It all started during the 2011-2012 season. Rita Korn and Darwin Beckell became two of the most recognizable LA Kings fans via their regularly entertaining ‘Kiss Cam’ appearances at STAPLES Center.
They quickly rose to celebrity status amongst the Kings faithful, for Korn’s enthusiastic reaction to herself on the Panasonic LIVE 4HD Scoreboard, followed by the couple’s animated make-out sessions during the ever-popular Kiss Cam.
The surprised look on Korn’s face each time is remarkably genuine.
“I always think that maybe they’ll forget us this time,” justifies Korn, whose favorite player is goalie Jonathan Quick.
Korn and Beckell met through mutual friends and have been together for four years. Korn was widowed with a daughter and a grandson, and Beckell divorced with two sons and a grandson. The couple resides in Camarillo and makes the 50-mile one-way trek to STAPLES Center to see their beloved Kings play whenever there’s a home game.
“He drives, I sleep,” chuckles Korn.
Beckell has been a Kings Season Ticket Member since 1988, but it was only after she met Beckell that Korn watched her first hockey game. Now, to say she’s ‘hooked’ would be an understatement, as she has become a regular not only at games, but events like Tip-A-King where she isn’t the least bit shy about sneaking kisses.
Before every Kings game Korn and Beckell can be found at their usual table inside the dining room at Rock’n Fish, where the servers, bartenders and managers all know them. They happily pay the corkage fee to enjoy their own bottle of wine, which Beckell brings from his in-home collection of more than 1,800 bottles.
After games, the couple can most likely be found back at Rock’n Fish celebrating a Kings victory with other fans.
“Kings fans are amazing whenever you meet them,” gushes Korn, who cites the fans as one reason she loves the team and the sport so much. “It’s like family.”
Beckell is equally fond of his fellow fans.
“Everyone around us is like family, we all know each other,” explains Beckell of his section 101 seat-mates. “There are so many good friends and avid Kings fans, which I can appreciate.”
Beckell’s long-standing love for the Kings made the team’s 2012 Championship that much more sentimental.
“You should have seen him when they won the Cup,” says Korn, who whips out an iPad to provide photographic proof. “He was crying.”
Says Beckell of the night the Kings won the Cup: “There was so much joy and excitement. I’d waited so long and went through so much with these guys. All of a sudden, there was magic.”
That night, there was surely an even bigger celebration at Rock’n Fish.
Although hockey is the sport Korn is most passionate about, Beckell has also been a Season Seat Member with the Lakers for 35 years and the Dodgers for 31 years. He even owned Raiders season seats as long as the team was in Los Angeles.
“I’m so worried we’re going to get a football team, because guess who’s going to get season tickets,” Korn declares sarcastically.
She may sound skeptical, but even Korn won’t deny that one of her biggest claims to fame came with the Lakers.
A few years ago, Beckell and Korn were invited to an exclusive trip for those who had been Lakers Season Seat Holders for more than 25 years. They were taken to Vegas for a couple of nights, and during one of the sponsored events, Korn ended up freak dancing with Dwight Howard and the footage later ended up on TMZ.
“It’s now on YouTube,” says Korn proudly.
With all the sports going on in their lives, Korn and Beckell still find time to do plenty of traveling. They have each been to more than 60 countries, and Beckell is still trying to catch up to Korn’s seven continents visited while he currently stands at six.
Aside from hockey, Beckell also managed to get Korn hooked on fishing, and the couple makes a yearly fishing trip to Alaska during the summer. During Korn’s first fishing outing ever, she managed to catch a 110-pound halibut, and last year they brought back 450 pounds of filets between the two of them.
Needless to say, fish is plentiful in both of their diets.
At the end of this month, the couple will miss their normal trip to Frozen Fury in order to attend Beckell’s 50th high school reunion in Colorado. From there, they’ll head to China for a couple weeks before a 17-day cruise throughout south east Asia, which will force them to miss nearly the entire first month of the regular season -- and their familiar Kiss Cam spotlight.
There is no doubt that Korn and Beckell will miss STAPLES Center just as much as STAPLES Center will miss them.
Since their rise to “fame,” the couple now find themselves often being asked to pose for photos, and even offered photos of themselves on the LIVE 4D Scoreboard from complete strangers.
What do they think of their adoring fans?
“They’re all cute,” says Beckell, laughing.
“My best moment was when Ice Girls asked to be in a picture with us,” boasted Korn, beaming.
So for everyone wondering if the Kiss Cam Couple is every bit as fun, entertaining, and lively as they seem on the LIVE 4D Scoreboard…they are.
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