A Harley kind of love
Ever since they met nearly 50 years ago, motorcycles have been a big part of their lives. On Saturday, Rock Branderhorst and Adela Torrez hopped on their Harley with only one slight disruption—they decided to get married first.
The Owatonna couple tied the knot during a brief 10-minute ceremony Saturday at the Geneva Park. DeAnn Randall, a lifetime friend of the family and coordinator of the Geneva Cancer Run, married the pair. A short time later, they all joined 150 other riders for the annual motorcycle run.
Branderhorst, 65, and Torrez, 68, have been together for 46 years except for a gap of a couple years in the early 1990s. They decided it’s never too late to say, “I do.”
And why after 47 years?
“Love,” Torrez says. “It has to be. Love has always kept us together.”
Branderhorst knows their situation is unique. “Not too many couples go 40 or more years before getting married,” he said.
Torrez somewhat jokingly said that getting married is “the last thing on my bucket list” to do in life. She is quick to point out that “nothing will change” in their relationship now that they are legally married. “It doesn’t feel any different,” she said after getting married.
Though Torrez didn’t want any big fuss over the ordeal, immediate family members, including Torrez’s children and grandchildren, witnessed the wedding. “We didn’t want to make no big deal about it,” Torrez said. “Not many people knew about it.”
Branderhorst agreed. “We didn’t want a big occasion,” he said. “We wanted something simple.”
He said they discussed how and when to get married for many years, but never pulled the trigger. They thought it should be around their anniversary of meeting, which is in September, or tied to a special motorcycle run. In the end, the motorcycles won out.
“This is going to be a good reminder of our (wedding) anniversary,” Branderhorst said.
The newlyweds showed up for the wedding on their brand new 2019 Road King Special Harley that they purchased in April. “It was a wedding gift for each other,” Torrez said.
Torrez and Branderhorst met in 1973 while he worked at the Owatonna Canning Company, now Lakeside Foods. She was a waitress at a small restaurant located across the street from the canning company. “I always ate supper there,” Branderhorst said.
He recalls the first date involving a motorcycle, though it wasn’t a Harley. “I took her out for a motorcycle ride,” Branderhorst said. “She liked that and basically we have been together ever since.”
Added Torrez, “I fell in love with the bike. Once I got on the motorcycle, I never wanted to get off.”
Torrez said she has always enjoyed the things that Branderhorst enjoys like motorcycles. The trade-off, she said, is her family, which is very important to her. She has three grown children and grandchildren, although they never had children together. Her children are from a previous marriage.
“He enjoys my family,” Torrez said. “The things that make him happy make me happy, and the things that make me happy make him happy,” she added.
She credits him with helping her raise her small children, one of which wasn’t even born yet when they got together. “He has been a father to my kids,” Torrez said, adding her children have been the world to her.
Both will enjoy their married days in retirement. She retired from The Kernal restaurant a few years ago, and he retired within the past year from Lakeside Foods after working there for 47 years.
In retirement, they plan to continue taking lots of motorcycle trips. They will be making a trip this weekend to Sturgis, S.D. However, their official honeymoon will be in early July when they travel to Door County Wisconsin. And, no, that particular trip will not involve the Harley.
“We pray every night that if the Lord is going to take us that he takes us together,” Torrez said.
Just for the record, Torrez’s new married name is Adela Branderhorst Torrez.
“I didn’t want to lose my identity,” she said. “I have been a Torrez for years.”