by SEAN KIMMONS
Like a recurring nightmare, the botched Miss Kyle Pageant crept up on the Kyle City Council agenda again last week.
The majority of the council expressed their disdain for the city being left to pick up the pieces after pageant volunteers miscalculated the results.
Juleigh Chapa was first declared the winner in last year’s pageant. About a week later in the ballot tabulation, when a mathematical error surfaced, Jennifer Hamzy was named the winner and Kim Pastrano as the first runner-up.
In November, the city council awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Chapa, the same award promised to the winner.
The family of Kim Pastrano now want the proper recognition for her being first runner-up.
After researching the issue, Interim City Manager James Earp suggested granting Pastrano a $300 newspaper ad and a $50 plaque to honor her achievement.
“I think she is owed that recognition,” Councilmember David Wilson said in the council meeting. “Let’s put this particular issue to rest … forever.”
Councilmember Michelle Lopez volunteered to give away her own money to help rectify the issue.
“I’m willing to donate $50 to make this happen,” she said. “I don’t believe that the city should be paying.”
Other councilmembers then said that they would donate as well, opting not to stick Kyle residents with the bill.
On Monday, Wilson said that councilmembers had contributed at least $200 so far.
Months later, no one seems to be taking responsibility for the pageant snafu.
City officials have been adamant that the pageant was not a city-run event. Kyle Parks and Recreation Director Kerry Urbanowicz told the council that the pageant was run privately at a school facility. Yet, proceeds from the pageant went to fund the city’s birthday celebration.
“We got all of the proceeds from that to offset the expenses of putting on the fair,” he said.
There were 13 contestants, each of whom had to pay a $50 contestant fee and sell $100 worth of raffle tickets, which totals a little less than $2,000.
Earp stressed that the city did not bank money on the pageant.
“We did not make more money than what the fair cost to put on,” he said. “Yes, we made money but we didn’t net a gain.”
Kesa Larson, who volunteered as the director of the pageant, said that it was a city event. There was even a page dedicated to it on the city’s Web site, which has since been deleted.
“It was put on by the City of Kyle,” she said. “I was just volunteering as the director.”
She added that all checks were made payable to the City of Kyle and judging was done by a panel of volunteers.
“I kept my hands out of the judging process completely,” Larson said. “I was just an advocate for the girls.”
Larson is looking to hold another pageant this year privately under the moniker Miss Kyle Scholarship Organization.
She said that multiple auditors will oversee the judges’ ballots to make sure the event runs smoothly.
“We have taken steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” she said.
With no pageant funds being filtered to the city this year, it will have to look elsewhere to pay for its annual fair.
“We’ll have to find other sources to cover costs to the fair,” Urbanowicz said.
Sean Kimmons is senior reporter at the Hays Free Press where this story was originally published. It is reprinted here through a news partnership between the Mercury and the Free Press.Email | Print