Kathy Peterson, 60, Goshen, to Warsaw. Eby is Schlagenhauf’s daughter, and the other two are their friends.
Eby said they came to town “because I would have hated myself if I hadn’t shown up and he (Higgins) would have been here.”
Higgins did not make an appearance.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” McTague said.
“And we found good pizza,” Eby added.
“It was good,” Peterson agreed.
The four women showed up at 6:15 p.m. because they thought there might be a crowd, Schlagenhauf said. “It’s fun just to be spontaneous,” she said, adding that Higgins “is just a really genuine guy.”
They stayed until 10 p.m.
Early in the episode, Schlagenhauf predicted Higgins would end up choosing Lauren B. because “I think they have a connection and she’s really sweet.”
McTague agreed on Lauren B., saying, “I think she’s a good match for him. If that doesn’t work out, I think my daughter Meghan would be good for him.”
Eby chose Caila “because she’s really fun and cute,” while Peterson chose JoJo “because she’s a Cubs fan.”
Ann Boonthamnuk, Warsaw, brought her boyfriend out to Rex’s Monday because she’s a “big fan” of “The Bachelor” and has watched seven or eight seasons of the “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” shows. Her boyfriend chose not to be identified, but said they came out to Rex’s because he saw it on the news.
She said Higgins will choose Lauren Be. “I like her,” she said. “She’s nice. She’s cute. I think he should pick her. I think JoJo is very gorgeous and nice, too.”
During Monday’s episode, there was a glimpse of a Warsaw Community Schools bus, Harrison Elementary and Warsaw Community High School Tiger Athletic Complex. Higgins met his parents at B’Mac on Buffalo, did some shots with Lauren B. and others at Rex’s Rendezvous and went for boat rides with the women on Winona Lake. Z Hotel was seen, as was the county courthouse.
Higgins and Lauren B. had a date at the Baker Youth Club, with special guests from the Indiana Pacers, including Paul George. After volunteering with the kids there for a bit, BYC Executive Director Tracy Furnivall set up a half-court challenge between Higgins and Ronnie Shoemaker. After Shoemaker made a half-court shot that made the crowd go wild, Higgins had to kiss Lauren B.
In the second hour of the show, Higgins and Amanda went to McDonald’s to do stuff that’s “normal” for Higgins. They worked the McDonald’s window a bit, greeting customers. They then went to a carnival, set up by the show downtown, to play games, ride the rides and be greeted by Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer. Thallemer told the crowd there what a great representative of Warsaw Higgins is.
Higgins eventually gave Amanda a rose, which meant she was safe for another week.
The last half hour of the two-hour show got emotional as Higgins took Emily to meet his parents, but it didn’t go so well. After taking Emily back to the house, Higgins told her he couldn’t see her as his wife. She was sent home.
In the final 10 minutes, Higgins told show host and narrator Chris Harrison – on the steps of the county courthouse – that he didn’t know what to do about the final five girls. But along with Amanda, he finally gave roses to Lauren B., JoJo and Caila. Sent home was Becca.
After the viewing party, Rex’s Rendezvous owner Robin Watters commented on the episode, saying, “I thought it went very well. They showed Warsaw in a very good light.”
He was a little disappointed Rex’s wasn’t shown as much as he had hoped it would be, but he was glad they showed Rex’s as part of the community. Watters said he always tries to be a part of the community.
Not only did “The Bachelor” do a nice job of showing Higgins’ hometown, but the women on the show commented how everyone in Warsaw is friendly and they could see themselves living here.
“That makes me proud of Warsaw,” Watters stated.