According to Yahoo News on Friday, the crowned winner of the 2014 Miss Florida pageant was dethroned just one week after her coronation. This was because of no fault of her own. Organizers of the pageant said they had crowned Elizabeth Fechtel because of a vote-count error.
Fechtel, a 20-year-old student at the University of Florida, was crowned the winner of this year's pageant in front of nearly 2,000 spectators last Saturday in St. Petersburg, Florida. The ballot counter did not see that one of the five judges had changed his mind and wrote a new line on the left-hand side of his ballot.
After Fechtel was relieved of her crown, the first runner-up Victoria Cowen, a 21-year-old student at Florida State University, was crowned as the true Miss Florida contest winner. Fechtel now become the first runner-up, but Cowen is the one who will compete in the Miss America contest later this year. The two women are friends.
Mary Sullivan, executive director of the Miss Florida pageant, delivered the bad news to Fechtel in person on Thursday evening, traveling to her home in Leesburg, Florida. She explained, "Our organization had to do the right thing, and the right thing is to crown the young woman that was intended to be crowned."
This is so unfortunate for both women because Cowen was not declared the winner in front of the 2,000 spectators including her family, friends, and fan. It was also unfortunate because Fechtel was mistakenly crowned in front of the 2,000 spectators including her family, friends, and fan.
In a separate pageant, crowned winner Amanda Longacre in the Miss Delaware pageant was stripped of her crown this week because she will turn 25 in Oct., a month after the Miss America competition. Pageant rules say contestants must be no older than 24 in 2014. Longacre talked to the co-hosts on the "Today" show explaining that the pageant signed off on her application, and she did nothing wrong. She was very emotionally and sobbed as she told her story. She said she has a lawyer who is working on her case. After Longacre was stripped of her title, the first runner-up, Brittany Lewis, also 24 was crowned on Thursday.
It is interesting that in two separate beauty pageants this week, two women were stripped of their titles and two first runner-ups are now wearing the crows. Because of this, pageant officials will probably be more careful in the future.