WINSLOW — There will have to be two winners of the Winslow Miss 4th of July pageant this year — two crowns, two sashes, two trophies and two gift certificates — after organizers say the wrong girl was crowned winner Saturday.

Pageant organizers came up with a compromise, but their hopes it would make both contestants happy have been shattered.

Saturday’s winner is upset, her family is “outraged,” the new winner isn’t talking and the organizer is defending herself from charges of rigging the results.

Meanwhile the director of one of the state’s biggest Fourth of July events, which kicks off Wednesday, said the “heartache and distress” and its fallout are keeping him from focusing on the four-day holiday extravaganza.

Molly Lybrook of Fairfield said Tuesday she won the Winslow Miss 4th of July Pageant and won’t share her crown after organizers discovered votes had been miscounted and declared another girl the winner.

“This is somebody else’s mistake,” Lybrook, 17, said. “I won fair and square, and if it truly was a mistake, then I’m sorry, but that’s something the person who made the mistake has to pay for, not me — the winner.”

She said being allowed one of the biggest perks of the win — riding in the pageant car in Saturday’s 4th of July parade — simply because pageant organizers feel bad for her is “extremely rude and publicly embarrassing, so obviously I’m not going to let that happen.”

Lybrook, who graduated from Lawrence High School this year, had already been crowned and left the scene when judges’ votes were recounted and it was discovered Caitlin Grenier, 14, of Winslow, was the winner.

Lybrook said she wasn’t told about the recount until Sunday.

Leah Frost, who was in charge of the pageant, said Tuesday, “I’m trying to do what’s right and not lie.”

Frost said Grenier and her mother agreed to share the crown with Lybrook. Both declined to be interviewed Tuesday by the Morning Sentinel.

“There was a miscalculation with the scoring, and I had figured (the mistake) out after,” Frost said. “To be fair, I said I wouldn’t take Molly’s crown from her, but yet also let Caitlin have her recognition and this year we will have dual queens.

“I’m just trying to do what’s fair to both girls because they both worked equally hard for it.”

Kevin Douglass, chairman of the Winslow 4th of July celebration, acknowledged there was a miscalculation in the scoring, a discovery that caused “heartbreak and distress.”

Other pageants “strip the crown” in similar situations, but he said he wouldn’t do that and so the compromise of dual crowns was decided.

There are four pageant winners divided by age group: Miss Firecracker, Little Miss 4th of July, Junior Miss 4th of July and Miss 4th of July. Miss 4th of July, for the oldest girls, is the one Grenier and Lybrook competed in.

The girls are interviewed by judges before the pageant, then there’s a talent portion, an evening wear portion and a final question to be answered, such as who was their biggest influence in their life, Frost said. Judges give each category point totals that are then calculated and the winner is decided.

Lybrook said Grenier is Frost’s younger sister’s best friend, and that swayed the results.

Frost said she only met Grenier for the first time a week ago, had nothing to do with the judges’ scoring and did not talk to the judges about individual contestants during the pageant.

But Lybrook said Frost “played dirty.”

“I’m very upset, because I won,” Lybrook said. “It’s upsetting that people who are supposed to be adults can’t act like adults and it has to go this far. The girl that Leah wanted to win didn’t win. It was somebody else’s mistake or lies and it’s not fair to me. I’m very upset. It’s not my fault.

“And instead, my family is outraged and if she wants to play dirty like that, then we will.”

Frost said she sent Lybrook copies of all the score sheets to show her that it was a mistake and not anything personal. She said she has been in charge of the pageants for the past three years, but has been active in the annual event for 10 years. She won it in 2008 and again in 2010.

“I am owning up to the mistake that the accountant made the miscalculation and trying to do what’s right,” Frost said.

Douglass said he has been trying to put out the fires associated with the mistake this week instead of coordinating events that begin Wednesday with live music in Fort Halifax Park.

“The best way is for the two young ladies to share the Miss 4th pageant queen and work together throughout the year to show unitedness,” Douglass said. “That’s really part of what the Fourth is all about, is showing how us as Americans pull together and support each other.

“We’re trying to make it so both girls carry the crown.”

Lybrook held fast to her decision not to share the crown, even after being told of Douglass’ plea for togetherness.

“I don’t think I should have to if I won,” she said.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter: @Doug_Harlow


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