Some Saturday morning nuptials in southeast Shreveport may have redefined the term “shotgun” wedding, while offering up some entertainment of the redneck variety.

When Ricky Martin (not the singer) and Beverly Brooke (the singer from London) decided to get hitched in the States, they opted to make the move at Martin’s Gun Shop on Kay Drive, owned by Ricky’s dad. Henry Martin no longer sells guns, but he does expert repair on shotguns and there were plenty on hand inside the store, if a need arose.

How this wedding came to be is a miracle in itself and can be laid to rest on the heavily tattooed shoulders of Tammy Martin, sister of the groom and best friend of the bride. Dating a member of the 69 Eyes rock band in Finland, Tammy met Brooke on Facebook and decided to visit her a couple of years ago in London. The two became fast friends, so when Tammy returned stateside, Brooke came along for the ride.

“She didn’t know she was pregnant at the time,” Tammy said. “Brooke went back to London, but her family threw her out. She was homeless on the streets of London.”

Ricky & Beverlyphoto:celebrity inspired dresses

But as luck would have it, Brooke found a $20 bill, or maybe it was a 20-pound piece, on the street. She called her U.S. friend to tell her the news.

“I told her to go to the race track and bet on the gray horse,” Tammy said. “She did that and won $1,500. She used the money to buy a plane ticket and come back here. God was taking care of her.”

But that’s not nearly “the rest of the story.” Tammy developed breast cancer, had a mastectomy and has undergone chemo and radiation. Although she’s doing well enough now to consider moving to Finland, Tammy got the shock of her life when she was released from the hospital. She discovered that her 55-year-old brother and 35-year-old best friend were dating.

“I thought they were kidding,” she said.

Ricky proposed in February, Brooke accepted and Tammy began making plans for the wedding. Since Ricky was recently laid off from his job, a bare-bones wedding was in order.

“They were looking for a place and I told them they ought to just have it at my shop,” Henry Martin said. “We could put up some tents and there’s plenty of parking at the Lodge across the street.”

So, Martin’s Gun Shop, which has been around since the muskets were brought over on the Mayflower, became the landing spot for the 60 or so folks who came to celebrate with the family on the memorable day.

“About half of them are from Houston and the other half are from our deer lease,” explained Tammy.

Also attending was Carl Hadra, a former Barksdale pilot who flew in from Salt Lake City, for the festivities. Tammy’s ex-husband, John Twohig also participated in the shindig with a smile and helping hand as needed.

“We were married 13 years but we were together 25,” Tammy said.

Finding something borrowed and blue for the wedding wasn’t a problem. The wedding decorations of turquoise and orange were “recycled” from Amy and Shane Trichel’s wedding from a couple of weeks ago.

Brooke was tastefully dressed in a cream dress with turquoise sash and a sleeveless denim jacket. Like the rest of the bridal party, she wore brown cowboy boots, but had trouble deciding on a topper.

“I have two ‘ats and I’m not sure which to choose,” she said with a look of concern. “And I’m a bit nervous.”

She opted for the cream ‘at with the orange/turquoise flower in the band. The ceremony was conducted by Judge Barbara Douget, who wasted little time once she took the reins.

“We’re gonna make this quick, because it’s hot out here,” said Douget, who recently oversaw a wedding in front of the fish tanks at the Bass Pro Shops.

And quick it was. Once the words and rings were exchanged and the kiss was planted, Douget pronounced the couple “Mr. and Mrs. Ricky Martin.” Beverly instantly became a U.S. citizen who can now sing country music, while Ricky continues to stay clear of all microphones.

Appropriately, the post-wedding meal was catfish with all the trimmings, cooked by Trichel and Dillion Twohig, and served under several quickly erected tents.

Following a honeymoon trip to Shreveport’s Eldorado Casino, the couple, along with 2-year-old Henry Brooke, will reside at the Broadmoor home of Henry Martin.

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