Miss Missouri USA’s Picture-Perfect Proposal

 In Interviews, Style

“The lesson here is always listen to your mom,” Landon Burke said of his romance with his now-fiancee, Sydnee Stottlemyre.

See, his mother fell in love with Sydnee years before Landon did. Growing up, Sydnee had competed in pageants with Landon’s older sister and they had become pretty good friends as a result. From the moment his mom met the 13-year-old pageant queen, she tried to play matchmaker like any sensible mother would. “Years before I met Sydnee, my mom was plugging her hard,” Landon said. “She would pull up Sydnee’s Facebook when I was in high school and be like, ‘Landon. Look at how perfect this girl is.’”

Teenage boys and listening to their mother go together about as well as oil and water, so it was years later when fate finally stepped in. At this point in the story, the couple was attending the famed journalism school at the University of Missouri—Columbia, where they were, quite literally, next-door neighbors.

Coincidentally, two of their mutual friends tried to set the pair up once again. This time, though, it worked out. A nervous and brief conversation during bid day led to a Facebook friend request, which in turn led to a not-so-brief date at St. Louis Bread Company. “I actually did not eat any of my meal because I was so nervous,” Sydnee said. “And it’s funny now, but I know he probably would’ve finished the meal for me.” Landon jokingly confirmed that, yes, he thought about finishing her meal, but thought that might freak Sydnee out. After all, it was only the first date.

From there, Sydnee said she was just hoping he would ask her on a second date. Which, if you’re wondering, he did. And a third, and fourth, and so on. Eventually, he even asked her for forever. 

In that time they’ve accomplished more than most 22-year-olds. Landon Burke landed an anchoring position around the time Sydnee was finishing her year of jet-setting around the country in her run as Miss Missouri USA. After a healthy mix of lip synching with the Backstreet Boys and doing philanthropic work through USO, Sydnee finished top ten. The now-engaged power couple is excited to stay in Columbia as Landon continues his work with KOMU and Sydnee begins law school.

Keep reading to learn more about Landon’s romance-novel-worthy proposal video and Sydnee’s Celine Dion impression, but first, the fine print.

The couple/ Sydnee Stottlemyre + Landon Burke
Current age/ Sydnee—22; Landon—22
Occupations/ Sydnee—Miss Missouri USA 2016; Landon—Weekend Morning Anchor/Producer at KOMU
Wedding date/ TBD
Wedding venue/ TBD
Length of relationship/ 3 years

How did you pop the question?

Landon Burke: For the weeks leading up to the proposal, I, because with my job I work with video a lot. I had kind of put together a video scrapbook of places that were significant to our relationship. I had video of the place where we first met, the place we went on out first date, where we spent a lot of time together, where we went to class together. And the last shot of the video was this church where I actually proposed.

So now we’re going to jump forward a little bit. My mom works at The Journey in Tower Grove. And I had told Sydnee that we were going to pick up my mom and then go to dinner downtown. So, I told her we had to go into the church to find my mom’s office. And so we walked into the church and kind of navigated a little bit. I had a couple cameras set up, and I had a guy back at the tech booth. And when I gave the signal, he powered up the projector and the video started rolling. And the last shot of the movie was the room we were standing right then. And so there was some voiceover to go with the video. Kind of talking through most of it. And the last line was, “You don’t have a reason to remember this place yet, but you will.” And that’s when I got down on one knee. It was a lot of fun.


What’s the quirkiest thing about your relationship?

LB: One thing I really like about our relationship is we are able to be our like goofiest and weirdest, strangest selves. With both of our jobs—myself working in television and Sydnee doing Miss Missouri—lots of times, we have to go out and not necessarily perform, but be our best at all times. And I think the way to tell if you really love somebody is if you love how weird they are. And they love how weird you are.
Sydnee Stottlemyre: Like Landon has a sword—it’s not a really sword, but it’s a replica. And every time when we watch “Game of Thrones,” during the opening sequence …
LB: Yeah, I’m super proud of it. I have to hold it.
SS: You don’t even hold it—you perform with it!
LB: That’s true. You know you love someone when you’re comfortable being your weirdest self. And Sydnee’s totally okay with that. It gets exhausting having to be on your best behavior in public. It’s so refreshing being able to come home and I’ll be swinging this replica sword around while we’re watching “Game of Thrones.” Sydnee will be doing her Celine Dion impression, which is just great. We joke about if people could see how weird we are together …
SS: It’s frightening.
LB: That’s how you know it’s real—when you can be weird and they don’t run away.

Landon and Sydnee pose at an event. By the nature of their work, they both have to be composed at all times while out, but often act silly at home.

Landon and Sydnee pose at an event. By the nature of their work, they both have to be composed at all times while out, but often act silly at home.

Celine Dion impression? Please explain.
SS: Whenever I’m angry with Landon, he will start singing “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion and makes me dance with him in the kitchen.
LB: Whether she wants to or not. It has a pretty good success rate. I’ve never put that song on and not gotten a smile.
SS: I mean, it’s really not that great, it’s just …
LB: Oh, and she’ll get into it, too.
SS: The arms start flying …
LB: Sydnee’s been to Vegas like two or three times in the past eight months and she’s missed Celine every time.
SS: It’s so sad. I asked him, one of our anniversaries, will you please take me back to Vegas to see Celine?
LB: Like what are the chances? Celine is always in Vegas. Never works out.

What’s a typical date night like?

LB: We’re both very outgoing and I’ve noticed our best date nights kind of come in two extremes. We will either like to go out and meet up with friends and go enjoy a night on the town. But then we also sometimes like to stay in and watch Netflix.
SS: We’re also pretty good cooks, I will say. So we really like to cook our own meals. And we get to hang out while we cook, so it’s a little more fun than just sitting at a dinner table staring at each other.
LB: It’s a good time because we have a dog. So when we’re cooking, it’s usually that we’re both involved. We’ve got the TV going, the dog’s having fun. We’ll have a glass of wine. We do a good job of enjoying the process of making the food. Plus we both eat a lot, so we like to prepare it in big quantities.

Describe one of your most memorable dates.

SS: So one of the first times we were hanging out, Landon took me hiking in Columbia at the bluffs. It was almost dark outside, so we went all the way to the top, and found a spot to sit. We were talking for like probably two hours and I remember thinking the whole time that it smelled so bad, and I was like, “That can’t be me.” I was like sneaking sniffs under my arms trying to figure out where it was coming from. I thought, “Gosh, maybe it’s him but I don’t think it is.” And we get all the way down to his car, and as soon as the lights come on, I look down at my shoes, and they are completely covered in dog poop. I got it all over the interior of his car. But he was a sweetheart and actually cleaned the mess out of my shoes for me. I asked him if he thought it was me the whole time and he said something like, “I thought I smelled something but I wasn’t quite sure.”
LB: I’m much less sensitive to smell than she is. If you can get through that, you can get through anything.

Landon and Sydnee stand on a bluff after a hike. During an eventful date, Sydnee tracked dog poop into Landon's car after a long hike. She says he graciously cleaned it up.

Landon and Sydnee stand on a bluff after a hike. During an eventful date, Sydnee tracked dog poop into Landon’s car after a long hike. She says he graciously cleaned it up.

What’s one thing you love about the other person?

SS: Landon is really straightforward and I never really have to guess what he’s feeling, which is really nice in a relationship. Plus he’s just so goofy, which I love, because I’m a very serious person, so he kind of brings me back down from being so high-strung all the time. He’s just got a really good heart.
LB: One of the things I love most about Sydnee is she’s is one of the most patient and forgiving people I’ve ever met. You know, even in the times in our relationship when I have accidentally been a jerk, she’ll tell me. She’ll say, ‘Hey, that wasn’t cool.’ And I’ll apologize and that’ll be it. I really appreciate that about her. But also she’s very supportive of everything I do. My job is very demanding. I have to wake up at weird times of the day, and I could tell when I first started doing this it was pretty hard on her. But also at the same time, I’ve never felt like she wasn’t happy for me and my success. I always feel like she’s on my side and I really appreciate that.

Top image by Roman Kraft. All other images courtesy of the couple.


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