TV’s ‘The Bachelor’ meets local contestant’s parents

February 20, 2012

By Rick Allen

Liberty High School alumna Lindzi Cox is vying for final rose

NEW — 11 a.m. Feb. 20, 2012

The Ocala area goes primetime Monday when “The Bachelor” Ben Flajnik visits the parents here of one of the four remaining women in the hunt for his heart.

Lindzi Cox

Actually, his visit with John and Margy Cox, parents of Lindzi Cox, at their home in Morriston, Fla., occurred months ago, possibly right around Lindzi’s 27th birthday in late October. But the episode is being aired at 8 p.m. Monday on ABC.

Previews of Monday’s episode show Lindzi and Ben picnicking beneath a shady tree beside a horse pasture and driving a competition wagon with Ben on the back seat.

ABC’s media website offered advance photos of Ben’s dates this week with the other three women, but there were none available of the Ocala, Fla., trip — because of “production scheduling.”

Opening up

In a press release about the episode, ABC said: “Ben’s journey starts in Ocala, Fla., where he spends the day with Lindzi and her fun-loving parents on their picturesque horse farm. Up until now, she has been hesitant to open up to Ben, but she finally reveals that her last relationship left her heartbroken and she is afraid to make herself vulnerable.

This article is reprinted with permission from the Ocala Star-Banner in Ocala, Fla. This article appeared in the Star-Banner on Feb. 19.

“Her parents notice the difference in their once-reticent daughter whose heart seems open again, but will they welcome Ben into their family?”

Though dubbed a “hometown date,” Ocala is not her home. The honey-haired, brown-eyed Lindzi was born and raised in Washington; she considers the Seattle area her home.

Yet, she’s no stranger to this area. Her parents settled in Morriston about seven years ago, which is perhaps why “The Bachelor” website lists Ocala as her hometown. A champion equestrian, Lindzi has trained here from her earliest years.

She sometimes also volunteers at the Live Oak International competition, according to event coordinator Susan Gilliland. Her parents have been sponsors of the annual event, and Margy Cox herself is considered a top carriage driver.

“I’ve met (Lindzi) a few times and she is a delightful girl, but I do not really know her,” Gilliland wrote in an email. “I know her parents are wonderful people.”

She spends Christmases with her parents here, and reportedly celebrated New Year’s Eve in Ocala with friends.

Primarily a rider

In the season’s premiere, Lindzi rode into “The Bachelor” mansion on a horse, telling Ben she rides horses. She won the first impression rose. Since then, the dignified Lindzi has had little air time, yet Ben keeps giving her roses, so they’ve likely spent time together not shown.

“She could be an international class rider,” rider and trainer Peter Gray said recently. “She has all the talent in the world. She rides with lots of personality and has a natural balance.

Liberty High School student Lindsey Cox rides her horse Token on the family's Newcastle property Aug. 8, 2000, during a workout. By Greg FarrarLindzi Cox

“I’m not sure you can learn that,” he added. “It’s more of a gift.”

Gray, who owns a horse ranch in Marion County, is an Olympic rider and former coach of the Canadian Olympic equestrian team. He helped train a young Lindsey — as she was known then — from about age 6, both in Ocala and in Washington. And he’s reveled in her successes as she grew.

“Lindsey is confident, outgoing, a very warm person with lots of energy,” he said. “She was one of the dream students: a good learner and a good athlete. Combine the both, plus her natural feel and balance, and you’ve got a winner.”

But will she prevail in “The Bachelor?” Spoiler websites have predicted Lindzi — she began calling herself that in college — will be one of the final two.

Mum’s the word

Lindzi, her parents, friends and associates were not allowed to comment for this story. ABC and the show’s producers hold no-talk agreements with contestants, their families and friends — until the contestant’s run on the show ends.

Yet there are some nibbles of background available.

Born in Bellevue, Lindzi was a 2003 graduate of Liberty High School in Renton. The Issaquah school’s Wikipedia entry lists her as a “notable alumni” — along with classmate Tim Lincecum, a pitcher with the San Francisco Giants and Cy Young recipient in 2008 and 2009.

She went to college at Fresno State in California on an equestrian scholarship. She’s listed on the 2006-2007 roster as an English/Western rider.

According to her Fresno State profile, she was the 2001 U.S. Equestrian Association Young Rider champion and 2001 Area VII Young Rider of the Year. The Issaquah Press said she won three riding blue ribbons with her horse, Nautical Ridge.

She graduated from Fresno State in 2010 with a degree in public relations. Her occupation on “The Bachelor” website is listed as business development manager.

Win or eliminated, being on “The Bachelor” has been “a fun experience for her,” John Cox said several weeks ago. “She’s doing a wonderful job. We’re very proud of her.”

Contact Rick Allen at rick.allen@starbanner.com

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